I spent all week trying to decide if I should tell this story or not. But hey, I figure that someone, after reading it, might feel just a little smarter and that would be a nice gift.
Every evening, I spend about an hour delivering meals from our cafe. It's a nice service but it takes time and I have little of that to spare. So I have tried to streamline the process as much as possible. I don't run any red lights, drive fast or break any other laws, but for the sake of speed I put the car in park, set the brake, leave the engine running and the door open so that I can hurry to the next drop.
Well, this particular evening, something happened. As I was getting out of the car, I suddenly had this sinking feeling like the one you get when there is an earthquake. The ground was moving and I could not get my feet planted. Then, suddenly, I fell over, tumbling into the street, dropping my cell phone (which I use as a GPS device) and knocking my glasses off. As I'm trying to make some sense out of what’s going on, my car starts rolling off down the street! My brain freaks out and in the same instant, what happened becomes clear. I had caught the shifter with my sleeve and pulled it back into "drive". The parking brake was set but not tight enough to keep the car from creeping forward.
In this moment of clarity, I also realized there were several curbside trash bins just a few feet away and right after them was the car of the lady I was delivering food to. I frantically scrambled up and began chasing my car. Luckily, the driver's door was still open and I was able to get ahold of the parking brake and stop the car, but not before hitting the bins and making a heck of a racket. The woman comes running out, and to my amazement, apologizes for leaving the trash bins in the street. She even helps me clean up the mess! Then she gets her food and goes back inside.
That's when I realize that my phone and my glasses are gone. It's dark and I figure the headlights are not going to help because my car is now about 30 feet from where I fell out of it. So I go back and start crawling around on the street, feeling for my phone and glasses. I found the phone first and turned it on so I could use it as a flashlight to look for my specs. I found them. Or at least what was left of them. Both lenses were broken and the frames were crushed. So I had to drive across town, squinting, to get my spare pair of specs. That's when I noticed the pain in my knee and the kink in my back. I guess I landed on the knee when I fell out of the car and twisted my back in the process. No real damage, just enough to remind me for the next few days how easy it is to be stupid.
This ended up being just a funny story that can be shared with some family and friends at the next festive dinner table. Good for a couple of laughs. But when this kind of event occurs in the workshop, it is exactly the kind of thing that can result in the loss of a finger or worse.