Monday, August 16, 2010

UNFINISHED BUSINESS




Did you ever have someone pass through your life briefly that made an huge impression. Some one you feel a need to somehow make your meeting right ?? To correct a wrong?? Someone you owe?? I have someone like that in my life that I do think of occasionally and wish I had a “do over.”

A friend of mine just recently had an auto accident. She was so upset because it was her fault. Her account of her accident and her expressions of guilt took me right back to my unfinished business like it was yesterday.

I was in my late thirties and was new to the job of collecting for the power company. I've all ready said how I disliked the job for it was a day spent listening to hard luck stories and having little recourse but to leave people in the dark with no power. I really hated the job. I was just too soft hearted.

One day I was thinking about the last person I had left without power but was also thinking about a juicy hamburger. I was really close to drooling at the prospect. All I had to do was make a left hand turn off a 5 lane highway and the burger was mine.

The through traffic light was green but the turn arrow for the left hand lane was off which meant proceed left with caution. Facing me was a large bread truck in the opposite left hand turn lane. Barely slowing down, l gave the opposite 2 lanes a quick look and the road appeared clear for at least a block so I accelerated to make my turn.

Well almost make my turn. Concealed by the truck was an older car traveling towards me that had innocently pulled into my path. We struck hard, sending my head into the windshield, cracking the glass. This was before required seat belt days and no air bags.

I was a bit goofy for a while due to the impact. A clean cut looking young man tapped on my window and wanted to know if I were all right. I had blood running down my face from a small scalp wound and a heck of a headache, but was otherwise OK.

Turned out he was the driver of the other car. Physically, he was just shaken. I was sick about the accident but grateful neither of us were seriously hurt. I was later scolded by my boss for admitting guilt since I contracted my car to the company and they handled the insurance. However, I couldn't quit apologizing. I knew I had been stupid and wrong.

I had smashed in his fender, crumpled the hood and water was leaking all over the road. We had collided hard enough to rupture the radiator. Several people helped him push his car off to the side, then they came back to try to move mine.

My fender was bent against the tires and it was hard to push. The young man grabbed the fender in his bare hands and pulled it away from the tire enough that we could move it also. I owned one of the first of what I call “beer can cars.” I once put a dent in my door just using my hip to close it.

As we waited for the police, the young man noticed my tire where the fender had mashed it was flat and he offered to fix it for me. He then proceeded to change my tire while we waited. While he worked on the tire, he told me his story. That was when I really felt even worse about what I had done.

He was from out of state, unemployed and had borrowed his buddies car to go job hunting. It was a vintage, run down car but he was grateful for the ride and hopeful that today was the day he would find a job.

He was confident enough he would find work that he had just put his last dollars into a new set of retread tires for his buddy's car. He had meant it as a “thank you” for all his buddy's help. He just knew he would find work that day and that things would turn around for him. That was till he met me.

When the police finished with us and tow trucks called, I went to call my boss to break the news. He told me that I had to take my car to a body shop and get a rental.

I still had half a day to work yet since I had stopped bleeding and my headache had been dulled with aspirin. While I was in the phone booth, I saw the young man walk off with head down and shoulders slumped. He was clearly beaten.

My boss connected me to the insurance department and by the time they were finished with me, the young man was gone. When I finally got the rental, I drove up and down the busy highway looking for him but there was no trace.

I am pretty sure his friends car was totaled but possibly due to the age and condition, they never filed against my companies insurance. I checked almost every day. They had every right as I had correctly been charged with the accident. I really wanted them to be compensated.

That fine young man is not on my mind constantly but when something happens like it did recently to my friend, it all comes back. He did not deserve what he got that day. That is one day I would really love a “do over.” Stopping before the turn and waiting less than a few seconds to get a good look would have done the trick.


Sadly,events that can affect our lives can often be measured in seconds. I can only hope our meeting was the very last of his bad luck EVER and that he went on to health and prosperity with Bill Gates type proportion.

He is my unfinished business. Do you have any?


30 comments :

  1. I am sure that I have scads of it, Patti, but I'd have to give it some thought.

    I think it was just that man's karma to have that happen and you were the instrument of it. I know it still makes you feel bad - we can't help that can we? I had a very similar accident 25 years ago and a man ran into me. Ironically, his wife was taking a walk and saw the accident happen. We were both okay, but they were very upset because he had heart problems and they thought the accident might make him worse. I'd sure like a do-over with that one!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a lot of unfinished business and where I can, I have tried my best to finish it. Unfortunately it usually is some kind of apology for my bad judgment. The hardest was to my best friend for a judgment I morally had not business making concerning her first divorce. I apologized to her personally many years ago. I've had a few others, almost all my errors ....guess I never learn easy.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are such a powerful writer. I am going to contemplate your question and will post my answer on my blog. Good thought provoking post. The Olde Bagg

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well--my unfinished business is with myself --and what could have been. IF I had have been willing to work on my first marriage more and both of us get some counseling, maybe my three sons would have their Mom and Dad together now.... And maybe I would have a better relationship with my sons and my grandchildren today.....????

    BUT--I had had it with him and his teen lover... He said he wanted to make it work but I was at the end of my rope. I just wanted off of the merry-go-round... I was selfish I guess --and thinking of ME and MY life. My sons made it through the divorce --but I know that they were wounded because of that.

    Then again, after meeting a wonderful man like George, I am thankful that I did what I did... This man truly loves ME unconditionally ---like the first one never did. I may have been miserable in that first marriage IF I had have stayed together just for the kids....

    SO--regrets????? NONE at all. I am always here for my sons and my grandchildren --if they are interested...

    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's quite a story, patti. I hope that young stranger did go on and find success and a very good life. I'm going to have to give your question some thought. At the moment, I can't think of a time I'd like to have a "do-over" for. I'm sure it exists, though, and I've buried it pretty deep!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your compassion shines through. I wonder about all kinds of "do-overs"--even have a piece I never finished on the topic, but in the end, I accept what is and has been. I'd like to believe things happen for a reason.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Oh dear, Patti, wouldn't the Insurance Company have had his name and address? Or the Police?

    I can see why this still bugs you, it is an unpleasant memory; I hate thinking back to times when I've been in the wrong and unable to make it better or at least apologise.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Patti, a young man that thoughtful went on to have a good life. I think it's really nice that you think about him from time to time.

    ReplyDelete
  9. kenju,
    Karma would make me feel better but I do believe bad things just happen to good people.
    That must have been scary with that man with a heart condition.

    Nitwit,
    I totally understand and wish we could be quicker when things happen to correct them so we don't have to carry them around. At least you got in the apology. That does help.

    Linda in NM
    I am so flattered that you think so. Thank you. I will be checking on your blog to see what your story is.

    Betsy,
    It might have made your children happier but I doubt keeping you in an unhappy marriage would have made their lives any better. life. I hope they read your blog and realize just what a great guy you have found and how much happiness is now in your life.

    robin,
    As sweet and thoughtful a man as he was, I just have to believe he had to have found success.

    Olga,
    Hope you do finish your piece. I do hope there is a rason for every act.

    Friko,
    He had an out of state drivers license and that address was no longer correct. I sent a letter but it was returned "addressee unknown."

    marciamayo,
    I do hope that he was such a decent fellow that good things eventully did happen to him. Perhaps I saved him from being hired in a dead end job that would devour him. I like that thought.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Heck, I sure we all have a wagon load of it but too sad to say life come without the easy button or do-overs. I believe as we get a little longer in tooth we are given more wisdom to do right the first time. At least I like to hope so...heeheehehe!

    God bless ya and have a marvelous Monday!!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'd like a "do-over" with a friendship that I allowed to die because I was stubborn, willfull, and a tad bit hard headed! The "split second" decisions we make can surely haunt us. Thankfully, there are things that we do every day, and though small, give us back a little self-esteem...sort of like a little tiny "almost do-over!"

    Instead of giving the gentleman in the drugstore some difficult directions when he asked a business location...I told him to follow me and I went a couple of blocks out of my way to get him to the destination he needed.

    The young man in construction boots and tool belt in front of me in the convenience store was unable to use a card at the checkout as it was temporarily down. He was buying a packaged sandwich and an apple for his lunch...I paid for his lunch and he profusely thanked me. He was on the job just two days and didn't want to be late!

    Little things that help us ease an aching conscience, because everyone has lapses they regret.

    ReplyDelete
  12. No, I can't think of anything I would like to do over. I've made my share of bad decisions and have not always acted as I should, but all my past actions have brought me to where I am today and I am happy with my life.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Most likely the regret and guilt you expressed to him that day was sufficient Patti, after all he offered to change your tire, so he must not have been feeling negative toward you. Maybe in the long run, it had positive effects on him in some way...taught him it's best to be honest.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Nezzy,
    Think you have a good point. Age does does seem to grant me the ability to make better decisions. Amen. I'll take long teeth any day :))

    Deb,
    Those random acts of kindness do work wonders, not only on the receipient but on ourselves. They just flat out make us feel good and they certainly make the receipient want to pay it forward. A win/win.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze,
    If you are happy who you are then you truly have no reason to desire any do overs.

    Wanda,
    This post has taught me something and I feel much better for doing it. You are right, our meeting may have helped him in some way that I could not see at the time. I prefer to think that also.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Have you ever tried to put an add in the newspaper, trying to find him ? He must have been a very kind person. You describe him so well!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ms. Patti, I have left you a strange award on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh Patti, I think your positive thoughts have made it ok for the young man. I've had several instances where I wish I had done something, but realize now it's too late. I like to think these circumstances happen so we will do the right thing the next time when it matters even more.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think we all have unfinished business.

    Hugs,
    SMB

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wouldn't it be great to locate that man. With the marvelous tools we have, like twitter, blogs etc. maybe someone, somehow remembers who he is.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I read this post the other day and went off to ponder. I have loads of regrets, but not really unfinished business, spanning over my years on this earth ....mostly when I was in my teens but none of them huge. The only unsorted things are friendships I have let slip ...many I would love to go back and this time ... keep in touch. They were the best while we lived close but when one or either moved ...I let them slip. xx

    ReplyDelete
  21. Reader Wil,
    Thank you Wil. I did try the address on his driver's license but it came back, "unknown". He was a sweet, gentle guy.

    Linda in NM
    Well it was different but oh so flattering in a "strange" way and I thank you and am honored you thought of me. Thank you so much Linda.

    Linda Starr,
    That is a great way to think of it and you know, NEVER do I enter a left hand turn in traffic that I don't take plenty of time to be sure all is clear. Also I don't let things go unsaid if I can help it anymore.

    Smartmouthbroad,
    You are right but nowdays, I try to not let things become a pebble in my memory shoe.

    MissDazey,
    Thank you for stopping by and I just wish I had all the tools we have today then. Sadly, though his image is firm in my mind, I am not sure of his last name. It has been over 30 years now.
    I'll be over to read your blog now.

    Angie,
    Like MissDazey said, with todays tools, you probably could locate those lost friendships. The internet really shrinks the world up into a small community.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I honestly, at this moment, can't think of any. But then Abe tells me I sometimes have selective memory, so perhaps there is something and I don't want to remember it. LOL

    Thanks for your visits, sorry I haven't been around much lately. I don't know where the time goes. Since I joined Facebook, I do play a lot of games, which I enjoy. Better than so many old reruns at TV at night.

    Have a good rest of the week and a fantastic week-end.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Your post reminded me of one of my accidents. A guy turned left in front of me and I smacked him good. His car proceeded to smack another car. The driver of that car was a young lady in her early twenties. She had not been hurt in the accident but she was on her way home from her latest chemothearpy treatment and she looked so forelorn. I felt so bad for her as she sat on the curb holding her head between her legs obviously in great discomfort. I have always wondered if she got better. I know that was one bad day for her.
    As for your young friend. He was such a giving person I hope too he did well.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Patty,
    Selective memory is a good thing as well as being busy.
    Haven't gotten into Facebook and have no desire.
    Baseball is keeping me away from reruns.

    Grayquill,
    Oh my, what a dreadful day for that poor young lady. She had to have felt as picked on as my young man. At least you didn't have to carry the guilt of having caused the accident. Do hope they both found a happier path.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ouch.. You must have so dreadful then , so much that even now it all comes back to you! :( Makes you feel like kicking yourself hard doesn't it.

    Everyone has unfinished businesses..me no exception. Just that I get confused sometimes about whether there's a reason it is meant to be unfinished :)

    p.s. - Sorry bout my absence. My laptop was virus infected & I was changing projects at work so couldn't manage time to post or read yours :( I've missed U a LOT!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I have unfinished business with the idiot who built my house! Sigh...

    ReplyDelete
  27. I would like to think that somehow that man will read ytour blog and recognize the incident AND let you know how his life turned out...! ( knos, it probably won't happen, but wouldn't it be nice if it did?
    I understand the feelings you describe Patti...."If Only"---I sure have a lot of those but none quite as dramatic as yours, my dear.

    The impact had to be incredibly hard for it too shatter your window,( but, luckily, not your Head.) It sounds like thr window was "beer can" too....!

    ReplyDelete
  28. lostworld,
    Well I am so glad you virus was in your computer, not you and that you are back in business. So good to hear from you and I missed you too.

    Rocky mountain woman,
    Why do I get the feeling your unfinished business involves a small image of your contractor with pins stuck in it:))

    OOLOH
    Wouldn't that be neat Naomi? Especially if he went on to bigger a better things like I wish for him.
    Not sure it was a beer can window or just a really hard head.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Aw honey you are just too kind hearted. That young man is now the President of the United States. lol
    No seriously we all have moments we want to take back so bad but can not. You know me with Ms Pearl I have a lot of them.
    That young man knew you were sorry and he understood it was just an accident or he would not have been so kind to you.
    Now off the subject but did you enter my giveaway for the CSN giveaway it ends tonight at midnight so get busy if you did not enter
    Love ya
    Maggie

    ReplyDelete
  30. Grandmayellowhair,
    Now that would be too funny. I would settle for CEO of Microsoft however.
    I am pretty sure he knows I am sorry, I just wish I hadn't had such an impact on his life that day.

    ReplyDelete