July 14, 2014

Day 43: Don't Be That Guy

Roxanne, my red Mustang convertible.  She likes to take selfies when we're stuck in traffic. 

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I ran my car into a stationary piece of cement.  I also explained that the reason I made the turn into my parking spot so sharp that I wedged poor Roxanne, my Mustang, up against a motionless pillar of concrete is that I was absolutely terrified of hitting the car on the other side of me.

What I didn't tell you is that the reason I was so terrified of hitting that car was because I had done just that the week before.

If you've ever hit another car, you know the absolute dread that is the moment before you get out to asses the damage.  It's like how people say their life flashes before their eyes right before they think they're about to die: a montage of all the things you could be buying with your car insurance premium increase flashes across your brain's internal screen.

So imagine how relieved I was after a few scenes of Florida vacations and new shoes to find out that I had only scraped a little bit of paint off my neighbor's car.

If we're being honest, I could have easily fled the scene with my Florida vacations and new shoes tucked safely in my metaphorical pocket.  In the poor garage lighting, I'm sure he would have never even noticed the few paint chips missing.

But if I just left, I'd be "that guy."  That guy who hits a car and doesn't leave a note.  That guy who doesn't refill the water cooler at work.  That guy who leaves a 10% tip.  And if I have one mission in this life, it's to avoid being "that guy" at all costs.

So I left a note with my number, prayed to God he wouldn't call, and left.  He did end up calling however, but it was only to tell me not to worry about it.

The reason I'm telling you this is that my determination to not be "that guy" paid off.  A few weeks later, last Friday to be specific, I was all set to go home for the weekend.  Bags in the trunk, three packs of gum in the cup holder... and a dead car battery.

Let me tell you that there is no sound as soul-crushing as the lifeless whir of a dead battery.  It was like the soundtrack to another internal montage, only this times with scenes of fresh Mom-made meals.  My battery was dead, and I was stuck in the parking garage of an apartment building filled with people I don't know.

And that's where "guy with the slightly chipped left bumper" comes in.  After asking the front desk and the three unlucky people I met on the elevator for one, I had a jumper cable.  But the cable came from Pat, whose friends call him "Pat with the Small Prius."  Pat lent me his jumper cable, but said that he didn't have enough power to actually use it to get me home.

So I did probably the most ironic thing I could have done, and scrolled back to find guy with the slightly chipped left bumper's number.  I'm not going to document the awkward, "Hey, so I have your number because I hit your car but if you're in the building, could you come give my car a jump?" conversation... but just know it happened.

And also know that he was a great guy who, despite all odds, came down and gave me the jump I needed to get home.

So the moral of the story is if you're not sure if you believe in karma, here's your sign:  don't be "that guy" and you shall be rewarded.  And God have mercy on "that guy" wherever he is out there taking pennies without leaving them; his dead battery will one day come, and there will be no guy with the slightly chipped left bumper there to save him.