Every once in a while, when I get after Morgan for questionable behavior, he uses the retort "At least I've never stolen someones windshield wiper off of their car in the middle of a storm."
And I have no argument. It's true. I'm a windshield wiper thief. I'm also the only person I know who has stolen something by accident.
Since Morgan delights in sharing this story with all who will listen, I thought it would be a fun story to blog about.
It was a dark and stormy night. Really, it was. It was raining cats and dogs. Morgan and I were headed over to Pocatello to see a movie. At this point in our relationship, we were still just friends. That's not important to the story, just an extra tidbit I thought I'd throw in.
All of the rain on the drive over made it abundantly clear that my windshield wipers had wiped their last. We got to Pocatello with about half an hour to spare before the movie started, so we decided to run into Walmart to buy some replacement windshield wipers for my car.
We found a parking spot as close to the door as possible, which really wasn't all that close, and ran to the door. Just after we made it in, I realized that I hadn't grabbed one of the old wipers to take in to make sure that I bought the right size. This was before the days of the computer on the wiper aisle that tells you which size to buy for your car; taking in the old wiper saved a lot of time. I dashed back out in the rain, wrenched the driver's side wiper off and ran back into the store. By the time we had purchased new wipers, it was almost time for our movie to start. I decided to drive the two blocks to the theater without using my wipers since we didn't have time to install the new ones before the movie started.
Did I mention that it was pouring sheets of water from the heavens? We had already started driving, though, and since I had pulled the wiper off of the driver's side, I knew that if I turned on my wipers the metal arm would scratch up my windshield. Morgan, however, had forgotten that my car was only half-wipered. In what I would swear was slow motion, he reached over and flipped the "on" switch for the wipers. I said "Nnnooooo!" in that weird, low, slow motion voice as I watch the mechanism move across my windshield with, not a screeeeech as I had expected, but the regular weeeek-weekthud sound that wipers usually make. Morgan and I looked at each other. I gasped and covered my mouth as he burst into laughter. I immediately grasped the entire situation: some poor, innocent soul, who was unfortunate enough to drive the same kind of car as me and park really near to me, had finished up their shopping, sprinted to their car in the pouring rain, started the car, turned on the wipers and heard screeeeeech! most likely accompanied by a lovely scratch across the driver's side of their windshield.
I was mortified. I had never stolen anything in my life. Morgan thought that it was hysterical. He told the people in line at the theater, the ticket attendant, the people we sat by - everyone. He giggled to himself throughout the entire movie. Afterwards, as we installed the new wipers on my car in the parking lot, he told the people that walked by. In retrospect, it was pretty funny, but I felt so bad for the owner of the other car. After we put on my new wipers, I drove back to Walmart on the off chance that the car would still be there. No such luck. I even carried the extra wiper around in the back of my car for months, just hoping that I would see that other car and I could make amends.
Dear Owner of a White Geo Metro,
One evening, sometime around 1997-ish, you went to Walmart and left the store to find your vehicle horribly disfigured. This was not a prank (although, if I didn't have such a hyperactive conscience, you have to admit that it is a pretty great idea for a prank). It was completely accidental. I mean, it was pouring sheets of water from the heavens, as I'm sure you well remember ( ahem-awkward!). You can forgive a girl for not noticing that it wasn't her car she was defiling when all she was trying to do was hurry and get out of the blinding (literally!) rain.
Please contact me via comment on this blog and I will happily return your wiper to you.
The Accidental Thief