I’m was sitting in line at the in emissions testing with the car turned off… because I was hoping and praying it would pass. I’m not sure if shutting off the car while I sit in 90° heat with no air conditioning will help at all, but I’m willing to sweat if there’s the slightest chance. I NEED this car to pass. I have a 2003 Honda Pilot with 285,000 on it. So, I sit. And I sweat. And I pray, “Please pass, please pass” over and over. After forty-five minutes in line, I was able to clean out the glove compartment and my purse.
I was hoping I’d find some slightly melted chocolate or a few old Twizzlers, but no luck.
All of a sudden, I hear a loud bang and hard push forward. “What the hell?” The woman in line behind me hit me. Augh.
I get out and I realize that her car, old and maroon (don’t ask me what make or year, I don’t care or know) but what I do see is part of her front end is being held together with duct tape.
I’m guessing this isn’t the first time she rear-ended someone.
She gets out. She’s shaking. She was an African-American woman probably in her sixties. As she wipes her tears, she just keeps saying over and over, “Oh, dear Jesus, oh dear Jesus, oh dear Jesus.” I notice that she prays short prayers too. I put my hand gently on her shoulder and I say, “It’s going to be OK. It looks like it’s just a small scratch and a crack” Her response to me was,
“Oh no it’s not, I know how things like this work. Small things usually lead to big things.”
I ask her if she has insurance. She does not. She continues to say, “Oh dear Jesus,” over and over. I ask her for her name and number. Her name is June. I tell her that I’m going to call my insurance company and I retreat back to my car. I know in my logical brain that the car is fine. It’s just a scratch and honestly, I ran into a concrete pole a few months back and I’m sure MOST of the scratches were from that. But I’m angry. And I’m sad.
About a lot of things lately, like my weight gain and the heat and not finding chocolate and a whole lot of things that are better left unspoken. And now, I can take them out on June!
I called Eddie. He wants to be angry about a lot of things as well right now, so we’re no help to each other. I call my brother Lenny, hoping he might let me be angry at June. My brother reminds me of how well this old Honda Pilot has served me and how many scrapes I put on it myself. He reminds me to breathe.
A few deep breaths later, and I decide to let it go. As the sweat drips down my nose and I move another car length closer to the testing, I decide to try to extend grace. Grace. Because grace is what I would want. Forgiveness over anger always wins.
I walk over to her car. She still crying. I grab her hand and say, “It’s OK, I’m not going to report it. Just be careful out there.” She cries even harder and looks at me and says,
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” The other short awesome prayer.
As I walk back to my car I feel a wave of relief. Relief! Relief that I don’t have to hold on to one more ounce of anger about anything. I didn’t want to be mad at her anyway. Misplaced anger benefits no one. I’m trusting that the words she said to me, that ‘small things can lead to big things someday’ will work in my favor in the future.
Back in my car it’s finally my turn. For a brief moment I think, “If I’ve waited in this car for ninety-minutes for nothing, in the freakin’ heat with no chocolate and I don’t pass this emissions test and June does, I’m going to be so pissed.”
They run the test.
I didn’t pass.