Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Toyota Mishap

It is not my custom to document private events or personal anecdotes. But this time an exception is warranted. This morning I had an appointment with the orthopedist who has been nurturing my until-recently injured foot. To my way of thinking, the purpose of the appointment was to dot the "i"s and cross the "t"s since my symptoms are all but gone and my x-rays are clean.

In Japan, it is unusual to land an actual appointment with a doctor. Most favor the open office hours, first-come-first-served format. My doctor is no exception but due to special circumstances I was granted a specific time. So I drove to the clinic, parked the car in a lot nearby and entered the clinic's reception area. Everything was proceeding according to script until the secretary informed me that sensei is not in today -- his clinic day was yesterday. Bummer. I slunk out of the office feeling slightly embarrassed and slightly annoyed since I could have been playing with Pippi or working out or ... any number of things aside from driving across town in rush hour traffic on a narrow street. But keep reading. The story gets worse before it gets better.

I returned to the car, paid Y200 to get my wheels out of hock and climbed inside. No sooner had I begun to back out when I heard that nasty sound of shattering plastic and crunching metal. Now what? Hadn't I already had enough tzoris for one day? Fearing that I had hit another car or, worse yet, a person, I hopped out to inspect. Fortunately the casualties were not too bad but I did break the tail light, dent the fender and nick the side of the car in two places. If Toyota has their way with us, we will probably have to replace all the affected parts despite minor scarring to any of them (fender and tail light excepted). Beautifully designed for quick and complete repairs, our car consists of parts that pop out like Lego. Great for major damage, not so great for tiny dings.

So I went home and took the dog for a walk. As we set out, I noticed a string of missed calls on my cell phone and, just as I was trying to access the messages, the phone rang once again. Low and behold, it was sensei calling to apologize. Turns out the error was at his end. Apparently the mistaken receptionist raced out to retrieve me but to no avail. Just think ... if she had found me in time ... if I had returned to the clinic for my appointment ... Oh the possibilities! I know there is no use in crying over the proverbial spilled milk. Yet I also know there is a metaphor, message or moral lurking somewhere in this story. Honk if you figure it out.

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