The day began innocently enough.
A lazy Saturday morning of sleeping in just a *little* too long. Slowly waking up and getting myself dressed.
As I drove to a friend’s house for a hair appointment, I had no idea that this would be the last time I would drive my beloved little blue Accent.
But it was.
My friend lives in the very populated city of Long Beach and parking is at a premium around her apartment. There are often spaces right in front of her building, but with a two-hour maximum and our hair sessions usually last much longer than that because of all the visiting and catching up in between coloring and cutting and de-hairifying my face.
So I didn’t park in the two-hour parking in front of her building.
Instead, I opted for a side street, taking a space that only my Smurfette was small enough to occupy, on the corner, between another parked car and a red zone.
Two hours and fifteen minutes later, I walked back down the street to discover this:
A yellow post-it note had been stuck to the driver’s side window and flapped innocently in the breeze.
I walked around and around the car, eventually discovering a document from the Police Department stuck under a windshield wiper.
I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t speak. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t breathe.
The only thought that kept running through my head (and this is probably the ONLY time this word will ever appear on my blog and I apologize in advance), was:
I know. I’m sorry.
I just stared.
A window opened on the second floor of the apartment building across the street. A woman called out, “The guy had a seizure! Hit three cars and had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance!” I asked if she had seen it happen and she said no, she heard it and then came outside when the cops showed up.
I wasn’t sure whether to call the police or my insurance company, but I figured the police had probably done all they were planning to do by leaving the police report number on my windshield and called State Farm instead.
As soon as someone answered the phone, the tears started. I completely melted down, trying through sobs to explain that my car had been in an accident and that was all that I knew. The agent on the other end of the line was awesome. Her name was Michelle and she quickly calmed me down and got the process started to get a tow truck en route.
Once towing was dispatched, she started the work of hooking me up with a rental car because, thankfully, I didn’t decline that option.
NEVER DECLINE THAT OPTION.
A tow truck driver showed up, but he wasn’t the one State Farm had dispatched, so I sent him on his way, but not before he told me he had towed away two other cars including the one that hit me and that the guy had gone to the hospital and had nearly hit a pedestrian.
He left and I continued with Michelle setting up the car rental. We finished up and she gave me my claim number, Claims Agent’s name and some other important info and then I asked to speak with her supervisor because I wanted to tell him how wonderful she had been. I spent way too many years in call centers and I know the supervisors don’t get to hear the compliments nearly as often as the complaints, and I wanted to make sure Michelle got some accolades for her awesomeness.
Then I sent a quick text to my friend to let her know my car had been hit and that I had spent the past thirty minutes on the phone with my insurance company. She came rushing out and wanted to know why I hadn’t come back to her apartment.
And then this drunk guy, who turned out to be Jesse, strolled past and told me that the guy hadn’t been taken away in no ambulance. He got arrested and was probably drunk. That he hit one car and then almost hit a pedestrian and then hit me and his girlfriend showed up trying to claim he’d had a seizure.
(Jesse also kept insisting that I call some buddy of his who happens to be an attorney and would make sure I get a fair settlement from the insurance company.)
He finally left and my friend and I stood there, staring at the wreckage. She kept apologizing over and over and I kept reminding her that it wasn’t even a little bit her fault, and we marveled that we had been less than a block away and had heard nothing.
The tow truck showed up and the driver informed me that my body shop had closed at noon. It was now past two. He said he’d just take it to their yard and my insurance company could send an adjuster there to take a look at it. “Because, I tell you right now, this car’s totaled.”
I already knew that. I knew it the moment I happened upon the scene.
So now I’m in a rental car and waiting for the final death pronouncement from the insurance adjuster, which I’m told will probably come sometime tomorrow.
I’m also waiting for the police report so that I can find out what the hell actually happened so that I know whether I’m allowed to be mad at the guy or not.
In the meantime, I wait. Wait and feel sad and start the search for my next car. A depressing prospect that I approach with a certain degree of dread and resignation, rather than with the excitement and promise of something new.
Because I love my car.
I miss my car.