Our view of the valley

David Newell
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Bad case of the guilties

It was one of those moments when you wish you could turn back time.


You know, like when you flush the toilet at a dinner party and it overflows, or when you say "yes, Sir" to the lady with the low voice who is on the other end of the phone.

But we can't do that. We just have to put our tail between our legs and move on.

It was a beautiful day last Wednesday. The snow that had fallen the day before was melting into streams on the roads.

I had just dropped my teen daughter at school after lunch, something that has become part of the daily routine over the years, so I am used to gingerly driving amongst gaggles of giggling pubescent kids walking willy-nilly on the road.

Just to be clear, the school children are always respectful of the vehicles they share the roadway with.

The three young boys walking on the other side of Birch Street were no exception.

I saw them coming and slowed, since the river of water I was navigating through was sure to make it rain on them if I did not.

They were minding their own business, having a laugh or two.

Maybe they were talking about what happened at recess. Perhaps they were discussing the Cataracts upcoming games or even making fun of what their math teacher was wearing in the morning.

Whatever was taking their attention before it happened was quickly forgotten when I hit the pothole.

I didn't see it, guys.

It was a big one, too, especially for my little car, the one that I call "my go cart." The little Korean thing that could fit in the pan of a full size pickup truck.

I watched first through my side window and then my rearview mirror.

It was the boy with the red, white and blue striped toque who got the most of the splash I sent through the air. Luckily, it wasn't one of those beautifully-created slow motion splashes that advertisers use to make the beautiful models martyrs in perfume commercials.

It was a bunch of perfectly directed drops that seemed to have landed squarely on the trio's heads.

They all stopped in their tracks. Toque Boy screamed something, but I didn't hear what. Whatever he said, I deserved it.

On the way to work across Cromer Avenue, I couldn't help but think of the young fellas sitting in class, at least two of them with wet hair, still reeling from the meanness of that old, bald guy in the stupid little black car.

The hair they had coiffed at lunchtime to impress that certain girl was ruined. Their heads were cold. Their jackets had mud spots, and they would have to explain to Mom, who wouldn't believe them, that it wasn't their fault.

I wish I could go back in time and not hit that pothole. I wish I could have stopped in time.

But guys, please know that I am truly sorry. I didn't mean to do it.

As your friends might say, "um, my bad."

But people my age have another way of putting it.

I'm sorry.

Geographic location: Birch Street, Cromer Avenue

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