08 October 2010

Driven to the edge of a deep, dark hole

The phone rang.

Me: "Hello?"

An explosion of static.

The spouse: "Hello? Hello?"

He was out in the field, and sometimes atmospherics make cell phone conversations challenging.

Me: "Hi."

The spouse: "Oh, hi. How's it going?"

Me: "Okay. How about you? Are you done?"

The spouse, in resigned tones: "Well, it was fine up until a second ago. We just got hit by a cement mixer."

It took me a moment to digest this.

Me: "A cement mixer?"

The spouse, in tones of chagrin: "Yeah. We were stopped at a light and the guy plowed into the back of MD's car."

Me: "WHAT? Are you guys ok?"

The spouse: "Oh yeah. The cement mixer was going pretty slow."

These are the phone calls I really hate to get. Years ago, when the spouse was working on the Getty Museum project, he and a colleague were T-boned by a Mercedes that ran a red light. Amazingly, neither the spouse nor CH suffered more than a few bruises, but the truck--which had been leased by the company--was completely knocked off its chassis.

When MD pulled up in front of the house a couple of hours later, he was beside himself. One of the taillights was smashed, the bumper was bent under and the trunk lid was damaged.

MD: "That guy tried to say, 'Oh, are you sure that I did that damage to your car? How could I do that damage to your car?' And your husband pointed to the outline of the guy's license plate in the back of my car. I told him, 'We can probably see your numbers embossed in the metal,' and he stopped talking."

I shrugged. "If nothing else, the cement dust ground into the trunk lid is pretty much a giveaway."

The spouse and MD leaned in to inspect the grey splotches in the paint, and MD ran his finger through the dust.

MD: "Hey, yeah. You're right!"

Go listen to some good music: "Driven" from the album Test for Echo by Rush.

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