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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Guilty Conscience

We are going to play a little game called, Confessionals, because I have been feeling terrible about something I did nearly four years ago. But first, a little background info on why this is plaguing me especially these last few weeks.

Four years ago, I was running very close to being late for work (for the second time that week... not a good week) and as I was pulling into the parkade I would normally park in, it was unusually full! Up and up and up I drive thinking "man o man, I DO NOT have time for this!" Finally, a small spot near the fire escape doors! I am typically rather good with spacial relation skills but I was driving my brand new van (that had been purchased with the monies raised through a fundraiser for Isabel and through the financial contributions of Manitoba Hydro Employee Assistance Fund and Kinsmen Club).

I begin to pull into the angular spot next to this white van when I begin to hear the horrible sound of metal grinding up against metal... NO WAY! You have got to be kidding me! I pull back out to see that I have scraped the right side of this white van leaving a lovely green line... Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap... I can't deal with this right now!

So my not-so-intelligent logic at the time? Find a parking spot I actually fit in quick and at my first morning break, I'll run back out and leave a message on the white van's windshield! (Yeah, because making up for an additional five minutes of tardiness makes more sense than being accountable to a FAMILY vehicle that could possibly be left with a $200-500 deductible payment!)


Needless to say, when I returned at my first opportunity, the white van was gone. Now I would be lying if there wasn't a smidgen of relief but that was immediately swallowed up by guilt. Had I felt guilty enough, I would have phoned the police station to say "hey, if anyone with a white van comes in to make a report of a hit and run, I am the guilty party."

But I didn't even do that...

A hit and run. Me. A mother of two at the time who is supposed to be setting a good example for her children, someone who has preached the value of accountability many, many times, someone who is supposed to be a good citizen and choose what is RIGHT over what is CONVENIENT. A blatant failure on my part.

Why is this especially eating away at me now? On March 16th, I parked on the streets of downtown Winnipeg to attend Melina's voice festival through the Royal Conservatory of Music. It was a beautiful day! I was going to be cutting it pretty close with my parking meter expiring (are we noticing a pattern here?) so I was enjoying a little jog on my way back to the van when I noticed paper flapping on my windshield... crap!

Upon approaching the van, the papers flapping in the wind revealed not parking tickets but two handwritten notes:

"Someone hit your van, a blue truck license plate XXX XXX. Here's my name & number as a witness".

My first instinct? Was not to go and check out the damage, it was to call these two strangers and thank them for their act of kindness! In fact, I forgot about the damage all-together as I just stared up at the heavens baffled by the goodness these strangers showed me when I did not show that white van's owner that same goodness.

But reality sets in and I examine the rear bumper that is starring back at me like the hunchback of Notre Dame! Ok, not that bad, but it was enough for Manitoba Public Insurance to write-off the entire back bumper!

What is the protocol with hit and runs? Police report followed by MPI claim so as I am driving to the police station, I am wondering if maybe I can finally ask them to look up any reports from white vans in 2006 from that particular parkade. Then finally, finally, finally, I could contact this person and repay them for the trouble I caused them. Hope of resolution finally begins to set in...

Police report goes well and the lady police officer comes out to my van to inspect the damage. "Ah yes" she says "it is clear these are brand new marks... and look over here." She begins to walk around the rest of the van and comes to the scratches at the front driver's side. "Oh dear, and is this from today, too?"

"Um, no... I am actually hoping you can help me with this one... I was responsible for a hit and run four years ago and I am hoping that your reports can help me find the person I hit."

She looked at me and said "well, we can try." She chuckled somewhat and said "well isn't this karma for you, then?"

I answered, "Not really... I had two witnesses and won't have to worry about swallowing the cost of my own deductible!"

Back to the computer and she begins to type away based on the info I can recall. No report was ever made. Now I feel even worse! So this family has been living with a scrapped up van for four years??? Ah man!

But it doesn't end there. Because our van is our main family vehicle, we have it insured with a loss-recovery clause meaning that we get a replacement vehicle should anything happen to ours. Monday was the earliest we could get our van into the autobody shop and Duane went to pick up the replacement vehicle for our family. We were to meet back home where he would switch all three car seats and we could resume relatively normal life!

Duane walks into the house upon his return and I walk up to the kitchen sink to get myself a drink of water (and to sneak a peak at the "new vehicle" we get to drive for the next few days) and nearly drop my glass of water...

There in our driveway sat our replacement vehicle for a hit and run... and would you believe it was a WHITE VAN???

Ok, ok! I get it! I am a terrible person!

So for crying out loud, if any of you out there know of a person who drives a white van who got their passenger side scraped up with a green mark in a parkade from downtown Winnipeg sometime between April and September of 2006, would you PLEASE tell them about this blog entry, have them post a comment and I will contact them??

Or if any of you notice a white van with such markings, write down their license plate and let me know!

Otherwise, I will just have to resort to some community service that would be equivalent to $200-500 just to ease my conscience! So there you have my shameful confessional.

While I write about the world being a beautiful place, every now and again, I make the dumb decision to contribute not-so-goodness to this world. I would really love to minimize my negative contributions (in fact, I would really prefer not to have any at all!) but the truth remains that I am just plain old human. But the lesson has certainly solidified the value of "do the right thing, especially when it seems very difficult." And of course, "Be accountable for your mistakes."

So here's hoping you are having a good day... not being woken up at 5:30 in the morning due to a guilty conscience or the need to let everyone know where you failed as a kind and considerate human being! And if you drive a white van with a green streak on the side, I am SOOOOOO sorry and look forward to connecting with you and finally making this right!

God bless out there! Thanks for lending me your ears... or eyes!

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