Monday, September 12, 2005

When was the last time you did something really stupid?

Like really stupid? Not like locking yourself out of the house stupid, but like locking yourself out of the house with no clothes stupid.

Today I went out on deliveries for my work. We have a BIG HONKIN' Chevy van. Seriously. It makes a Jeep Cherokee look small in comparison.

I've had my share of mishaps in this ride. Cutting corners too close - WHACK, dent in door. Misjudging distance from light pole - SCRAPE, scrape in side. Needless to say, I suxxors at driving this van.

Recently, however, I've been driving this van like Mario Andretti (minus the speed). I've gotten quite confident with the dimensions and haven't been having any issues. Until today.

My first few deliveries went without a hitch. Smooth. Then I went to a building downtown, where sometimes, if I'm lucky, I can park on the sidewalk at the front door to Load/Unload for a few minutes. No such luck today. But I know there's a parking garage around back where I can do my thing.

I go around back and negotiate the tight corner (90 degrees) to get in the garage. Up above is the obligatory "CLEARANCE 6'6"" sign.

My van regularly clears a 6'4" overhang without problems, so I figured I'd be fine.

Actually, not so fine.

I punched the ticket to open the gate and slooooowly drove in. I figured there'd be a bit of scraping, but not right at the Clearance sign. When I lifted that sign 2" with the roof of the van, I should've backed out.

But no.

I wanted to park in the garage so I wouldn't get a ticket on the street or in an illegal spot. *smacks forehead*

I continued pulling in with various scrapes and scronks, and then a loud CRACK. I jumped out and saw that I had scraped the roof of the van on a sprinkler head and pulled off a plastic molding over the rear doors.

I stood there a minute pondering my next move. I wasn't really blocking traffic, but I was in the middle of a parking garage, wedged in. I had no one with me and there was no one around to help.

So I tried backing out. I went slowly but didn't get 2 feet before I heard another crack, and then the unmistakable sound of GALLONS AND GALLONS of water spraying from the now broken sprinkler head.

F*CK.

And then, the unmistakable BEEEEEP BEEEEP sound of the fire alarm.

DOUBLE F*CK.

I didn't know what to do. I tried to let the air out of a tire to see if I could lower the van, but that was in vain. All I did was get wet. I ran upstairs to see if there was a building office where they could at least shut off the water. There was none. So I went back down the stairs, but had to fight the hordes of people evacuating the building.

/faints

I hung around the van and waited. Talked to a few people. They knew I did it but were very civil and kind to me. Eventually I heard sirens and knew the FD was on its way. All for stupid ol' me. And luckily it was only a 4 story building. I can only imagine if I did this at the Columbia Tower (76 stories!).

So the FD showed up and got the water turned off. We piled 4-5 firefighters in the van, lowering it, and slowly backed the van out. I did end up speaking with a building maintenance guy and he took my info. Turns out there was no damage to the sprinkler system other than the broken head. They replaced it and it was fine. My van has worse damage than the building.

I think I'm banned from driving that van for the next few days...