One afternoon this week I traveled down one of Washington’s busy streets, noted for its absence of parking. I had an errand to do that I planned to take at most 15 minutes. I had no need to spend money for a spot in the lone neighborhood parking garage. I took my chances on finding a space relatively nearby on the street.
Just as I was passing the store to which I was headed, a car began pulling out of a parking space just where I wanted one. Moreover it was on the end of a row just beyond an alley. All I had to do was to pull up behind the car, wait a second, then assume the space as soon as it was vacant.
|...flying past me on my right...|
Or so I thought. Just as I began to shift slightly to the right, someone hollered. “Ho! WHOA!” and flying past me on my right was a bicyclist who had his own idea of who ought to be driving where. I slammed on brakes, startled. The cyclist swerved past, and I cautiously pulled into the space.
Before turning off the car, I heard the back door on the passenger’s side open. A little disoriented from the near collision, I immediately thought that somebody was going to tell me something, maybe, about being careful or watching what I was doing. I turned to see appearing in my back seat a young woman, a complete stranger. “Hi,” she said. “How are you?”
“Fine. And you are…?”
“Why are you getting in my car?”
“She blanched. Oh—! Aren’t you Uber?”
“No. Are you waiting for an Uber?”
She began profusely apologizing. I laughed. I guffawed. I said, “Maybe I should have told you that I am Uber—”
“Oh. My. God. I thought you were the Toyota I was waiting for—”
“I could have made some money—”
By this time she was getting out of the car. I had shut off the engine. In a second we were both on the sidewalk, I trying to locate the code for the parking space, she still apologizing for the mistake she’d made, both of us laughing.
I told her what had happened the second before we met. I told her not to mind, that I’d done plenty of similar things. I couldn’t think of one but I was sure I could have or would have or might some day.
About that time the Uber driver pulled up in front of the alleyway and she said goodbye as she climbed in. I heard her first say, “Uber?” Guess she had learned her lesson for the day.
And she had made my day. Give me the tonic of a good laugh after a close call. It can make a party out of screw-ups.
© Frank Gasque Dunn, 2016