When I contemplate my journey of life on this Earth, I know I am generally quite fortunate because I seem to be blessed with happy endings on stories that could have had the worst outcome possible.
You may have heard or read about my laptop incident at Montréal International Airport (YUL). You may also be aware that I have a serious addiction to chocolate. Also, you may have noticed on my Instagram account that I am somewhat obsessed with Jazz, my MINI John Cooper Works.
If you know me, you will also know that I am rather lazy, a trait that I masterly showcase as efficiency. If you REALLY know me, you may also know that I am the world’s most paranoid person who trusts nothing, only a few people, and am always on the lookout for worse case scenarios. And yet I travel in the most dangerous places on Earth without any concern for my safety, which is another story that will get its own article one day, if I make it till then.
And if you did not know any of that, you are now up to speed and I can proceed with my crazy story.
This is a tale of how chocolate, laziness and paranoia conspired to spare my cherished MINI from a crushing experience, literally.
Let’s start at the beginning.
You do remember that last month, I was in Switzerland as part of my little European tour. I don’t want to use the word mini when describing my tour in EU as you may think that I was on tour with my MINI, the car, right? You can read all about this trip here: Ireland, England & Switzerland in 10 Days!
You may also remember that on that trip, I got my first streak of luck when my laptop got stolen at the airport while I was clearing security, then it was found less than half an hour, only minutes before my flight’s departure to London?
Well, while in Switzerland, I decided to buy some gifts for special people. Not friends or family as one usually does but for people whose professional and personal help had been pivotal to my two-week trip to Europe. Such people included someone who gave me a ride to the airport, the person who designed my promotional flyers and I also decided to buy chocolate for my MINI mechanic for the wonderful extra effort he puts into making sure that when I travel by car, I can get to my destination smoothly, stylishly and above all, safely.
This is the box of chocolate that I bought for him. The day I got back to Montréal, I put it in my boot (boot = trunk for American English readers) to kill two birds with one stone: 1) to be able to drop it off to him whenever I would drive by his garage which is in an area that I seldom go to but one never knows, and 2) so that I am not tempted to open the box and eat all its content once my personal chocolate stash was done.
For two weeks, the chocolate stayed in the car because I got busy with gigs and he went on holidays.
On Sunday, when I got home after going to the cinema with two friends, I parked my car but remembered that the weather channel had said that the following day would have temperatures “soar” above 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) as Spring had at last decided to… spring? sprung? err, show up. I knew that at such a forecast and in a closed car boot, the chocolate would undoubtedly melt as opposed to the previous 14 days when temperatures were below freezing level.
I got out of the car and tried to get to the back to open the boot but the tree was in my way. Never mind that the tree is stationary and technically, I am the one who put myself in its way, ok?! Instead of going around it, laziness kicked in and I got back into the MINI, started it and rode the clutch for the car to roll forward and allow a gap between the boot and the tree for me to sneak my slim body into. “Anyway,” I told myself “I was too close to this tree and what if it crashes my car?” That was my paranoia kicking in.
To understand why this tree made me nervous, I have to share a photo taken a few months earlier while I was parked in the same spot. I had taken that photo to tell a friend of mine how devastated I would be if that tree fell and crushed my car since that day was rather windy and we were joking about it. Actually, my friend was joking but I was truly concerned, which is why the MINI was close yet far!
And no, I was not stalking those two ladies! Notice the cones? A tree had been cut that same day for fear of falling. Which is good because it would have crushed itself on the house I live in, right into my bed.
Back to my story.
Monday came and went. Yes, it was the warmest day of 2014 so far as properly predicted by the weather people. I did not get out of the house so did not move the car. Mondays, I usually stay at home in my PJs enjoying my “weekend” since DJs live life on a different beat (pun intended!). Nothing exciting happened in my life that day so I have nothing to report.
There are people in Québec who had a more exciting day than mine though. Unfortunately for them (but certainly not for their rivals) not in the way they had hoped. I am particularly thinking of a specific individual who called provincial elections vying for a majority government and instead got the party in power that they led ousted and to add insult to injury, this particular person lost their seat in parliament because they were beaten in their own electoral district.
As a DJ, I understand this politician’s pain since sometimes, I too make misguided decisions such as playing a track and expecting the audience to jump and roar in frenzy. To my dismay, and only for that record, they clear the dance floor, storm towards the bar or the coat check to leave the club! Luckily for me, I can always redeem myself with the next transition but this politician did not have even stand a chance for a second try since team members were already circling over the now vacant leadership position.
Tuesday was a rainy and windy day. Nothing out of the ordinary though. In the late afternoon, I had lunch and decided to take a nap before going to a friend’s concert at 8pm. I closed my blinds so that I could sleep, looked outside the window at the grey sky and hoped for a sunny Wednesday.
While I was replying to some text messages before falling asleep, I heard the main door opening and my guest rushing upstairs. I thought he needed the bathroom urgently hence the sprint. I could annoyingly hear that he still had his shoes on. In my house, you take off your shoes. Be warned! But then he knocked at my door and stormed in, two things that are out of character for him since the whole world knows better than to make noise when I am asleep. Do I sound like a tyrant yet?!
“Did you see what happened to your car?! You are lucky!” he asked with a feverish laugh.
“What are you talking about?” I replied, wondering what the fuss was all about especially since I was looking forward to my nap. At the same time, I was getting out of bed to open the blinds and see what was going on.
While I was looking at the crazy scene, he said “You are so fortunate! You should play the lottery right away!”
I was not paying attention to him anymore. I put my shoes on as quickly as possible and ran outside the house to see what was going on. Notice the “shoe rule” hypocrisy but hey, there was some urgency in this situation.
The tree which turned out to have been dead for a while, had fallen and missed my car by 30 centimetres (12 inches, if I am not mistaken) and had crushed two cars. On my MINI? Not even a scratch.
Let me take a small break and let my poor typing fingers rest while you see for yourself the close shave in the images below!
How close was that?!
Especially given the fact that car behind mine got its front damaged while the car on the other side of the street was completely destroyed and had to be towed, or more accurately, transported away.
Fortunately for the owner of that totalled car, the City of Montréal will cover the cost. At least that’s what the law enforcement officer on the scene told me, who was there to cordon off the perimeter and redirect traffic.
Had serious damage happened to my car, the City would have not paid for a new one; my car is only eight months old and has lost a lot of its value since I have put so much mileage on it from all my cross-Canada and USA road trips. For those who are curious, I drove 12,000 km in the first four months alone!
But how in the world did a GIANT tree fall in the span of ten minutes from the time I closed my blinds to being told to look outside, all while hearing nothing at all?
What they say is true: If a tree falls and one sees it, it does not make a noise!
As you will notice, that tree was an accident waiting to happen. It had been dead since forever and you can even see that the sidewalk had started to shift.
Fortunately, no passing car was crushed. This road is pretty busy during rush hour since it is a shortcut toward the bridge that links people to the suburbs outside Montreal. That tree could have killed someone!
Needless to say I could not take a nap nor attend the concert. I had to wait for the telephone poles that the tree had knocked down to be removed before I could move my vehicle. I also had to inspect my car for hidden damage, something I never achieved. By the time city employees came to clear the road, it was dark so I will survey possible damage in the morning.
I am so grateful that nothing happened to my car and that it did not happen while I was in it. No one got hurt and that is truly a miracle. The people who lost their cars will be compensated by the city so they will be fine eventually (12 hours later, one car owner has not showed up yet so he or she does not even know what happened. Hopefully, when the person notices the missing tree and damaged car, it will make sense.
When I shared the story on Facebook, most people either told me to buy a lottery ticket while I still had a lucky streak or privately messaged me to advise me to seek some sort of compensation from the City. I will do neither and just thank God for His mercy. I don’t deserve this good fortune but He chose to bless me today and I am grateful for that.
On the other hand, I feel a little bit vindicated; my friends always laugh at me when I tell them that I hate parking next to trees because they can fall.
Moral of the story for all fellow paranoid people out there: The fear is founded!
In the morning, I woke up and calmly went to park my car where the crushed one had been the evening before. I felt bad a little but an open parking spot is an open parking spot, especially when they are scarce, right? And now I don’t even have to worry about a falling tree! Unfortunately, the owner of the other damaged car still seems to have no idea what has happened.
I hope this day brings no surprises. I like excitement, but in healthy doses!
Thanks for reading and thank you, Swiss chocolate, for saving my MINI, you were delicious when I ate you after two weeks of trying my best. I blame it on the emotional state I was in when all this happened! Can you blame me?