Leaving the gym today, I was buckling Grace into her carseat when a gust of wind caught the car door and blew it into the car next to ours. "Shoot!" I said. Grace parroted right back, "Shoot, Mom! Shoot!" Ha. Thank goodness that was all I said. I remember once, years ago, when Ava was just starting to potty train, she wet her pants. "Damn," she said softly to herself. I don't know why Jason teaches her to say things like that.
Anyway, I looked at the door of the other car. There was no dent that I could see, but there was a smudge of our paint on their door. I couldn't rub it out with my thumb. I thought, I should really leave a note. But of course, I had no pen in my purse, in the car, in the glove box, under the seats. I called Jason, already investing much more energy in this little occurrence than it probably warranted. He said if there was no ding or dent, that it was probably okay to just drive off.
He forgot, though, that I have a guilt complex the size of Montana. So, I went back around to the other side of the car, unbuckled Grace, got her out, walked across the parking lot, up the stairs, up the lift, back into the gym. Where I borrowed a pen and scrap of paper and wrote a quick note to whomever owned the car. Then we reversed ourselves and went back outside, down, over and across. Back goes Grace into her carseat. (I hooked my foot around the bottom of the door so it wouldn't blow out again.) I slipped the note under the windshield wipers and off we drove.
Do you do this? I mean, I am nearly 100% certain that the owner of that car didn't care about the little paint mark. I wouldn't have, if it had been me. I don't think I would've noticed it--unlike Jason, I never notice little dings in our car doors and things. But, I knew that it would bother me, and I'd spend the rest of the day worrying about it. What if I park next to that car again someday and the owner remembers my car? (It had come after I'd parked there, you see.) What if it's someone I actually know? (Lots of people in our area go there.) What if this makes me one of those people that do irresponsible things? (I mean, besides the irresponsible things I already do.)
A month or so after Jason and I got married, we went out grocery shopping. We were still in that cutesy time where we went to the supermarket together. Awwww. Anyway, after we unloaded our cart, I walked it back across the parking lot to the "cart corral" or whatever. When I got back, Jason said, "I love that you're the kind of person who will go out of her way to do something like that, when no one would be the wiser if you didn't bother." Awwww. Young love. But you know what? Dang it if that one statement didn't make me take the dang cart to the dang corral everytime for years to come. Through rain, through sleet, through dark of night. (Okay, maybe not sleet. But you get the idea.) There were times that I'd be this close to just leaving the cart in the empty space next to me, and then I'd remember what he said. And I'd actually sigh, shake my head in annoyance, and stomp all the way over to the little holding bay. The truth is, I really wasn't "that kind of person". But Jason thinking I was made me that way? Maybe? I don't know, it's complicated, okay? But I have to admit, it's pretty much worn off. I'll sometimes wheel it off to the side, especially if the kids are with me. Don't tell him, spouses need their illusions too.
I'm so glad you guys are here for me in soul-searching times like these. I have to tell you one more thing. I think it just highlights how neurotic I can be sometimes. So, I wrote the note and all that. Grace and I finally pulled out of the parking lot to head home. And then I think, What if this person takes advantage of me "being nice"? What if they, like, try to blame all kinds of car damage on me? They could be all, "Hey--she even left a note!"
So then--I kid you not--I turned around, went back, and pulled back into my just-vacated spot. Where I proceeded to get back out and take a photo of the door and its miniscule paint mark. In case I needed evidence in this hypothetical fraud case my brain had concocted in the last 25 seconds.
And this is why Jason so often, when talking with me, raises his hands in a kind of surrender position. "Okay, babe," he'll say, "You just do what you need to do to feel better." And so I do. And usually, what I'm so worked up about isn't worth a hill of beans.