Thursday, March 26, 2015
Copyright Linda Goodman 2015
A cold, drizzling rain made me decide that I did not want to park in the outer Siberia section of the Chester, Virginia Walmart parking lot on that September day in 1999. Normally I chose the exercise of the walk across the long, deep parking lot to the store, but on this day, I just wanted to keep dry. I began looking for a closer space.
As divine providence (or perhaps luck?) would have it, there was a parking space available beside a van just a few spaces from the store’s front door. In my mind, that parking spot had my name on it. I turned my front wheels to the right to enter the space, but someone else came flying down the parking aisle and skidded into the space before I could get my car into it.
The lady in the other car rolled down her window and yelled, “I saw it first!”
“That’s okay,” I responded. “I’m not emotional about it.” I turned back to outer Siberia, burdened with the promise of a bad hair day looming before me.
Since I was not wearing a coat, the walk to the store was chilly. I needed to shop for only a few things, so I made quick work of it. As I was checking out, I could smell something burning. The front of the store was filled with smoke.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Is there a fire.”
“Yeah, but it’s outside. You’re okay in here,” the clerk assured me.
“Do you know what happened?” I wanted more information.
“Well, see, this van out in the parking lot caught fire,” the clerk replied. “The police and the fire department are out there taking care of it.”
“Are the cars around it okay?” I wondered.
“The fire spread to one of the cars next to it,” the clerk told me. “Guess somebody’s having a bad day.”
As I pushed my grocery cart outdoors, I saw the black hole left by the van. I also saw a black hole in the spot to the van’s right, the space where I had tried to park! I asked one of the policemen if he knew what had happened. He told me that the driver of the van had gone for a ride in his all terrain vehicle and, afterwards, had put the ATV into the back of the van without letting the ATV cool down first.
“How about the driver of the car?” I asked him. “Is she okay?”
“Well, she wasn’t in the car when it happened,” he said solemnly. “So she should be okay. That might change when she actually sees her car.”
I continued my march to outer Siberia. It was good exercise, and I still had a car.