"My bad luck stems from an apparent lack of coordination — or maybe just sense."
I have bad car karma.
It’s not so much the cars themselves, as I’ve been blessed with good ones — and by “good,” I mean mostly reliable, eventually paid-off automobiles, starting with the pimp-tastic ’78 Ford Thunderbird I had my freshman year in college.
No, my bad luck stems from an apparent lack of coordination — or maybe just sense. Like when I swerved to miss a cat, which was actually a plastic bag, then hit a curb, deploying my airbags.
Or when I was backing my car up to the air pump at QuikTrip and struck my open driver-side door into a light pole.
And then there’s the time I fell on ice and slipped under a parked, running car — in a blue faux fur, no less, at high freakin’ noon on a weekday at a busy intersection.
The latest car-themed embarrassment thankfully didn’t inflict harm to my vehicle or anything faux fur, as I fell out of my car and onto my driveway. My immediate concern was the blood on my favorite pair of khakis, which was doubly sad because I actually have a favorite pair of khakis. (Thank you, Phoenix Cleaners, for fixing them.)
It wasn’t until the next morning that I realized I had broken my foot — my first-ever broken bone, a rite of passage I had been denied thus far these 40 years. But, let me tell you (and please pardon the pun), it ain’t what it’s cracked up to be.
As a kid, I remember being a little jealous of the attention other boys received when they came to school with casts on their arms or legs from some athletic injury or, more often than not, falls out of deer stands. My extracurricular life of watching “Transformers” cartoons and writing really bad fiction kept my bones safe. Meanwhile, classmates would circle the suddenly popular plaster-limbed pupils, Crayola markers in hand, ready to pen words of encouragement or their autographs.
I thought about those days as I sat in minor emergency, pondering my fate — or, at least, the temporary aesthetics — of a cast. Do they even make plaster casts anymore? If so, do people still sign them?
Instead, I was relegated to a boot — actually, a rather ugly sandal with copious Velcro straps. Thankfully, it was black, so it went with most of my wardrobe.
It also garnered me some attention, which I had shamefully anticipated. I’m fully aware this is a character flaw, and I’m not proud of it. But I thoroughly enjoyed my office mates fetching me coffee and strangers holding doors open for me.
I did not, however, enjoy the following conversations:
Random Person: “Awww, what happened?”
Me: “I broke my foot.”
RP: “Ooooh!” his/her eyes getting big in anticipation of an awesome story. “How’d you do that?”
Me: “Umm … I fell out of my car.”
Me: “Yeah, I’m sorry.”
I seriously felt guilty for disappointing every single person who asked how I broke my foot. A few suggested I start telling people it happened in a cage fight or sky-diving lesson; but no one who has ever met me or even set half a gaze upon me would presume either incident was
remotely true. So, I merely managed to add “clumsy” to the qualifiers of “curly-headed,” “obviously out” and “plump” to people’s first impressions.
On the bright side, I’ve since been instructed to buy new shoes (who knew leather flip-flops and turquoise suede driving moccasins weren’t healthy for feet?), and I have a medically approved black shoe in case I fall out of my car again. Hopefully, though, I’ll break the other foot so I’ll at least have a matching pair of Velcro sandals.