All We Needed Was More Paint

Why do I ever leave the house? We needed more paint for the cover over the new well and the pipe from it to the cistern so we headed to the local home improvement stores in the area where we bought the first gallon. My husband is the system operator for our community well and our well went dry and we now have a deeper one. The state has various requirements and the cover is one of them. A couple of other owners helped with the construction which my husband greatly appreciated given that he was on his own for three months keeping the water flowing until the driller arrived.

Yep. Three months is a long time to have to come up with all the answers to keep water flowing from what essentially amounted to a well that was now pumping sand, but that’s Jerry. It’s who he his. Jerry has taken his volunteer position seriously for the last thirty years and this time was no different. Fourteen homes get their water from this community well so although for half that time he was out there every thirty minutes checking the water level in the cistern and shutting the pump on and off to mimic how drillers develop a well, he did so gladly, even when it meant climbing up and down a ladder to check the water level in the cistern every half hour.

He’s sixty-three. At least he’s in good shape.

Anyway, we were about to turn right at the light in front of the home improvement store when a guy in a pickup chose to turn left in front of us, speeding through his turn and nearly hitting a van that was waiting in the left turn lane for the light to change. The other thing he did was nearly run into us.

I screamed. My husband was already slamming on the brakes. Our truck is old and we use it to haul things my Camry won’t haul. But it’s small and it would fold up like a tuna can if a large pickup ran into us. And it would have been my husband who would have taken the hit. The truck was made in 1991 so no side airbags.

The guy in the van was yelling at pickup truck guy, waving his arms and if I’m not mistaken, swearing up a storm. He and I made eye contact and he raised his hands as if to say, what the fuck?!? We drove slowly into the parking lot and parked. Pickup truck guy saw us and began walking over to us, multiple excuses flowing from his mouth.

My immediate response was, are you kidding me? I was shaking and he tried to play down what he did saying that he didn’t know he wasn’t turning onto a two-lane street. Oh. My. Goddess. It’s obvious where he was turning. To everyone. And it was clear that we had the right of way. So sorry if he was in a hurry and didn’t want to wait his turn, but we had the right of way.

When he got nowhere with us, he went back to his truck and left the parking lot.

So we walk into the store and discover that the original paint we bought wasn’t the color my husband asked for. I told the clerk which shade he wanted and she even marked the color on the paint swatch I handed her. Then she proceeded to give us the lightest shade on the swatch. I didn’t catch it and left with the paint.

For whatever reason, even though I was still shaking from our near death experience, I realized what the paint department clerk had done when I showed the clerk today the paint information off of the can. I took a picture of it with my phone so I didn’t have to bring the paint can with me. My husband, still reeling from pickup truck guy, decided to accept the lighter color.

He was clearly still in shock.

Jerry typically shoulders these experiences far better than I so when he told me he was finally calming down an hour after we returned home, I was surprised. He said it was my scream that unnerved him the most. He didn’t appreciate pickup truck guy’s pathetic excuses but it’s not like he was surprised by them.

I guess it’s all the things that could have happened that go through our minds when these near misses occur. It would be nice, however, if when someone acts in a way that is dangerous to simply apologize and leave it at that. I’m so sorry for what I did. I scared you and that wasn’t right. Again, I’m so sorry.

Or stay home surrounded by excuses no one wants to hear.

Anyway, our near death experience aside, I came home with a new ladder and Jerry came home with a new flex pipe to use out at the cistern. I’m happy because the new ladder will make harvesting my pole beans around my 24-foot dome greenhouse much easier and Jerry’s happily gluing pipe together.

But all that happiness aside, in all honesty, we’re just thrilled to have survived the trip to the home improvement store.

Blessings to all, even pickup truck guy. Maybe someday he’ll learn to drive.

Originally published at on September 5, 2017.

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