I recently had a fender bender in my car – something that hasn’t happened since I was 16 years old. And, much like breaking up with my first girlfriend way back then, I’d forgotten that wrecking my car is also a real pain in the ass.
I’m not much of a car fanatic. I keep my cars much longer than the average person because as soon as I get used to a car I tend to fall in love with it. The way drives and knowing what to expect from it becomes a comforting part of my daily life, much like a girlfriend I guess you could say. And, I don’t tend to trade them in that often – only when we’ve both gotten tired of each other. Ha!
Anyway, after nine years of driving a Nissan Frontier pick up truck, about a year ago I got together with my latest passion – a 2005 Toyota 4-Runner. Unlike the stripped down Frontier, the 4-Runner has it all – leather, sunroof, 8-cyclendar, iPod hook up, 4-wheel drive, and electric locks even. Since it’s become mine, I have grown accustomed to its comfortable ride and smooth acceleration. In fact, I’ve fallen in love with my car, much like the Frontier during our time together. Now, I’m not doing anything kinky with the tailpipe, but you must admit that once you’ve fallen in love with a car, it’s hard to think about driving anything else.
Unlike the girls I date, with whom I try and experience new and different places normally “off the grid” for me, I tend to take my car to the same old haunts in the same old fishbowl of downtown. Therefore the routes and traffic have become so familiar that I sometimes take them for granted. You get a little lazier at the stop signs, roll through the hood with confidence and ease because, after all, you’ve passed over the same pavement time and time again.
They say that most traffic accidents occur close to home. In my case, I could see my house from the crash site. It happened on the corner of Cowart and Main during rush hour traffic. Main Street always poses a “Frogger” type of situation for those of us trying to dart across the cross street intersections. And now that cars are parked all up and down Main – right up to the corners – it’s even more annoying to anticipate the exact moment to hop across the street. I’ve done it a million times, nearly ten times a day, but this time – WHAM!
Some sort of Chrysler sedan plowed into me at the alarming speed of 5 miles per hour – luckily not even fast enough to deploy airbags. Everyone was okay – the only real injuries being the pain in the ass getting our cars fixed and a court appearance would soon inflict. It was my fault I knew, failure to yield the right of way. In addition to my driver’s door she hit my wheel, so there was some suspension damage that’s rendered my ride virtually undrivable for the time being.
I hobbled it the two blocks home and walked another two blocks over to the closest rental car place. Rental cars are like the whores of transportation. You don’t know where they’ve been or who’s been driving them so they’re dirty in ways that don’t wash off. At best they’re like rebound relationships, you don’t always get the one you want, just one that’ll do for now.
They gave me a Mazda sedan. A nice enough car but compared to my beloved 4 Runner, to me it was like the female equivalent of a cocktail waitress on an oil tanker.
The same night of my accident the girl I was seeing at the time also decided to wreck our ride together. I’m still trying to figure out which is worse – a damaged car or a broken up relationship. I do know this however, my trusty 4 Runner will be back in a week or so – good as new.