I noticed a woman walking toward me, in a hurry. I figured she saw me checking out the surrounding cars and one of them was hers. I tried to calm myself before she reached me but also braced myself in case she admitted to being the bumper bandit so that I wouldn't actually punch her in the face. As she got closer, she looked apprehensive; I probably looked murderous and she was smart to keep her distance.
"Ma'am? Is everything okay?"
"Well," I said trying to sound calm and collected, but really sounding crazed and mean, "Someone obviously damaged my car and didn't even have the decency to leave a note!"
I did the thing that you see women do in movies where they run their hand back through their perfectly arranged and backcombed, side-swooped bangs, resulting in a floppy mess, because they are stressed and the only other option is to yank their own hair out. You've seen that in movies, right? It's usually an uptight business woman (aka....ME). In the audience you (I) think, "What are you doing? Your bangs looked fantastic! Wring your hands or something instead!" And the actress, if she could talk back, is like, "Look, I'm just an actress but for real, this is how people react....just wait until someone scratches your car." So in addition to ruining my hair, I nervously rubbed the side of my neck and stepped forward a little and then back, repeatedly, with one hand on my hip. Let me tell you how attractive that is. It's not!
The lady let me pace a bit more, watched me kneel on the ground and inspect the car again (in a skirt and heels) before carefully saying, "Sweeetie....that's myyyyy car." I know she was thinking, "Psycho, that's my car. Step back!"
It's awkward to go from furious and kneeling, in professional attire, to confused and stupid and kneeling, in professional attire.
"I saw you from my office window and wondered what was going on and realized you must be the owner of the other Saturn that parks here.....my car has had this damage for a while."
It was like a film was lifted from my eyeballs. I looked back at the car and realized even though it was the same make and model, it definitely wasn't my car. Ohhhh....hmmmm That's definitely not my car. Idiot! I had spent a good 10 minutes furiously fuming about someone else's car....and thinking about punching randmom people in the face. Gah!
We had a weird, embarrassing, and relief filled laugh about the whole thing and I scampered away to my actual car. I love you, car. I may or may not have lovingly pet the steering wheel. Judge me if you must. My car has a perfect back bumper. It also has extremely identifiable traits that I should have noticed, immediately, were missing from the other car....you know like the Razorback license plate and the disco ball hanging from my rear-view mirror. How did I miss that? Anyway, I went about my hour break, now cut down to 45 minutes, and decided to skip the errands and just drive with the windows down, radio loud, drinking Starbucks!
"I learned that there's a certain character that can be built from embarrassing yourself endlessly. If you can sit happy with embarrassment, there's not much else that can really get to ya." Christian Bale