Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What were the odds

["Let Inga Tell You," La Jolla Light, published August 21, 2014] © 2014 

I think we'd all agree that no one should have to worry about being run over by a motor vehicle in their own shower. I'm a world class worrier but until it almost happened, it never occurred to me to worry that a stolen car would crash through our front fence and stop inches from joining me in the master bath. This wasn't recent, fortunately, but it comprised one of the three times that a vehicle has taken out our front fence and come perilously close to ending up parked inside our home.

The fundamental problem, of course, is that our house is cursed. The postal service can't seem to find it even after 67 years. We had no garbage pickup for entire summer when the routes were changed and our quirky address dropped off the grid. When the streetlight next to our house burnt out, both SD G&E and the city claimed there was no streetlight there. In January of 1981, a trunk line sewer block re-routed the neighborhood's sewage through our house for two hours.

We are suspicious about why the previous owners sold. They knew something wasn't right about this place. Note to ask realtor friends: when we sell, is being cursed a required disclosable? Do we need to inform prospective buyers that anyone residing here should expect more excitement - and not of the positive kind - than they can stand?

The three crashes are frankly puzzling. When you think of all the hilly roads with hair pin turns in La Jolla, our street is not one of them. It's straight. There's only a slight incline. You can see for blocks ahead.

The first incident occurred when a 76-year-old lady in a '49 Dodge lost control of her car and mowed down 20 feet of our front fence missing our bedroom by mere feet. She explained that she was carrying a load of milk for the Senior Citizen's Club and claimed that the city stupidly made the sidewalk the same color as the road, so how were people supposed to tell which was which? Surveying the debris, she announced, "Thanks God nothing happened to the milk!" Thanks God, she had remembered to pay her State Farm premium.

A few years later, I was taking a shower after a swim when I heard a huge crash that sounded like it was mere feet away. That's because it was. I quickly looked out my bathroom window and found myself staring right into the faces of four equally startled Hispanic teenagers who had been driving way too fast in a stolen car and had lost control. One can only assume the driver still had a provisional license and had not completed the mandatory 60 hours of adult-supervised driving. I got the license number but despite the fact that the car was trailing a fence for 30 miles down I-5 to the border, which you might think would attract attention, they got away.

Despite some perilously close misses in between, we got some good use out of our re-re-built fence before the third incident. We'd been sound asleep when we heard it: a vehicle roaring out of control down the street in our direction, rap music blaring and tires squealing as it careened back and forth. Like several other neighbors, our master bedroom is on the street side, some 15 feet from the curb. I'm not trying to be unreasonable here, but I just don't want to wake up to see the underside of a car. Olof joins me in this sentiment.

Fortunately, the white minivan just missed both our bedroom and the cars but took out 40 feet of our front fence, barely avoiding the telephone pole that doesn't exist. We called 911 but San Diego's Finest said they only had two squad cars in our area that night, both occupied. But, I said, this driver is clearly impaired - and how hard is it to spot a white minivan dragging a fence? (My front fence has had more travel time than probably any fence in America.)

Sorry, they said. Call your insurance company. Bye! From the debris field left in our yard and in the street, it was clearly kids: the sunglasses, the rap CDs, the hats. Aggravated, I posted a sign on a fragment of the fence noting: "This fence demolition courtesy of a carload of drunk teenagers. Unfortunately, natural selection did not prevail."

So would it be too much to ask if people would cut it out already? Yes, little old ladies and felonious teens, we're talking to you. People have asked why we don't move. But you think, what are the odds a car is going to crash into our house a fourth time? Of course, we thought that after the first.

Meanwhile, Olof and I have both entertained a fairly delicious fantasy of installing steel posts outside our bedroom and along our fence. They would be inscribed, "Make our day." Curses work both ways.


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