I was involved in a fender bender the other night. No air bags inflated and no one was hurt. But the left front fender of my car is a dented, ugly mess and will remain so until I hear from the insurance adjuster. I do hope he calls soon, because my poor car, while drivable, is very self-conscious.

The accident was not my fault. No, really, it wasn’t. I was hit by the other driver who neglected to obey a “Yield” sign, resulting in two bodies in motion that remained in motion. That’s how we happened to be competing cars in a traffic circle. After we crawled our way to the shoulder of the road, the driver of the other car, who was male, by the way, admitted without hesitation that I had the right of way. And my supportive husband only barely hinted at the possibility that I might have done something wrong. So it was clear when the police officers arrived that, by all accounts, I was the victim here.

I know a Yield sign can be confusing. It’s certainly less demanding than a STOP sign. Could be that’s the problem. It’s too demure. Perhaps the word Yield should be followed by an expletive!

And that’s how four strangers happened to wind up in the same place at the same time. I know the driver of the other car and his wife were on their way to a holiday party. By coincidence, so were we. As it happens, it was not the same party, although that might have made an even better story.

Since our exchange of insurance information didn’t require that I ask how he happened to choose the tie he was wearing, I can’t say that I’m privy to any information about said couple prior to our encounter. However, what occurred in the privacy of our bedroom before heading out for our soiree is obviously known to me, and very relevant to the circumstances that followed.

We were going to one of those black-tie optional affairs. I hate that. It requires too many sartorial decisions, which, regarding the accident, were probably causative factors. Dark suit or tuxedo? Suspenders or belt? Studs or buttons? Bow tie or neck tie? And then there were my husband’s decisions. (Just kidding!)

I had already showered, assaulted my hair with the blow dryer, and was getting ready to apply my make-up, when I happened to take notice of my finger nails. There was nothing remarkable about my finger nails. They were, in fact, in their usual naked state, their owner having little to no patience for waiting for polish to dry.

Since this was a special evening, the thought occurred that a little color might be nice for the occasion. I had just finished applying a coat of dry-in-a-New York-minute polish to my right hand, when my husband required my attention. Laying down the little brush, I dutifully rendered my expert opinion regarding the better of two white dress shirts, and which pair of black shoes best complimented his pants, tuxedo or otherwise. The critical decisions having been made, I returned to my own “toilette,” applied my makeup, and got dressed. Outside opinions were not required.

We kissed the dog good bye, got in the car, and began the drive (I was driving) to our destination. A few short minutes into the journey, I received a flash from the proverbial light bulb. With all that mental energy expended on shoes and shirts, I had neglected to apply nail polish to my left hand.

“I have to go back home,” I announced.
“Why, what’s wrong?”
“I forgot to polish the nails on my left hand. I simply cannot show up in this unfinished state!”
“No one will notice,” said he.
“Of course they will,” I replied. I can’t keep my left hand in my pocket for the entire evening. Besides, my dress doesn’t even have a pocket. And gloves don’t go with my outfit.”
“So tell everyone it’s the latest style. Or, you’re becoming forgetful and that’s how you remember which hand is which.”

After a few more useful suggestions, such as the ones above, I agreed not to go home, and continued driving towards the traffic circle. You know the rest.

But what if we could roll back the cameras and create an alternate ending to this sad little tale? When presented with the information about my five naked fingernails, my husband immediately recognized the seriousness of this grooming faux pas, and definitively agreed that I must turn the car around, and rectify the blunder.

Clearly, the minutes it would have taken to return home, apply a coat of quick-dry polish to my left hand, get back into the car and resume the trip, would have avoided the man in the traffic circle who did not yield, and said accident might never have occurred.

That’s why, when the officer questioned me about who was to blame for the crash, I pointed to the man sitting next to me in the passenger seat, and said “he is.”

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