This particular day in 2006 started out pretty much like any other basic day. I went to work at the opera company, just like I did every weekday. It was early summer, and I had just taken my summer wardrobe off of the shelf and put it in the closet. I remember on this day, I was wearing a favorite pair of sandals, little peek-a-boo toe numbers, lime green, with a small heel. I loved them, but it was always a bit of a trick at the beginning of the season to get myself accustomed to the feel of them.
I believe it was June, and due to our impending summer theatrical season, life at the opera was quite busy on that day. Mid-morning, I left the office to run some errands on the northern end of town. After I was finished with those, I decided that since I was in the neighborhood, I would stop by my favorite bakery (Shaeffer House) for a little treat before heading back to the office.
That was almost certainly a mistake.
In those days, Shaeffer House shared a parking lot with several other businesses, including a Mexican Restaurant, a fabric store, a carpet store, and the local chapter of Weight Watchers. Don’t even get me started on the irony there. Also, the sidewalk between the front door of the bakery and the parking lot was a very short little thing, probably three inches tall, at most.
I pulled into the parking lot and made my way to the bakery, choosing to park right in front of the front door. As I was slowing down to park my trusty and beloved RAV4, somehow my feet started slipping around, and I found the big glass doors (which were encased in an even bigger half-moon of a glass window) looming closer and closer. I panicked, frantically trying to find a way to stop the car, and as I did so, I noticed two girls behind the counter of the bakery, their eyes growing wider and wider as I inched my way to, and then through the glass. A shower of sparkly glass pieces came down, covering the hood of my car, as I finally managed to bring it to a stop.
Immediately, I began a half chant/half prayer. “Please Heavenly Father, let this be a dream!” “Please Heavenly Father, let this be a dream!” Sadly, that prayer was not answered in the way that I had hoped, and as I gingerly opened the door of the car and made my way out, one of the wide-eyed girls met me. Asking me if I was okay, she led me to a table near the back of the bakery, offered me a drink of water, and called the police. I was considerably shaken up, but otherwise completely unharmed. I ascertained that no one else had sustained any damage due to my actions, and tried to calm down, taking deep breaths and sipping my water.
The police officer arrived, took my statement and the statements of the other witnesses, and helped me start my car and back it out of the bakery. (The trusty RAV4 was completely fine, aside from some minor paint damage, and little pieces of glass being stuck in the front windshield wiper area.) He took my insurance information, and let me go on my way, not even giving me a citation.
I got in the car, drove two blocks, and called my insurance agent, a fatherly-type man, who had previously been an ecclesiastical leader of mine, and for whom I had great respect and admiration. He answered the phone, and in a quavering voice (which was embarrassing for sure, because I was all of thirty-five years old at the time, and felt like I shouldn’t be behaving like a little child), explained to him what had happened. Upon learning that I hadn’t been hurt and that no one else had been hurt, he turned to the business at hand, assuring me that he would take care of it. We hung up, and I continued on my way to work.
That’s essentially the end of the story. My insurance company fixed the window, and aside from the psychological damage of having to smile through countless itinerations of, “Charlotte, didn’t you know it wasn’t a drive thru window?” I emerged from the whole experience basically unscathed.
I never entered that building or attempted to park near those windows again. Even when I was “auditioning” wedding cake vendors a year later, I studiously avoided Shaeffer House bakery, choosing to eschew what would certainly have been a deliciously delightful cake for the sake of not having to mentally re-live that experience.
A couple of years ago, it was announced that the building that Shaeffer House leased would be torn down, and so the bakery moved to new digs. They now have a regular-height curb at their front door, no large half-moon windows, and (wait for it . . . ) a drive-through window.
I like to think I had something to do with that.