Monday, October 18, 2010


I know what you're thinking.

Whoa, Christina, how did you manage to back your car into that mailbox? I mean, weren't you looking behind you when you backed up?

But I managed to pull this one off without even being in the car.

Top that, UncMo readers and drivers of the world!

There was an ever-so-slight creaking sound when I got out of the car after parking it on my parents' short, steep driveway on a recent weekend. I'd shut the door. I stared at the car. The car stared back at me. I'd set the emergency brake, right? Yes. What are you looking at? the car said. I'm fine.

A few minutes later, my mom opened the garage door as we were preparing to leave. I was chattering away, until I saw her jaw drop and followed her line of sight outside.

"What's going on there?" she said. Awareness slowly dawned. "Is that your CAR?"

"That's my car!!!" I confirmed.

It had decided to roll on down the driveway, across the street, and right into the neighbor's mailbox. I can write jovially about this now because nothing more serious than that happened. When I consider the possibilities, I shudder and thank God.

I HAD set the emergency brake, right? Yes, there it was in the upright position. But apparently if you don't really yank that thing up and put the car in gear (it was in neutral, but I swear I'd parked it that way before, and this car was in the hills of San Francisco for two years with zero incidents), my Miata will wander where it pleases.

I always joke that my ever-loving and patient mom would back me up if I committed murder. "Well honey, don't beat up on yourself," she'd say. "You've been so stressed lately and with your allergies, you've had a lot to deal with! Stabbing that person was a totally understandable reaction."

True to form, she sprang into action and righted the mailbox before I had a chance to collect myself. "Your emergency brake was on! I can't believe that! How did this happen?" she marvelled, snapping pictures to document that I had done no wrong.

With the mailbox back in place, albeit with a bit of damage to the surrounding grass, it was hard to tell anything had happened -- to the mailbox. My car, on the other hand, had a pretty good scrape running the width of the bumper.

Through all this, the neighbor had not materialized. With dread, I knocked on the door. No answer. There was nothing to do but leave a contrite note in the righted-but-listing mailbox.

The neighbor was spectacularly understanding and kind, which was all the remarkable for the fact that this was not the first time her home had been assaulted. Apparently someone else had managed to plow a car through her garage door a few years ago, so this looked like small potatoes to her. Was I okay, she wanted to know? Was my car okay?

"Don't worry about the mailbox," she said. "We'll replace it whenever we decide to replace it."

I breathed another thanks to the higher powers and later drove home in my mischievous little car, which hummed along as if nothing had happened.

P.S. I have since received pointers on curbing my wheels. I am well aware of how to curb my wheels, thanks to my time in San Francisco. This strategy works when you are next to a curb, as opposed to on a driveway. But thanks for the thoughts.

Music: "Motorcrash"


  1. Anonymous12:25 AM

    your brake cable must be busted. you're right that if you park it in gear from now on it should take care of the problem.

  2. Brake cable huh? That is useful to know. Thank you!


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