Dallas car-craziness

OK, Nashville’s still wet, but I’ve indulged enough in dark and gloomy. Still thinking about everyone and sending sunny thoughts, but this one’s going back to my original theme… Laurie Does Dallas.

We moved into our new offices yesterday. I’ve been at Children’s Medical Center Dallas for a month now, but because I knew we were moving, I hadn’t really unpacked or settled in much. I had 13 (my favorite number!) big, red crates o’ stuff. I unpacked all the important things first. Yellowed, curling newspaper clips from 2001. Outdated fact sheets about the hospital. Outdated press kits. Outdated physician lists. Outdated evaluations. Outdated HR packets. Oh, and approximately 2,298 videotapes of the Egyptian conjoined twins CMCD separated … back in ’98.

Those I kept. I love that stuff.

Now I’m getting organized a bit. I’ve got stuff on the corkboard, my big ceramic Bayer aspirin on the desk. I’ve carried that thing around for sooo many years. I have a big bank of windows along the wall, so it’s bright and sunny. And I see tons of big white birds soaring below. Cranes? Egrets? I need binoculars to get a better look. I do know they’re not grackles. Those are black. And loud. (Thanks, Wanda! And you do know I was kidding about eating them, right? Mostly.)

One thing that’s making me crazier than I already am is the unfettered passion of Dallasites to destroy my car. This town’s insanely in love with vehicles, yet people really seem to care only about theirs.

The other day I had a meeting at our PR agency. Came out, strolled to my car… or the tiny piece of it I could still see, that is. Some guy in a big, honking, black SUV had parked nose-to-nose with me, yet somehow neglected to notice that his bumper had slid right on top of my car. Crunch. Being the kind, gentle soul that I am, I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I figured he somehow didn’t know that he’d hit me, since he tripped off into a meeting and left his SUV crushed against my little car. Maybe he was hearing impaired, and has nerve damage from some tragic accident that left him unable to feel the jolt.

So I walked toward his car to note his license plate. Being kind and gentle, I wasn’t going to do anything with it, even though I am a PI. I just wanted to jot it down, so when he called to offer to buff out my bumper, we could have a jolly old laugh about it.

Me: “Ha ha, I couldn’t believe it when I saw your car on top of mine! Ha, ha.”

Him: “Ha, ha, yes, I know, I’m SO sorry. Awfully stupid of me. Please forgive me, and accept this extra $1,000 for your troubles.”

Me: “Ha, ha, OK! Thank you! You have restored my faith in humankind.”

Him: “Great. Again, I’m so sorry. Can we hug?”

So I turn the corner of his massive car, pen and paper handy. There it was, a vanity plate (of course): SO SUE ME.

Seriously. Even I couldn’t make that up. Poof, my happy little daydream disappeared. Security was called, and a lovely man named Darryl watched the car until 6 p.m., but no one ever came out. Bastard.

Of course, I am a PIStay tuned.

Then there are the parking garages. I guess because it’s so dadblamed hot here, there are a lot of parking garages, so people can park under cover and protect their beloved Benzes, Beamers and Bentleys from the frequent hail, the ever-present dust, and the paint-blistering heat.

However, it appears that while the garages might be built just fine, the person hired to paint the stripes delineating each space took breaks quite often to light up another eight-ball. I haven’t found one space yet that was the same width all the way down. And since the majority of vehicles hold to a vaguely rectangular shape, this is a problem. In addition, these garages go, as they must, up. This means that every parking deck is angled. So unless you get the lone spot on the top of each deck, someone’s car door is going to be opening toward your car.

This problem is exacerbated by the fact that everyone gets out of their cars holding a briefcase, a venti Starbucks super-light-iced-espresso-extra-whipped-cream, an insulated bag o’ lunch, and their sunglasses. And they’re cradling a cell phone against their ear with their shoulder, discussing dinner plans or high-dollar deals or who’s going to pick up the kids. So, with no hands left over to actually touch their door, they have finally solved the classic logic paradox.of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object.

The answer is: a dent in my car door. So far this month, irresistible force has won three times.

Don’t tell D, but if I get one more ding, I’m gonna buy a new car. Until then, in a probably futile effort to keep our car from looking like a demolition derby entry, I’m parking as far away as I can from a living soul. (I thought about buying a couple of those big foam pool noodles and wrapping them around the car when I park, but decided they’d just blow away.) I believe this parking in the back 40 will protect my beloved car, although some have pointed out that perhaps I will just exchange door dings for a ripped-open top or stripped wheels. Hmmm… another paradox.

Cars do get really dusty, really fast here. Could be those gale-force winds and  unbroken desert plateaus, I guess. Because the car’s a ragtop, I asked a guy at a local dealership where he trusted to get it washed. He pointed me to a place just down the street. So I go in, and have a long conversation with the nice man behind the counter. As he promised  me several times that my car would emerge unscathed, a tiny smile played about the corners of his mouth. Satisfied, but still a bit wary, I pay and head to the end of the car wash to await my spanking-clean little ride.

The first car to come out: a Bentley convertible. The one behind it: a Mercedes S600. Third one: BMW 750. Fourth: Jaguar XKR. Fifth: A 1994 Accord. (Who let that guy in?)

I realized why he was smiling. He had about a million dollars on rubber in his wash line as I grilled him, narrow-eyed, about my little car. Felt a little sheepish, but he was really nice.

(It’s hard to believe that so many people here actually drive $150,000 cars on the road. In Nashville, Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban both have Bentleys, but you don’t see one every day.)

Tomorrow, we’ll get word on whether we’re actually buying this house or not. You’ll be the first to know.

Got home late tonight, but it was a beautiful evening. I took my dinner out into the big park next to my apartment, and picnic-ed as the sun set. Then I took a walk with some good tunes on the ‘pod. (Last five songs: Matisyahu, “One Day.” Keane, “Somewhere Only We Know.” oneEskimO, “Kandi.” Serena Ryder, “All for Love.” Uncle Kracker, “Smile.”)


About wordsmith1313

Now: Somewhat retired, although I don't do it very well. Formerly senior director of Communications and Marketing for the Dallas Zoo. Journalist. EMT. Writer. Breast cancer survivor. I love to travel, and will always return from a trip with a new friend or two. Those fortuitous meetings bring velvet to the rough edges of life.
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4 Responses to Dallas car-craziness

  1. Wanda says:

    My guess is those birds are egrets. There are lots of egrets in Texas. Some have bright yellow feet.

    The only damage I did to anyone’s car in Texas was backing into a teacher’s parked car in the school parking lot. Her car – a lovely little convertible, mine – 1998 Ford Escort. My insurance paid for the damage (to her car, hardly a scratch on mine) and then I sent her a gift certificate to Serenity Day Spa for her trouble.

  2. Elaine says:

    Laurie! I’d been wondering how you were doing in Nashville and now I see that you’re in Dallas!!! Sounds like a great gig. Good luck with the househunting and all.
    Take care, Elaine K

  3. karen says:

    this made me alomost pee my pants!!!

  4. Marilyn says:

    That conversation with the SUV ahole…I mean owner…was priceless. Made me crack up!

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