Letter to a Friend I was Planning to Help


“Dear _____,

I was all set to come join you at the boathouse around 10 this morning to help rig the quad. I set out bowls and cheerios and milk for all the boys.  As I kissed two of my children on their heads, I heard a “beep beep beep CRASH” outside.

A neighbor’s vendor backed into our basketball hoop (it’s on a stand) and it smashed in front of our driveway.  Sandwich-sized pieces of plexiglas decorated the driveway. Other pieces are hanging on to the rubber frame.

I went out and the driver’s assistant, he reminded me of Jonah Hill, had just lifted it back up and was dashing back to his open door on his side of the truck.

“Oh noooo, nonononooooo. That won’t do a’tall,” I thought. This has happened before. Once a vendor (never ours!) bent the hoop off its mount.  We laid it down and fixed it; no big deal, but what I hate is the “Oh shit! We better book!” mentality of the drivers. It never bodes well for the actual vendor.

I stood behind the truck, in the path of the truck’s mirrors and held up my hand, gesturing that the driver speak with me. I was armed with the 21st century’s “plaintiff’s evidence exhibit A” provider (my  cellphone) and took pictures of the damage, the truck, the truck number and proceeded to tell the driver to stop.

I declared (like I was on a movie set, Debra Winger would play me in this instance) “You drove your truck into my childrens’ basketball hoop which knocked it over and shattered its backboard. You did this. You need to get out of the truck and look at what you did and then you need to call your office and make arrangements to have them replace it.”

I heard the gears shift in the truck and the engine cut off. The door creaked open and the driver stepped out.

He was about my age, very short hair, tall and reasonably fit. He got out, walked over to the hoop and scratched his head. He smiled apologetically and gestured to me to call his company as listed on the truck. “Oh, so bad. You call dis numba; dey fix,” he said. He didn’t speak English very well. This was going to be a bummer. I shook my head and said, “No. You call the number, you tell them what happened. Then I’ll get on the phone.”

“OK, you’re right. I’ll call them and tell them what I did.” He faked it? He faked being not fluent in English?!

After a round of phone calls, text messages to my husband and generally not knowing what to do, I spoke with the driver’s boss who was very nice. We exchanged information and I feel confident the situation will be remedied soon.

I decided to rest a bit; my blood was pumping. This has happened before and people just usually drive away because they’re likely uninsured or whatever.

After about 10 minutes, I was ready to leave.

As I grabbed my keys, my neighbor came over to talk about it and apologize. We chatted, looked at the hoop and then I went to leave.

I had no keys to my car. I went back to get them. Had to ring the doorbell because I locked it behind me. My youngest son opened the door. I got my keys and walked back out to the car.

Then I started the engine and realized I did not have my phone or license, etc., with me. I went back in to get it all.

I discovered the younger boys fighting and pouring milk on each other due to an inadvertent spill.

_____, I am not going to make it to help you today. You’re probably home and have figured that out. They are 8, 11 and 14. My 14yo is still in bed. We have one week left before they are off to school … it’s folly for me to think that I can leave them before they’ve eaten or truly wakened.  They can be savages at times…

I apologize.”

Ever have an hour like that?

Thank you.

About Grass Oil by Molly Field

follow me on twitter @mollyfieldtweet. i'm working on a memoir and i've written two books thus unpublished because i'm a scaredy cat. i hail from a Eugene O'Neill play and an Augusten Burroughs novel but i'm a married, sober straight mom. i write about parenting, mindfulness, irony, personal growth and other mysteries vividly with a bit of humor. "Grass Oil" comes from my son's description of dinner i made one night. the content of the blog is random, simple, funny and clever. stop by, it would be nice to get to know you. :)

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