Friday, April 08, 2011

Powers of Observation

I went to lunch today, parked at a parking meter for all of 15 minutes, and someone hit my car. And then they drove off. Again.

The way that this information came to be grasped by yours truly, however, is a story in and of itself.

So I went to lunch, as mentioned, to one of my favorite restaurants that I generally tend to avoid like the plague during lunchtime because of the tiny TINY parking lot. (the lot, it is tiny.) And after I got my lunch and went back to my office to eat it, I noticed that my driver's side door made a sound when I opened it to get in. However, seeing as how I was parked on a semi busy and very crowded road, I thought "What NOW?!" fully expecting that my car needed oil somewhere, and promised myself that I would check it out in the safety of my garage at work that was merely a mile away.

In the course of driving that mile, I, of course, completely forgot about the noise. Luckily, when I got out of my car the door made the same obnoxious noise. So I looked at what was going on, and I saw this. And by "this" I mean the fact that the door was no longer aligned with the front quarter panel of my car. Ugh. I mean, U-G-H. The conclusion that I leapt to was that someone had hit my car whilst it slept on the street outside of my house. After all, that's what had happened before. Why would this be any different? Also, the damage had only knocked the door askew from the front quarter panel, so it's not like the car was traveling with any velocity when it hit my car. Of COURSE it happened outside of my house last night. Especially when one's house is two doors down from a neighbor who can't drive a car to save his life. Not that I'm insinuating anything, neighbor who constantly has major body work done to his POS car that keeps getting banged up in totally noticeable ways that are sometimes eerily similar to the damage one would see on a car that had hit the rear driver's side quarter panel of a neighbor's car. A blue Honda CR-V perhaps? I'm not insinuating anything at all.*

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. My car and the door. So I got all upset and marched into work where I proceeded to tell my boss (using many colorful expletives and angry words) about how someone hit my car. After listening to my rant, my boss's first question was why I didn't notice the noise my door made this morning when I drove to work. I dismissed this as me being unobservant. But then I started to wonder. The noise is loud. I mean, I noticed it right away. There is no way, no matter how much I hate mornings, that I wouldn't have noticed this problem when I drove to work. None. So what happened?

The next logical conclusion** that I jumped to was that the ding had happened in the garage while I was parked there. The landlord was around doing yardwork. I park next to the mower. It seemed reasonable to me that he had accidentally clipped my car when pulling out the mower. So I went to ask him if this was, in fact, what had happened. (He's a great guy, btw. I have no other explanation why he was so patient with me while I was pretty much telling him that he had dented my car.) After telling me that he had not been in the garage all day, he wanted to see what had happened to my car. So we went out to the garage together. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the first time that I noticed this:

I wish I were kidding.

There is no bending of the truth there, kids. None. The sideswipe runs the LENGTH OF MY CAR and I didn't see it. All I noticed was that my door made a noise when I opened it.

My powers of observation, they are fearsome.

After noticing the sideswipe, it took very little brain power to figure out the rest of what had happened. And after waiting over two hours for a policeman to come so that I could file a report (it was not a good day to be a non-emergency in Indianapolis) I found out that A) there were no security cameras that caught the action and B) there's pretty much nothing I can do but, um, accept what happened.*** I got home around 5:45pm. A little later than usual, but nothing that would generally matter. Except...

The main thing on my mind was the impending rain we were expecting in Indy. See, I have a new toy that I wanted to play with**** and all I wanted to do was get my workout clothes on, get the dog, and get outside for our walk. Single-minded with this purpose, I entered the house, let the dog out of her crate, and went to my bedroom to change. Suddenly, a tiny but persistent thought jumped out at me.

The cat wasn't in the bathroom begging for water.

I brushed it aside. Meh. So what if she always drinks out of the sink? So what if she CONSTANTLY hounds me when I'm in the bathroom to turn on the water? She's probably just not thirsty right now. I have got THINGS TO DO! The cat is probably asleep.

As I exited the bathroom and headed to my bedroom, I spared a glance at the cat's food dish.

The cat wasn't sitting next to her food dish, begging for food.

Now THIS was major. The cat has been on a diet for the last three years or so and, as she would have you believe, has been hungry for every single day of the last three years.

I hesitated, torn. Still, I had THINGS TO DO, so I continued changing and put on my tennis shoes. As I headed back into the living room to leave, I casually opened a few closets, and then casually checked the place where the cat usually sleeps. Nothing. A total of five minutes had elapsed from the time I got home and every minute brought the rain closer. Since my walk with the dog takes an hour, I had to get out the door. The cat was probably, um.... somewhere. I would find her when I got home.

As I was putting on my windbreaker to head outside and could think of NO OTHER OPTIONS for where the cat could be, responsibility won out. I sighed, opened the door to the backyard, and called my cat's name. Immediately I heard an urgent "meow" in return. I called her name again, trying to locate the source of the meow, and heard three more urgent cries, each louder than the last. Then Laney herself came into view, covered in dried grass. I have no idea if she ran out the door when I left for work in the morning or ran out the door five minutes prior when I got home. At that point, I figured I would take a good look at her later, but I had to GET OUT THE DOOR!

I picked her up (she seemed grateful) and brought her back inside. I then fed her and FINALLY got on my way.

So, just to recap. Something majorly terrible happened to my car... the most expensive thing that I own... and I didn't notice it. At all. In fact, if my door hadn't been knocked out of line, there's a good chance that I would STILL have no idea that anything was wrong with my car. I would notice it three days (or weeks) from now, and be all angry that someone had hit me. However, five minutes home with something else being the entire, intense focus of my brain, and I notice that my cat is MIA. My FREE cat that I adopted for FREE when she was a kitten. The cat with no value. The cat who loves me, but who everyone else agrees is pretty much Satan incarnate.

Sigh. I would feel like my values are screwed up except that... Well, it's 1:23am and I'm blogging because I can't sleep. There are four souls in my house tonight. Two asleep, and the other two.. Well...
Sure she's not on my lap, but she's totally purring.


**It wasn't logical in the slightest. FYI.

***This would be one of the places where I would use a more colorful euphemism... but this is a family blog and one never really DOES know who's reading it. Ahem.

****It's the subject of another blog coming soon. Promise.


zlionsfan said...

With anyone else, that look would mean that she was trying to decide which side of your face would look better with a scratch through it.

But I'm glad she was smart enough to stay close by. I'm guessing she got out when you got home - if she'd been outside all day, I'd think she'd have been right by the door or would have come running when you opened it. This time, she had been outside just long enough to do some exploring when you called her.

JennyG said...

Sorry Em, I have to agree with zlionsfan. She is figuring out how best to scratch the crap out of you. Your cat scares me!

Candace said...

Nope, your priorities are not screwed up. Your car is a thing and your cat is living. The car is replaceable and the cat isn't. I would say your priorities are just about right.