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Rolling to Responsibility
“New radiator: $400. Replaced bumper, headlights and tires: $550. Shrubs, and three fruit trees: $180. Watching your prized possession pummel down a trail into a forest: priceless; in the worst way.”
I was flying up my long drive way clicking off my seatbelt and opening the door before I had even stopped. The word rushed was an understatement in this situation.
“Hello,” I answered as I sprinted to my room to change. I was only two minutes late for work and my Hispanic manager was already calling me.
“Weell, do yu know whut time it is? Where are yu?” Rubicel said with his thick accent.
“Yeah, I know what time it is, I was stuck in traffic, I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
“O.K. Hurry up. Adios.”
My finger hit the END button and I noticed it, a gray blur out the window caught my eye. That bird was huge, wait there is no way that was a bird. Cue realization. Oh my God you idiot you forgot to pull the E brake! My mind shouted at me. It’s not my fault; you’re supposed to remember things like that! I shouted back. I was back out the door in a flash.
As I peered down the newly flattened path in my family’s forest with my mouth open, eyes wide and my hands pulling at my hair my first thought was Wow, you really screwed up this time.
“What do I do, Should I try to drive it out, Dad’s gonna kill me” I was talking out loud now as I paced my drive way, “I gotta call work; people are gonna think I’m an idiot; but I am so there is nothing I can do about that; Oh man he is really gonna kill me.”
Just go down there, it might not even be as bad as you think. I don’t even see any big trees, do you? I started down the declining path. I felt sick. I noticed small pieces of mirror and plastic from the headlights glimmering on the ground like a fresh snow and all of a sudden got a dramatic view of my silver VW GTI in the rain crying “Why did you let this happen to me Will, why?”
Once I made it to my car and got to inspect things up-close I realized I was wrong, it wasn’t bad; it was tragic. My car looked like it had become the scratching post for all the stray cats in Kentucky. I got to the front of the car and that’s when I saw it; the mammoth of a tree stump that conveniently stopped my car while it simultaneously ripped off the front bumper and grill and shattered my radiator. I now felt extremely sick. I had to go tell my mom, but not before working up some nice tears. All I had to do was cry; it was her kryptonite to see her baby boy with tears. It works every time.
“Mom,” sniffle sniffle. “Can you come here for minute?”
“Why? What’s wrong?” Her motherly instincts were kicking in.
“The worst thing ever happened,” one lone tear dropped down my cheek. “Can we just go outside?”
“Oh my god Will! What did you do?!”
This is when I got my game face on, her concern turned to anger and I had to get her back on my side before my pops got home because he’s not havin’ the crocodile tears.
“I don’t know, I guess I was rushed cause I was late for work and didn’t pull up the E brake.” I was close; she could never stay mad at me. “Dad is gonna kill me isn’t he?”
“How could you let something like this happen? This is probably the dumbest thing you have ever done.”
“I know. I am an idiot. I don’t deserve to have a car.”
“Aw Will you have to be more responsible, and your father is not going to kill you.” Like I said, “works every time.” “I’m going to call Dad and find out when he is going to be home.”
My heart froze. I had no idea how I was going to sway him. I began thinking on how I was going to write out my will.
“Scott, where are you? Well can you come home there has been an accident. No everyone is fine. O.K. I’ll see you in twenty.”
“Where was he?” I said with a quiver in my voice.
“Golfing” she replied. She couldn’t have given me a worse answer. Not only did I tear down a good portion of the forest and wreck my car but I cut his golf game short. I was doomed.
“Do you have to work today?” she asked. I had completely forgotten about it.
“Well, yeah I was supposed to.”
“Go get your shirt I will take you over there.”
It was a miracle! My mother was giving me the biggest break of my life. While I was at work she was going to talk him down. I had six whole hours for him to cool off. I was saved; my life would continue.
I got home from work and she had done it. Instead of jumping at my throat as soon as I stepped in the door from work he asked how my day was. Of course he was mad but no yelling. My mom had literally saved my life.
That day still stands as one of the worst days in my life but I learned two very important lessons; the first one is, of course, always pull the E brake when I am on a hill, and the second one and more meaningful one was a car is a lot of responsibility. Since that day I have slowed down my thinking, because I was worried about being late for work I had over $3000 worth of damage done. Not worth it at all. Not even close.
So I got my car fixed up, my dad didn’t crucify me and I learned a very important lesson and since then have applied it every day. My car is pretty fast and my friends know this, so quite often do I have friends flying past me in a cheap attempt to get me to race. A couple of months ago I would have taken the bait but frankly I can’t afford it anymore. Just like being a couple minutes late for work shouldn’t have been worth letting my car take an off road adventure, a ten minute thrill ride down the highway isn’t worth the speeding ticket or possible accident. So :my first wreck: $3000. Learning to be more responsible: priceless.