Archive for Monday, March 5, 2012


River City Jules: It could always be worse

March 5, 2012


It was a beautiful, sunny day. Not a cloud hovered as I sat outside and knocked out my to-do list from the back deck.

So invigorating was the day that I did not complain a bit when I had to get into my car and run an errand.

The fresh air blew through the sunroof of my minivan while Bon Jovi rocked from the speakers.

Just a block from home, though, I suddenly heard a noise as a curb, from out of nowhere, forced itself under my wheels, pulling me to the right with such a ruckus, I thought a gun had fired.


I expertly navigated the car off the curb and into safety, because, in spite of this incident, I am an excellent driver.

I got out of the car and surveyed the damage. Not a scratch on the body of the car; however, both passenger-side tires had popped beyond use or recognition, an oily liquid leaked from under the front of the car and a small puppy across the street cowered in fear.

It was a crappy, awful day.

A single, dark cloud hung directly overhead as the kind, nonjudgmental yet nonoptimistic man from AAA loaded my car onto the tow truck while I stood on the street corner with my daughter’s upright bass and waited for a ride.

Back at home, I canceled my daughter’s bass lesson for the day, my self-esteem in the gutter due to my own stupidity, when a man and his two sons appeared at my door with an iPad they had found on the street. He said he was from out of town and asked if I might be able to find the owner.

I agreed to take on the task. After all, I couldn’t do anything about my car, but maybe I could set this iPad owner’s world right by returning it.

The screen was badly cracked, but the iPad still functioned. Unfortunately it was password-protected, and the front screen offered few clues.

I followed a possible Facebook lead, but it is hard to send a message to a stranger about handing over a free iPad without sounding like a scam.

I sent an email to neighbors, but no one seemed to be short an iPad.

Taking another look at the device, I tapped the slideshow icon to see if I might recognize anyone.

The first photo faded in, one of a man I did not know, bending over at the waist, presumably to get a better view of the television in front of him. He was wearing a T-shirt.

And that’s all.

And again, it was a beautiful, sunny day as I quickly understood there was at least one person having a worse day than I was, and he did not even know it. Yet.

For though my car may have been incapacitated and a repair bill awaited, at least I could go to sleep that night knowing that, unlike his, my backside was covered.

— Julie Dunlap can be reached at


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