Saturday, August 22, 2015

We're Back! (to Palmdale and SoCal, that is)

We have safely arrived in the United States and California again after a seven month absence. 

People - including US Customs and Border Patrol/Homeland Security folks - spoke English to us as if that were normal - one sign we had arrived.  Another was that the directional signs at the ATL airport were in English first, then Espan~ol.  We had been to this same airport in January, and we kinda recognized it.  ATL is so big I forgot you have to take their circular tram system to get to your next gate!  Thankfully, my wife knew what to do.  I may not be a smart man, but I know a smart woman!  (smile)  Actually, I knew, but her brain cells work faster than mine in that kind of situation where there are new things to deal with and so she got to the right answer sooner than me.  I help her too when she goes and begins something that is less than desirable, so hey - it's a working marriage!

People looked happier at ATL than LAX for some reason.  Just an observation. 

Enterprise Rent a Car in Culver City (hundreds of dollars cheaper than renting from them at LAX, btw) was very helpful.  They got us a Nissan Sentra from another nearby location versus giving us a six cylinder Chevrolet Impala.  Drove us there, too.  Better gas mileage with the Sentra, of course.  A newer model than what the taxistas drive in Cuenca and Quito, with more overall room.  We began our journey at our Cuenca condo by being picked up by a chofer driving a Nissan Sentra, so we can make a valid comparison.

I was a bit concerned that after seven months of not driving, I might not be used to the LA traffic - at rush hour, to add to the challenge - and that I could make a driving mistake that would lead to an accident.  I didn't cause an accident, thank God, but I was involved in a very minor one.

I was driving on Sepulveda Blvd. in the Sepulveda Pass area uphill northbound, and a young lady ever so lightly touched my rear bumper.  I parked the car in the lane, and fumbled to find the four way flashers before getting out and see what had been done to the car(s). 

"I didn't see you - I wasn't looking, and then we hit!  So sorry!" she exclaimed, with obvious shock to what she had done.  I, having endured delays via Delta Airlines all the previous evening, the morning, afternoon. . . all the way to a 45 minute delay debarking at Terminal 6 at LAX after arriving four hours and twenty minutes late, was already in great need of rest and sleep.  I examined the lower rear fender areas. . . no obvious damage.  No damage to the Sentra's rear bumper, either except for paint missing from where her front license plate touched my bumper.  A line now existed from the middle of the bumper to a point below the tail light on the bumper - probably caused by the bumper mismatch.  But thankfully, no body damage except missing paint. 

"I really didn't see you.  I'm so very sorry!" she reiterated, with more feeling.  "Please, I didn't mean it!  I didn't see you.  It was my fault!" she remorsefully exclaimed, fearing for something worse for her. 

At this point, my wife came out and saw the verbal exchange that was being played out right in the middle of Sepulveda Blvd., while frustrated drivers were bypassing the scene of the minor bumpa de bump bump.

"OK, you didn't see me.  You didn't mean it," I repeated her words back to her. "I didn't mean it, really, sir!" she wailed back to me.  "I really didn't see it!  Could you. . . "

"Tell you what," I replied ever so calmly after sizing up the situation and offering a breath prayer to the Lord.  "You can go.  Just please drive very carefully, alright?"

The now very nervous, frightened, and terrified young woman let that reply register in her brain.  Then she left to get in her car, waiting for me to start mine and begin driving again.

So much forgiveness needed to be given one to another in this world, especially in sue-happy California.  I was glad to have done my share that Wednesday.  Hopefully Enterprise won't ding me too hard financially on the minor scrape up that occurred.  It's in God's - and Enterprise's - hands.         

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