“Yo!Â I can fix that dent – it’s what I do!”
I hear that a lot.Â Today, it was from some guy that walked up to me in the drive-thru as I was ordering my lunch.
See, I have a dent on the driver side, rear panel of my car.Â It’s not a new dent nor is it very big in the scheme of things.Â It’s been there quite some time.Â I keep it there to remind me that even I can be a dumbass sometimes.
People have said some nice things about me (and some not-nice things) over the years.Â Stuff like I’m really patient or calm, easy to work with, great at training or explaining something.Â But even I can get frustrated or screw up when I’m in a hurry.
Gosh, probably three years ago maybe?Â I was working for a company up on I-70 and working late, as usual.Â I didn’t particularly care for the company I worked for, but I believed in the product/service we could offer if run correctly so I was always trying.Â Anyway, I was working late when I really didn’t need to be working late.
One of my cousins had moved to California to live with her dad for awhile, and was back for a visit.Â That night, the family was getting together and having a nice, big dinner so everyone could visit with her and it was all the way down south in the Littleton/Centennial area – a good thirty minute drive with traffic on the interstate.Â And I was already leaving later than I’d planned.
I was the only person left in the building, which meant I had to go around and make sure all the doors were closed, all the alarms were set, lights were off – that sort of thing.Â I did this in record time and headed out to my car, watching the clock and cursing that I was going to be late for dinner.Â I backed my car up out of the parking place so I could leave, and it stopped where I didn’t expect it to stop.Â I looked in my mirror and didn’t see anything – heck, the parking lot was empty!Â I gave it a little gas, nothing – wouldn’t budge.Â So I looked again – there was nothing I could see so I gave it a lot of gas and heard the sound no one wants to hear – a crunch.
Getting out of the car, I saw what had stopped me from backing up: A telephone pole.
Of all the things to miss – a telephone pole in the middle of the parking lot.Â I knew it was there, had seen it a billion times before, had had people in the company tell me stories about other’s who’d rammed the damned thing backing up and here I was now, with a story all of my own.
Absolutely pissed, I moved my car forward and then backed out at an angle and took off down the road.
Driving towards dinner, I was pissed and angry – fuming even.Â Freaking telephone pole this.Â Flipping telephone that.Â “Who would put a telephone pole in the middle of a parking lot?!” I wanted to know.Â Basically, I was looking to blame everyone but myself.
Eventually, I calmed down, made it down south without further incident and had a good visit with family, but the dent was still there to remind me of what had happened.Â And that’s when I realized what had happened. Â I was looking to blame everyone except myself, when it really was all my fault.
I looked, but didn’t look, if you get my meaning. Â How many times do you look in your rear view mirror, but not your side mirrors?Â There’s a pretty good reason they exist, you know?Â I hadn’t looked in my side mirror because I was in a hurry.Â I was rushed.Â I didn’t take the time to figure out what was going on and so, my car got a dent in the side.
At first, I didn’t have the money to fix the dent.Â Later, when I did, I still didn’t fix it because I wanted to be reminded that sometimes I needed to slow down, to think through things and not act rashly or impulsively – believe me, I know that’s a lot to ask of a dent, but there it is.Â Â As time has gone on and people comment on the dent, I explain to them what happened and why I keep it.
Sure, I could get the dent fixed.Â I probably don’t even need it as a reminder anymore.Â But it’s sort of become like an old war wound or something; a scar that people ask me about and I tell them about the day I was a complete dumbass and how I strive not to repeat that mistake again.Â They smile and nod, probably not quite getting it.
To them, it’s just a dent.