Friday, October 21, 2005

true stories

Black circles are not the problem, but instead, black rectangles as my eye (the right one) seems lately that it does not want to be bothered with contact lenses. I either put in the lens, it rips, and needs to be replaced 24 hours later or the eye decides to completely refuse it altogether and I am forced to rock the specks (which I dislike intensely).

Sunday, in an effort to save on gas, I rode to church with Cristina and rode home with Tony. Tony's car is an absolute pig hole, filled to capacity with candy wrappers, empty coke bottles and various crumpled paper products; CDs are strewn everywhere with no jewel cases in sight and air fresheners hang from every possible place to hang them from. He lit a cigarette and almost immediately dropped it in his lap causing him to nearly drive off the road. It burned a rather large hole in the seat between his legs. His lighter was shaped like a pig and had flames shooting from the snout. Peculiar.
We rode in silence most of the way until Tony reached to turn down the volume so I could hear him speak.
"You want to hear something really messed up? I was at a party last week and the guy that was having the party had a pinata... it was filled with a bunch of condoms and man thongs and stuff. Everyone was pretty wasted and when the pinata got busted open, I grabbed a few of the man thongs and was putting them on my car and stuff - they've just been laying around my room. The thing is, this morning I got up and didn't have any clean underwear, soooo..."

Tony wore a man thong.
To church.

Back in February sometime there was a rather large snow storm, the kind that forces you out of your house a full hour before you would usually leave for work so that you can dig your car out and defrost everything; the kind that keeps the plows so busy that it can take 2-3 days for them to get to my road; the kind that is followed by an ice storm leaving the 2 1/2 feet of snow in a thick, icy shell. It was that kind of snow storm.

It did take me an hour to dig my car out from under the mounds and mounds of snow. It had been two days and the plows hadn't come to visit my street yet. An ice storm had followed the snow and had left a thick layer of ice on everything, but I drove on anyway... and made it about a block before I found myself in a slide down a hill that I could do nothing about. I hit a ditch and said ditch catapulted me into the air and straight into my neighbor's mailbox.
Mailbox went everywhere. I said "oh no".

No one was home so I assembled a pile of mailbox pieces as neatly as I could at the end of the driveway and left my business card with a note on their front door. I received a call later that afternoon gushing with gratefulness at such honesty.
"Oh! But how could I have possibly left without saying anything. I felt horrible! You are, afterall, my neighbor!" (I had never even met these people).
She gushed for about five more minutes and then assured me that her husband or her would give a call back when they got things figured out.
I never heard from them again.

Five months later, a new mailbox had still not been put up. They had purchased a new box and had placed it on a stump, but there was no post or fancy reflectors. It took nearly 6 months before I finally drove by one morning and noticed the mailbox firmly planted into the ground, new numbers on its side, new reflectors warning future would-be mailbox hitters.

A week later it was knocked down again. This time by a drunk driver. I couldn't believe their misfortune and wondered if they secretly thought that I had done it a second time. I still had never met them or heard from them.

Yesterday morning I was racing back home to dig up a sandwich and a change of clothing before heading down to Princeton to clean up a crisis that the candidate's wife was suffering (someone botched up the schedule) when I saw my neighbor walking down her driveway for the mail. I thought to myself: "wow... I should really stop and introduce myself, say hello, do the neighborly thing. I still haven't even met these people and if nothing else I should at least do that!"
So, on an impulse, I pulled into the driveway. She stopped and stared, trying for the life of her to figure out who I was. I left the engine running and got out of the car to introduce myself.
"Hey there! I'm a neighbor of yours; I'm the girl who ran into your mailbox the first time."
Her face brightened up and she immediately put out her hand to meet me. She was ecstatic to see me, ecstatic that I had stopped by, still ecstatic that I had been so honest about the situation. She gushed for 5 minutes or so and I let her, smiling the entire time and thinking what a good neighbor I was.
"Hey! I just wrote you a letter the other day, actually. My husband and I were so grateful for your honesty. You know, not a lot of people would have done that..."
(awww, shucks, stop that now...)
"If you wait right here, I'd like to run in and print it up for you - is that alright?"
I assured her I would wait outside for a minute as she ran inside to get me this fantastic letter she had written me.

She folded it before she handed it to me.
"You know... if this is... too much, you can just, you know, pay us in installments or something..."
I was only mildly shocked. OK, so they're still interested (after all this time) in collecting a fee for the mailbox I busted. OK, no reward for honesty... but that's alright. I mean, it's fair. I busted their mailbox.
I told her I would drop a check in the mail as soon as I could and then parted ways. I couldn't wait to check the damage.

2 Central Avenue
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889
October 14, 2005

Monica N. Navarro
1 Haver Place
Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889

Dear Ms. Navarro,

As I'm sure you recall, you accidentally hit our mailbox several [8!!!!!] months ago. My wife and I appreciate your honesty.

Unfortunately, the parts were not salvageable and had to be replaced. I still have the mailbox in case you wish to inspect it. Following are the costs involved in replacing and mounting the new mailbox:

"Ironside" mailbox $56.95
Cedar post and vinyl sleeve: 20.00
Vinyl post cap 4.00
Iron post anchor 19.95
Brass numbers 3.95
Reflectors 1.50
Labor [!?!?!?!] 50.00

Sub-total: $155.40
Tax: 9.33

Total: $164.73

I would greatly appreciate a check in the above amount as soon as possible [I see time is a real issue for them]. If you'd like to discuss this matter, please stop by during the weekend.


So while geography says that they're my neighbors, in my heart, as far as I'm concerned, they live in Deluth.

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