August 18, 2006

How a Lexus saved my soul

I adore real mail. There was only one item in my mailbox today but it was addressed to me in the unmistakable handwriting of my dear old pop so I was happy. I plopped down in a patio chair and opened it up. There was a short note inside as well as a check written by my dad for $1,090.33 with the memo field made out to "[Hollywood's] encounter with Lexus."

The note read, "In cleaning out my files for the impending move, I came across this reminder of past times. With your payment of this amount as a young driver, you purchased integrity and character. Congratulations!"

Let me explain. I'm hell on wheels. I speed, I swerve, I yell at cops when they pull me over. The very first time I was allowed to drive with a passenger was with my boyfriend to a Senior dance. The night was gloomy, wet, and I was thinking about how great I looked in my dress rather than paying attention to the road. Long story short, I made a very minor ding on the bumper of a Lexus and spent the rest of my senior year working to pay it off. Have I mentioned that I hate Lexuses?

I got a minimum wage job and worked nights after school and on Saturdays and paid my Dad back for the damages incurred. No biggie. So why did he send me this check? I'll tell you why, NONE of my other eight siblings had to pay a red cent for any of their car damage. My siblings have ruthlessly totaled at least 5 cars and have thousands of dollars of damage between them on the little stuff. We just drive dumb. But nobody paid the piper until I came along. As the 6th child my Dad decided to try something fun and new with me and made me financially accountable for my poor judgment. Supposedly, he found the experiment to be a utter failure since my three younger siblings were all granted total amnesty from their poor driving decisions.

I finished reading the letter I looked at the check again. At first glance I assumed my Dad was finally evening the tables and reimbursing me to ease his long-guilty conscience. But I didn't want the money back. The experience had come to symbolize life's lessons learned and in the end I'm grateful for the tough love. So I was surprised and relieved to see that the check was from the year 1995 and made out to a Collision Repair Shop. Just a memento for my scrapbook. Dad, thanks for expecting me to be more than I was. I'm going to have to say that your experiment with me in 1995 was a success as evidenced by my impeccable character, flawless judgment and overall charm. It's no surprise that I'm your favorite daughter! Sorry to the rest of my siblings - Dad couldn't cultivate us all for greatness!


Lisa M. said...


Great story.

Neat Dad. *smile*


Torchness said...

To answer your question, I found your blog in a roundabout way. See, I graduated high school with your little brother (go Scots!) and in the course of being Facebook friends he linked to your family's website, and then your Mom at some point linked to yours (I think it was the Caroline post, one of the funniest things ever and I can't believe you're alive after that) and that's how I stumbled on your blog. Your sister might know of my bro, Daniel, because he still goes to HP and is the resident hottie Downs kid. I had to navigate the halls yesterday for pictures, it made me feel REALLY old.

So I'm at SMU for law school. That right there explains why I have a bit more time than your husband did, as Michigan is so hardcore the competition is insane. Also, since I want to be a district attorney I don't sweat as much blood over my grades because I in no uncertain terms want to join a big firm. Okay, I still do study my face off and freaked out when I made law review, but I just make time for other (more important) things. Also, since I am so nosy, I feel I should give something back and allow people to be nosy about me.

Oh and I went to University of Arizona, and my older bro (who graduated with your little sister) lives in San Diego after 2 years in the OC, so I hear the whole LA thing. The traffic must make you nuts, but mmm, In-n-Out...

Kristine said...

What an experience! I am actually felt relief to know that it wasn't a check made out to you. Funny, huh? Thanks for sharing your growth. It's inspiring.

Catherine said...

By the way, Dad took me off the family car insurance for 3 years because after a lady totaled my escort (love old missionary cars) I rear ended someone in the rental car (which I wasn't legally supposed to be driving). Not a pay-back, but it sure hurt. I guess he ended up relaxing a bit because I did manage to eventually escape dodge in the camry and go live in the Virginian woods.

compulsive writer said...

Great story!

(from one responsibly oldest child to another)

And a good reminder to me not to cave when I am much to tired and lack the energy to be as "mean" a mom to my youngest as I was to the oldest.

ngela-aay? said...

sarah, you're a saint! i love the "for" line on the check: sarah's encounter w/ lexus. :)

Stephanie said...

Love your story. Love your family. And the great/weird thing is, I don't even really know them. You're my favorite "show"!

Adrienne said...

Hee... I totally remember that run in with the Lexus. Although... Senior Dance? In 1995? Check your math, yo. You were a senior in 96-97. That, or I'm older than I thought I was.