The same thing happened when I was sixteen.
My dad handed down his Merkur XR4Ti (yes, it had a double spoiler), and the day after I earned my license I smashed into the back of a Cadillac. It was piloted by an elderly couple on their way from Florida to Chicago to see their only granddaughter’s high school graduation. They yelled at me, but good. Old people suck.
This time it wasn’t my fault.
I was heading home from a fantastic evening with the woman I’m seeing. We had been to a musical and, on the way home had missed our exit, ending up about a dozen blocks south of where we were supposed to be. As I drove into an intersection a car traveling the other direction decided to turn just left in front of me. He was supposed to yield to my car, naturally. He did not. I slammed into him at a pretty solid clip. Well over twenty miles an hour. I think I had time to jump on the brakes but I’m not sure.
Strangely, I wasn’t afraid in the seconds before the crash. I felt an immediate adrenaline rush as the two cars became one. It didn’t feel, however, that we were ever in danger. We collided and my hood crumpled. Mind you I drive a huge old lady car. A 1999 Jaguar XJ8 that my parents were nice enough to gift. It’s a tank. But now it was smashed to shit.
His vehicle went spinning across the intersection and ended up about thirty feet from mine. I checked to make sure Beth was okay (she was), and I got out of the car. I yelled over to the guy, “Hey, I had the green light!” He yelled back something unintelligible. I was angry. The red dissipated immediately as I realized the experience was over. My car was fucked. So was his. That made me feel a little better.
Thankfully a cop had been cruising by at the same time and pulled over. That started the lengthy and boring process of waiting for the police report. The fuzz talked with me for a minute asking what had happened. It was clear that the fault lay with the other driver.
A slimy pickup truck operator had been listening to the police scanner’s accident channel and showed up within minutes. He eventually won the business of the other driver. The cop told me not to use a private tow service as my insurance has their own vendors. I was on the phone with the insurance company for about thirty minutes and then their roadside assistance team.
During much of this time Beth was trapped inside the front-passenger seat. The side panel had crumpled back and blocked the door’s ability to open. She eventually slid out and bullshitted with the cops and tow jockey. She stayed faithfully there and kept me in good spirits. It would have been easy to steal away into a cab, but she didn’t. That’s a good woman.
The other driver was cited for failure to yield and then the cops left the scene. We were alone again, waiting on the tow. Thirty minutes went by, and since it was a little chilly we huddled into the backseat. It was kind of romantic in a weird way. It felt like we were far away from the accident and we snuggled up. She kept me calm.
There was one problem when the tow truck arrived.
I had a big purple vibrator in my trunk. Oh, and six packages of lube. The fine people at Trojan had loaded me up at the BlogHer conference a few months back. I always take free stuff, but I never knew what to do with any of these particular goods. At the time I had deposited it into the trunk and never again moved the contraband. The tow truck driver asked if I had any personal belongings I’d like to take with me.
He had a garbage bag in his truck and I filled it with marital aides. In the trunk search I also found two non-alcoholic beers floating around. Took them with me, too.
At the end of the day nobody was injured and it’s just a car that was provided to me free of charge by my parents. While I didn’t expect to shell out god-knows-how-many-thousands on a new car this year, I am an adult. Most of us buy our vehicles like big boys and girls.
However, if any of you want to donate a luxury vehicle I will seriously consider flying out to your location, treating you to a fine steak chop, taking one photo where we’re shaking hands, and drive the car back to it’s new home. I mean, I did spend my money developing the ThoughtsFromParis Apple and Android app. You owe me.