To the professor whose car I bumped this summer: 

I apologize, deeply and sincerely. As you probably know, your car was beautiful, and I hope it’s all fixed now. I also hope you don’t remember my name, my face, or anything remotely relevant to my existence. Because, shortly after bumping into your car, I learned that you teach a course in MB&B. And I am, in fact, an MB&B major. So please — even if you do remember me, try to forget me. Try to totally and completely erase me from your memory so that if we ever happen to meet again, we can start over and I can be someone other than that crazy immature girl who bumped into your glorious Tesla. 

To all the rest of you who want to get a good laugh out of my summer sob story: 

I’ll start by saying that everyone is okay. No one got hurt. Thank you for the concern. 

It happened in the parking lot. That’s right. I wasn’t even cool enough to bump into his car on the road. 

Regardless, it was a Tuesday afternoon, and I was just leaving the Yale Science Building after a day at the lab. I was slightly caffeinated, more-than-slightly hungry, and extremely ready to get home. So, as expected, I backed out too quickly and bumped into that sparkling silver Tesla parked next to me. 

I spent the next few hours waiting for the Tesla owner. I sat in my car (which — by this point — had a ginormous dent in the front and several very noticeable scratches on the side), and prayed that the Tesla didn’t belong to my boss or to any of my coworkers. Because, although they’re all extremely friendly and relatively forgiving, I didn’t want to be pegged as that one dumb undergrad who goes around bumping people’s Teslas. 

But perhaps I was that one dumb undergrad who goes around bumping people’s Teslas. Perhaps all this time, I’d been trying — and ultimately failing — to be an adult when in reality, I was still just a kid, just a kid who drinks too much coffee and likes to get home quickly after work and accidentally happens to bump into a Tesla. Because kids make mistakes. 

And so, I stayed sitting in my car, slouched in the driver’s seat, picking at my fingernails and praying that the Tesla owner would be some random stranger who had absolutely no relationship to me or to Yale or to anything remotely relevant to my life. 

My prayers were not answered. 

The professor walked out nearly an hour later, and the look on his face said it all. That Tesla was his baby. And I had just bumped into his baby. He tried to hide his disappointment. In fact, he even tried to make small talk, asking me about my major and my research. I think he even tried to make a joke, to clear the air, lighten things up. But I knew that inside, he was crushed. I appreciated the effort, though. 

The next morning, I bought him a box of chocolates. It was my sad, cheap apology for bumping into his wonderful, expensive car. He wasn’t in the office that day. Thank goodness. I didn’t particularly want to see him again. It’s nothing personal against him; he seemed to be a lovely guy, but I wouldn’t really know what to say. There are, in fact, only limited things you can possibly say after bumping a Yale professor’s Tesla. So I left the chocolates outside his door with a small apology note taped to the box, written on a piece of scrap paper with my barely-functioning pink pen. It was pathetic. But I hope he enjoyed the chocolates. 

To the professor whose car I bumped this summer: 

If you’re reading this now, I hope you’re smiling. And, for the record, I’m glad you were the car owner, because you seemed like a great guy. Maybe someday, after you’ve completely erased all memories of me, we can meet again and talk about MB&B or research or Teslas. 

To all the rest of you who want to get a good laugh out of my summer sob story: 

When you’re backing out of a parking lot, back straight out first. Then turn. Don’t turn too soon. And, don’t park next to a Tesla. Trust me — it feels much worse when it’s a Tesla.