I got my notice for jury duty and couldn’t think of a good excuse to get out of it so I was on my way to the County-City Building to report. Just another bad luck day, I guessed. The parking garage was already full, so I started looking for any place to park. I ended up several blocks away. I was concerned about my “For Sale” sign on the side window of my ten year old, well kept, ivory VW Beetle. Should I leave it up or take it down? I was pretty sure there was some law about having a sign like that on the public street. I thought, “What the heck?” but moved it to the side walk side window, locked the car and starting to speed walk to check in for my citizen duty of jury. I got about twenty yards and turned around and went back to my little VW.
There on the front seat was my brown paper bag with a couple of sandwiches and two water bottles . . . just in case the day would take hours and hours to do whatever I needed to do.
I could have walked slower. I was stopped by security when the alarm went off at the metal detector. It wasn’t me, but my brown paper bag that set off the bell. The guard looked at me and I looked at him and then just shrugged my shoulders. I poured out my contents onto a tray: The sandwiches, the bottles of water, a couple paperback novels, some unopened mail, and small package. I went “Ahhhhhh.” The guard just looked at me. I had been waiting weeks for my 300 zoom monocular. The box came the day before and I hadn’t bothered to open it up then . . . but I did now in front of a gathering group of people. There was a little black fake cloth carrying bag and a five inch long monocular for seeing things way far away. . . Ah, yes I had succumbed to late night TV and Facebook Ads before and they got me again. The guard took the monocular and held it up to his eye and then he just looked at me. “I got it for 30% off.” He just nodded and head bobbed for me to get on in the room and join the fun.
It was almost noon and I hadn’t heard my name called. I had used the time wisely, catnapping and reading. I had pulled out my monocular and started playing with it. Several times I had zeroed in on someone’s face who mouthed words I couldn’t quite make out, but easily understood. When the announcement came over the intercom that we could leave for lunch I was out of the room in a bolt. I had an hour. I was a sandwich and a bottle of water down, but my goal was to take the elevator up to the highest floor I could and look out the window to see how my monocular performed in the real world.
Once on the eighth floor I walked down the hall to the south facing window. I owed a big thank you to the janitorial staff. The window was sparkling clean. I could see half-way across town. I needed to work on tight focus, but I was getting the hang of it. My monocular wandered around and eventually I even spotted my own car. I zoomed in, I love zooming in, and saw someone copying down my phone number from my “For Sale” sign. My lucky day, I said to myself. My potential buyer even left me a note. He got into his little white Volvo with Oregon plates. Probably a student I figured.
I left the eighth floor and returned to the large room massed with potential jurors. I wasn’t called, but would need to report the second day. Oh, well. I walked back to my car and put my books down in the passenger seat along with my monocular and opened up the note left by my potential buyer under the wiper blade on the driver’s side.
The note read “I’m sorry to bother you. I backed into your lovely VW. Other people saw me and they think I’m leaving you my name and number, but I’m not. Good luck.”
Some luck! I looked at the front of my car and saw probably a thousand dollars in damage to the hood and fender. If I could have kicked myself I would have. I had seen his Oregon license plate but hadn’t a clue as to his license plate numbers. My monocular had given me the opportunity and I had missed it. Some people are lucky . . . and I always thought of myself as not quite lucky, but there you go. Sometimes we’re wrong. Sometimes we’re right.
Driving home I was both sad and . . . very sad. Finally, I told myself to get over it. I was almost home when I saw another note under the windshield wiper on the passenger side of the car. I pulled over to the curb and walked around the car to open the note. It read, “I saw the accident. The guy didn’t look trust worthy. He made a show to let others assume he left details for contact. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. As he drove away I quickly wrote down his license number, but don’t know what state he’s from. Sorry, that’s the best I can do. Here is my phone number . . .” The monocular, jury duty, the car accident, and the two notes . . . it was my lucky day. Real lucky day. The second note writer and I were married six months later.