What’s up with the stats! (at certain times of the month)


Poor Sara!

I swear to God, the woman is a saint.  She should be winning the “my-partner-is-a-pain-in-the-ass-and-I-am-the-picture-of-patience” award any day now.

I’m emotional.

Overly emotional—

Big-time, ranting and raving, tantrum-throwing emotional—

At certain times of the month.

When Sara walked in the door from work yesterday, I accosted her with worries about my blog.

“Only 78 people have read so far today.”  No “hello”—no “how was your day.”

“It’s still early,” she offered in consolation.

“But I had over 200 readers nearly every day last week.”

“Haiti’s not in the news as much this week.” She put down her bag and walked to the frig.

“My writing has gone to hell.  I have nothing else to say.  Yeah, I had a good post on Monday about the stump, but it’s all been down-hill since then.  I have no idea what I’m going to write about for tomorrow.  I planned on doing a graffiti piece as part of my Haitian art series, but I don’t have all the photos yet and I can’t deal with hours trying to upload them this evening.”

“Why don’t you write about your driving?”

“What about my driving!”

“Richard said you hit a parked car as you were pulling out of the office this morning.”

I’m stunned.  Utterly and completely not believing what I’m hearing.

“That’s not possible.  I would have know if I’d hit a car.”

“I’m just telling you what he said.” 

She’s not mad that I may have damaged our car.  She genuinely thinks I should write about this.

And the fact of the matter is, she’s probably right.

I’m not a good driver.  I hate to drive.  I think owning a car is way, way over-rated—especially in a country where the “roads” (if you want to actually dignify them as such) boast craters the size of swimming pools—canyons that could swallow a mid-sized SUV, then take on an economy car for dessert.

But I promised yesterday to emphasize the positive about Port-au-Prince, and this post is not so much about highway maintenance (and streets that double as public toilets), as it is about my pathetic driving and Sara’s pending sainthood.

When I was an undergraduate and drove to visit a friend for the first time at her home, I was so focused on getting there, that at one point the police pulled me over for running three stop signs.

The officer approached my car in disbelief.

“Lady, you just ran three stop signs.  You didn’t even slow down.”

I wanted to justify myself by asserting that, of course, I hadn’t stopped, I was busy counting. (My friend had told me to turn right after the third sign.)  Not exactly the queen of multi-tasking—at least not on the road.

When I was driving from Kentucky to Oklahoma a few years later, I asked my friend in the seat next to me, if the lights on the car were, perhaps, not working properly.  It was just past dusk.

“It just seems so dark!” I insisted.

“That’s probably because you’re still wearing your sunglasses.”

Oops!

So, it’s true.  I’m not the best driver in Port-au-Prince, but I’m also far from the worst, in a place where driving skills may be the worst I’ve encountered on the planet.

Yes, it’s possible I hit a car without noticing—busy as I was trying to prevent the road from swallowing  my vehicle whole).

And, yes, Sara is saintly in her tolerance of both bloggerly rants and driverly mishaps.

But, honestly, what’s up with the stats?

(at certain times of the month)

And I Thought Haiti was a Scary Place: a Tale of Forensic Failure in Kentucky


Why is it that I ALWAYS seem to have the weirdest of weird experiences—the wackiest—the most ridiculous?  Tell me.  How is this possible! 

I know what follows may be hard to believe—but really—how could I make this stuff up?

Here’s how it all went down:

Two nights ago Sara and I had just returned home from a crazed day of shopping—what we always need to do just before returning to Haiti, where we often can’t buy the kinds of items pampered and “all-too-accustomed-to-comfort” Americans require to maintain sanity and goodwill.

It was around 7 o’clock in the evening.  I was in the bathroom—brushing my teeth, if you really must know.  I was minding my own floss-focused, dental-hygiene-driven business, when suddenly a loud crash interrupted my serious teeth-cleaning efforts.

Holy Sh_t! What in the name of battling tooth decay had just happened?

I grab my black boots, head out the front door and around the house to find—

A brand new black Cadillac had just plowed into the side of our house—back bumper smashed against the foundation of my none-too-sturdy, 100-year-old jewel in the crown of Victorian architecture.

I wasn’t pleased by this development—

But not wanting to create enemies of neighbors who had seemed to move in during our last 3 month stint in Haiti and would likely still be there during our next three-month stay abroad, I tried not to over-react.  It seems the driver of the black Cadillac was visiting these neighbors when he/she accelerated in reverse off the snow-covered driveway, getting up-close and personal with my foundation. (I say “he/she” because neither the man nor woman seemingly associated with the vehicle was willing to take responsibility for being behind the wheel.)

But—living in a country where people burn tires is the streets for sport, I took this all in stride—got what information I could, which was very little but ultimately included a name and phone number—not likely as it all turned out the real name or real number. 

The house did not seem seriously damaged, so I didn’t bother to call the police when these folks refused to share information regarding their auto insurance—

Late the following afternoon, however, when Sara and I had again returned from a day of home-from-Haiti errand-running—

Another crash—

Same vehicle—

This time a rear end collision with our fence—

I kid you not!

In less than 12 hours—10 and a half to be exact—these owners of the black Cadillac had managed to careen into our property, not once, but twice. 

I wondered how this could all be real.  Had I entered some kind of Cadillac-crazed twilight zone?  Had I found myself on a really bad episode of Candid Camera in which Allen Funt runs cars into the houses of home-for-the-holidays-Haiti-aid-workers—all in the name of good laughs and family fun?

No—this was real and I have the fuzzy photos to prove it—

Thank God I had the presence of mind to run outside, not only screaming, “What is wrong with you people?!”—but also carrying a camera to document, a paper and pen to take down license plate numbers, and a mobile phone to call police.

I may have been borderline hysterical, but I, sure as hell, wasn’t stupid—though the police when they FINALLY arrived an hour later—were indeed the most idiotic this side of sanity one could ever imagine.

Not only did I have to dial 911 three times to get these crime-fighters to respond—I had to explain to dispatchers why this was, indeed, an emergency.

“These people have run their vehicle into my house twice in less than eleven hours.  Something is very wrong here.  Far be it from me to suggest there might be drugs involved—but, at the very least, I don’t think you want these folks back out on the streets.  If they do this from the relative safety of a driveway, imagine what damage they might do on the open road.”

And the two officers who finally arrived on the scene were equally clueless.  The man asked me—

“So your fence was always like that?”—though it leaned at a 120 degree angle with a car rammed up against it.

“You’ve got to be joking—that can’t be a serious question.”

“Calm down, lady.  Was your fence always that way?”  OMG—he was serious!

To say that these folks from our local police department weren’t firing on all 6 cylinders would be an understatement of epic proportion. They didn’t seem to appreciate the urgency of the situation or wonder why in the name of all things crazy that can happen on the road, one would drive a brand new 40 thousand dollar vehicle with NO auto insurance, if to protect themselves from all of the other crazy drivers on the road, if nothing else? 

They told the woman who seemed to be the owner of the car that they weren’t there to take sides or “get anyone into trouble.”  They were simply there “to file a report.”

Ultimately, the police did issue a citation for “not carrying proof of insurance”—an issue they assured the car owner “could be cleared up if they took proof of coverage to City Hall tomorrow.”

No sobriety testing—only a flimsy assertion that the officer “hoped” the driver had not been “drinking and driving.”

Okay then—if this blundering comedy of errors was detective work at its best, I’d hate to see second best—or god forbid—out and out forensic failure.

And it’s with this forensic failure that the story ends.

Anti-climactic—I know—but really that’s the crazy-making reality of how it all played out.  The police did nothing to deter or, god forbid, prevent these Cadillac-driving, fence-toppling Kentuckians from heading back out onto the road to wreak havoc on the highways of our state.

And I thought Haiti was a scary place!