It all started a couple of years back. I dunno, maybe it was less than that. I was pulling into a parking space in the garage of the place where I was once employed. SMASH! I crashed into the next vehicle over. I was distracted. It was an honest mistake, but the damage was done, and very little of it was to my vehicle.
I was so disappointed in myself. I took great pride in the fact that I knew the exact dimensions of what I drove and could maneuver it accordingly. I could parallel park with two inches in front or behind without tapping either car. Clearly there were other variables at play here. There’s just no way that I could hit a parked vehicle [pretty damn hard] in a parking garage. I went through it over and over in my head. My jaw was on the steering wheel and I just stared at the damage.
I quickly looked to see if there were any witnesses. Obviously the passenger was a witness, but she could be trusted. I spotted another co-worker, who had observed my gorgeous parking job. “You did not just see that,” I commanded.
“No, but that was a damn fine parking job.”
I got out of my vehicle to survey the damage to the other. No license plate, and I could smell the new-car scent with all of its windows rolled up. After looking at it from as many angles as I could, I made two decisions:
1) I fucked the vehicle up real good.
2) I should do the right thing and put a note on the car saying something to the effect of, “I don’t know if you noticed, but your vehicle has been hit. I did it. I’m really sorry about it. Here’s my work number. Please call me when you get this.”
With my head bowed in shame and utter embarrassment I took the elevator to the office. I talked it over with a couple of co-workers to get their opinion.
“You did what?! Leave a note?! Are you crazy?!”
“That’s the right thing to do though. I mean if someone hit my car and didn’t leave a note I would be pretty pissed.”
“Yeah, but coooome on… Who gives a shit? Are you making enough money to pay for the damage? Are you making enough money for your insurance to go up? Think about these things very carefully and then go back down there and take the note OFF the vehicle.”
My co-worker had a good point, but before I took the note off the vehicle, I went to the parking office and told the parking manager what happened. If I wasnÃŒt going to leave a note, I would at least let the parking guy know what happened. It made sense at the time. The parking manager followed me to the site and said, “It’s not that bad. Let’s see whose vehicle it is.”
The building I worked in was in the middle of Beverly Hills. There were actor’s offices, talent agencies, modeling agencies, record companies and other Beverly Hills-type offices.
After some snooping with a flashlight the head of parking figured out who it belonged to. I removed the note and we went back to his office, looked up the owner’s name and he said, “Listen, this guy works for [name of company] and probably pulls in some bucks. I would just let it go. I’m not going to tell on you or anything.”
There had to be a catch. I looked at him for a few seconds, in silence, digesting what I just heard. He just smiled. Did he want money?
“What do I owe you?”
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
And I was out the door, note in-hand and back at my desk with nothing to worry about.
Flash forward to last Saturday. I parked my vehicle at a meter and ran across the street to grab some reading material at the newsstand and some dinner next door. I read my material and ate my dinner. I went back to my vehicle and noticed something was amiss. Someone had sideswiped my vehicle. No body damage, but certainly enough to notice. They didn’t bother leaving a note.
I felt vulnerable, violated and pissed as hell. How could someone sideswipe my vehicle and not leave a note? What an asshole! I stared at the damage, touched it and blurted out a few more kind words to the wind. I got in and on my way home I was reminded of the time I hit that person’s vehicle and didn’t leave a note. I felt kinda silly and laughed. Of course.