Friday, June 15, 2007

Like a Kid on Christmas Morning

This is another story from way back.

I used to live on a quaint tree-lined street of brownstones in Brooklyn, NY. One weekend in Summer 2001, Steve came up to visit from his Naval station in Norfolk, VA. He got the best parking space he'd ever gotten in Brooklyn, right in front of my house.

That Sunday, we returned from brunch and found two ambulances and three police cars on the block, one flipped-over rented Jeep Cherokee, one psychotic driver of said Jeep, one totalled Saturn parked in front of Steve's car, and Steve's Ford Contour with several additional contours and minus one passenger-side mirror. It was driveable, but not in good shape.

Word on the street was that the driver of the flipped Jeep was on three depression medications, including Lithium. The cops were trying to figure out if they could arrest her for reckless driving but they didn't because they couldn't determine if she wasn't supposed to be driving while on the meds. (Personally, I thought the evidence spoke for itself, but who am I to say?) She was screaming profanity at the police, who were just trying to help. After some psychotic rocking on someone's stoop, she slumped over unconscious, but not as a result of injuries.

Thankfully, she did have insurance.

The person who owned the totalled Saturn was completely AWOL. That car had been pushed up on the sidewalk by the impact of the Jeep. It had at least one flat tire on the passenger side, and the plastic passenger side panel was pretty much gone. The car had Minnesota plates, implying that the owner was either just visiting or a new arrival to the area. The police put a note on the car. Talk about an unpleasant surprise.

And the car was in a Tuesday spot. By this I mean the owner had to move the car by 8am Tuesday for street cleaning.

On Tuesday, I woke up at 7:40am like a kid on Christmas morning. I ran to the window to see if the Saturn owner had come to move it yet. He hadn't. I opened the window and hurried to the bathroom to brush my teeth. I rushed back to my window to see a fresh-faced young man in a white dress shirt, tie and khakis approaching the unblemished sidewalk-facing side of the Saturn.

The young man stopped for a second when he saw the car, no doubt thinking, "Hmmm, I don't remember parking my car on the sidewalk." Then he opened the driver's side door, tossed his bright blue new backpack in the backseat, and got in the driver's seat, closing the door behind him. I held my breath in suspense as I watched him back out of the space and start off, but he got no more than six feet before stopping and backing neatly into the space he'd just tried to vacate. He'd finally realized something was wrong.

He perfectly parallel-parked the car, and got out and walked around to the passenger side. He stood in shock for a moment, and I could see his shoulders sag. His hand went up to his chin, in a "huh -- what the heck do I do now?" pose. He did not see the note on the window that the police had left for him.

In the grandest of Brooklyn traditions, I was about to yell out my window to tell him about the police note under his wiper when my neighbors came running outside. (Clearly, I wasn't the only neighborhood denizen watching the drama play out.) I heard the young man say in a daze, "Someone hit me." The dad neighbor ran around to the front of the car and picked up the police note, handing it to the young man. I saw the dad neighbor gesturing behind the Saturn to where Steve's Ford had been hit, then making looping motions with his arms and pointing in front of the Saturn to a pile of broken glass left there by the flipped Jeep. The men spoke briefly in low tones.

Then I saw the young man walk back to the drivers' side, open the door, remove his backpack from the back seat, and walk away, waving to the neighbors. It was 7:57am. I went to take a shower. By 8:30am the car had been towed.

Just another day on Sackett Street.

1 comment:

DCSportsChick said...

Oh my GOD. Can you imagine? I would have done the same thing you did- watch for the owner of the Saturn. I love that he left it for the city to tow- might as well!