“WHAT IF”

What If - fluorescent Neon Sign on brickwall

SUSAN GOLDFEIN PICTURE

I was involved in a fender bender the other night. No one was hurt, but part of my car is now a dented, ugly mess.

The accident wasn’t my fault. I was hit by a driver who neglected to obey a yield sign. I agree yield signs can be confusing. They’re certainly less demanding than stop signs. Maybe that’s the problem. Perhaps the word “yield” should be followed by an expletive.

The evening started with us dressing for one of those black-tie-optional affairs which I hate
because it requires too many sartorial decisions. Dark suit or tuxedo? Suspenders or belt? Studs or buttons? Bow or necktie? And then there were my husband’s choices. (Just kidding.)

I had showered, blow-dried, and was about to apply make-up when I noticed my naked fingernails. A special occasion surely required some color. I was applying a coat of NYC’s In a New York Minute nail polish to my right hand when my husband engaged in some
throat-clearing. Therefore, I abandoned the little brush to render my expert opinion regarding his outfit.

We kissed the dog goodbye and drove off with me at the wheel. Within minutes the proverbial light bulb lit my brain. With all the focus on his shoes and shirts, I had neglected my left hand.
I have to go back,” I announced.
Why? What’s wrong?”
I didn’t polish the rest of my nails. I simply cannot show up unfinished!”
No one will notice,” said he.
Of course, they will,” I replied. “I can’t keep my hand in my pocket
all evening. Besides, my dress doesn’t have pockets.”
So, tell everyone it’s the latest style. Or, you’re becoming forgetful
and that’s how you remember which hand is which,” he proposed.

After a few more useful suggestions, I agreed not to go home and
continued driving. You know the rest.

But what if we could roll back the cameras and create an alternate
ending? When informed about my naked fingernails, my husband
recognized the seriousness of this grooming faux pas and insisted I turn
around immediately and rectify the blunder.

Clearly, the minutes it would have taken to return home, apply a coat
of quick-dry polish, get back in the car and resume the trip, would have
avoided the man in the traffic circle who did not yield and said accident
would have never occurred.

And that’s why, when the officer asked me who was to blame for the
crash, I pointed to the man sitting next to me in the passenger seat, and
said “he is.”

Susan Goldfein holds a doctorate in Communication Disorders from Teachers
College, Columbia University, and enjoyed a successful career as a clinician,
teacher, and consultant. For more essays filled with wit, wisdom and irony,
visit Susan’s blog, www.susansunfilteredwit.com. Her book, How Old Am I in Dog
Years? may be purchased on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com

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