--Stupid Car, Radiohead
According to some no name, unverified and likely sham website, about 6 million car accidents happen on American roads every year. It seems like it could be true. considering how many cars are on the road coupled with all the things that could happen in order to cause a car accident I'm a bit surprised that it isn't more. Seeing as this site is also unverified and the fact that I'm lately falling out of love with chosen profession of librarianship, let's bump that number up to 6.5 million, just because we can. Yeah so yesterday, I was involved in one of the 6.5 million car accidents this year. No one got hurt. Also, I feel the need to repeatedly acknowledge that fact since every conversation I have had since this incident has been punctuated with that phrase. I feel two things about that: 1) I am grateful no one got hurt, I truly am and I feel a compulsion to state it over and over again, lest I anger the Fates and 2) It still fucking sucks to get in even minor accidents, despite that fact that no one is hurt.
|This has been my #1 favorite horrible book cover since I started paying attention to book covers.
It had to happen at some point. I was late getting into the game of driving. I didn't get my license until I was 28 years old making this accident inevitable. Let's make up something else; we'll call it the 9 year itch wherein the probability of you having a car accident increases after every 9 years has past. It is fun to make things up. Especially when no one gets hurt in the accident.
Basically a week ago today, it was pissing rain because apparently that is New York's weather modus operandus for the month of June. I wish I could pinpoint a reason why I broke so late when the van in front of me slowed down in order to make a right turn: I was sifting through my iPod, I was on the phone, I was fiddling with the air conditioner but I cannot say any of those untruths. I simply hit the brakes too late and I rearended his driver side bumper. In what can only be called a gift from the fates (see how I give you mad props in my blog, the Fates? be nice to me!), the damage was minimal (so I thought), neither of us was hurt (though you would not have been able to tell what with the way I was trembling) and the guy was super nice (he was more peeved about dropping his sunglasses when he got out of his van than he was about the fact that I dented his fender.) Also nice was the police officer that came to make the accident report. Any one of those variables could have been quite different and had they been, my shaking would have become convulsing. Also, no one was hurt in the accident.
Since I was able to drive the rest of the way to work with the damage that was done, I suppose I just imagined that the car could be repaired; my faith in my stalwart little Elantra remained steadfast. After a very long day, including a stop at a rental car palace that had only one very large SUV for me to drive, I slept peacefully in the knowledge that there are still nice people in the world and that, as accidents go, my very first one was minor and everything could be fixed. Also, no one was hurt in the accident. It was clearly out of the Fisher Price edition of "My Very First Fender Bender!"
|Art work by Dana Jean M.
And despite the fact that I did not carry insurance for a rental car, despite the fact that my mother had the previous week gotten into an accident herself, rendering no cars for me to borrow, despite the fact that the absolute very last thing I needed at this time and place in my life was one more expense, I had some optimism that the minor problems would be rectified and I and my little Poindexter (yes, that was his name lo these past five years) would ride off into the sunset with his old familiar squeaky brakes and my old familiar singalongs to hastily composed playlists. And no one will have been hurt in the accident.
The car I had been given to rent was a massive SUV, so large that it had a rear camera that would play the movie of backing up everytime the car was put into reverse. It was a car that, according to my very scientific calculations, gets about 1/8 miles to the gallon, highway, and that was taller than me by about a foot. I hated the rental car. It also had a vague scent of smoke and so help me god if the rental place tries to pin that on me, I'm going to use the reverse camera to back up into their storefront. (No, not really but something about driving a large SUV does strange, macho things to my brain.) Also, I am still annoyed that the rental agent said things like "100 percent" when it wasn't really germane to the conversation. For example:
Rental Agent: So what do you do for a living?
Me: I'm a librarian
RA: That sounds fun.
Me: It has its moments.
RA: 100 percent.
See? Annoying right? (The irony is that an acceptable response to that is actually "100 percent!")
Though my insurance did not cover the cost of the rental I did receive a deep discount. And by "deep discount" I mean, "I am still spending hundreds of dollars for the privilege of driving a car I hate in addition to filling up a gas tank that costs me $60 each time." But when I put these things into perspective, at least no one was hurt in the accident. Still, annoying. One might even say 100 percent annoying.
So a few days go by and I await the insurance adjustor's call coming through like a nice hot cup of camomile tea, its reassuring comfort washing over me, leaving the warm knowledge that even though the front part of Poindexter was a bit smashed, he would be ok and at least no one got hurt. And then I waited another day and another one and another one, all the while I imagined that rental agent saying "100 percent" over and over again as she pressed the buttons on a cash register. I don't know why. I finally called my insurance company who put me in touch with my adjustor who said he would call and didn't. It was like my last date. Only without the excellent beard.
Finally on the fourth day he called. He said that the car had been deemed a "total loss" and that I would get a check for the value of the car. I suppose I didn't really understand it right away because when I called my mother shortly after hanging up and she asked "when do you want to go car shopping?" I was very confused. Why would I need to go car shopping? Yeah, I'm kind of dumb. But HEY at least no one was hurt in the accident!!
Anyway, the long and the short of it is that what started out as a very minor accident (in which no one got hurt) did enough damage to Poindexter to render him useless. Whatever his sentimental charms, he just wasn't worth much in the end. I was thinking of putting that on his gravestone. And then I quickly remembered that "he" was a car and that maybe I need to go out more often. Last Friday I had to make my way to the auto shop to clear out my things. Two observations about that: 1) It was depressing. I get attached to things sometimes and 2) I had a lot of fucking shit in that car that could have been thrown out in 2008. At least three times I said out loud, to the amusement of the mechanic helping me, "I totally forgot about this." This was often a mix tap of Morrissey songs or a coupon for a free hot dog at Nathan's. Also, I had at least five maxi pads in the glove compartment. Maybe I thought someday I'd end up living out of that car? I don't know. I don't care. It is all so terribly, unexpectedly smushed in moot now. RIP Poindexter. You were too good for this world.
Coming up: At Least No One Got Hurt 2: The Car Shop