BLOG THIS! Highly Suspect Wisdom for the Widely Disinterested Masses
Yesterday I was just sitting in a cafe working, headphones on, listening to Kenny Dorham and lost in thought when there was an explosion. The entire building shook. The cafe is down the hill from a gas station and my first thought was that someone's propane tank blew up. The woman sitting closest to the wall jumped out of her seat and slid across the floor. Me and a couple other guys and the barista ran outside. There was a brand new tricked-out Dodge Challenger on the sidewalk. The owner had left it at a gas pump in neutral and gone in to buy something and it rolled backwards at high speed, probably forty yards, crossed the street between traffic, and slammed into the cafe. I didn't realize at first the car was empty because it was still moving, sort of rolling back and forth with the momentum and I thought someone truly hammered or having a stroke was trying to park. When we got closer it was clear it was moving on its own, so I jumped in (not easy, the owner was clearly very short and the seat was all the way up and also, it was moving) and waited until it rolled back to the curb and put it in gear. Worth mentioning (beyond my distinct "first man on the barricades" persona) that the reason I jumped in was because I was by far the oldest one there and the car was a standard and all the younger dudes were like "Does anyone know how to drive a stick?" I'm not kidding. Fodder for a different post entirely, this generational mystification with the clutch. In any case, a Mexican kid, maybe 20, came running down, totally distraught. He didn't speak much English, but between the "Que Pendejos!" (calling himself a fucking idiot) I gathered it was his brother's car and he didn't have insurance and basically his brother was going to murder him. He leaned against the hood and started sobbing. I tried, brokenly, to tell him it was just a mistake and we all do stupid shit and the damage to the building wasn't that bad (somewhat true) and same with the car (total lie). He drove off and after a while the cops came and everyone chatted giddily like they do when something unusual happens on an otherwise bagel-and-laptop afternoon. Here's the really weird thing, though: that whole side of the cafe has back-in parking, not parallel. There's probably a dozen spaces facing out. The Challenger somehow rolled all that distance backward and right into the only spot available. I realize that sounds absurd, but it's 100% true. It's why I thought someone was trying to park. The car had maybe ten inches of room on either side and still slid perfectly in between. It's a genuine miracle (I don't believe in miracles, so instead let's call it a refutation of mathematical probability verging on the preposterous) that the car didn't kill a pedestrian, get hit by another car while crossing the street, or crush a parked Tesla instead of just crumpling a few feet of wall. Afterward I sat there and tried to work for another hour, but couldn't stop looking out the window and marveling at the stupid, naked beauty of the world.