Crazy B*tch (Memoirs of a Lemon Lover In Recovery)
Chapter 35—A Total Loss—Happy Birthday.
There was a brief reprieve in my gold car’s collisions. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of repairs. They were steadily building, but they were still manageable in terms of both time and money. To my perception, things were no where near as bad as they were back in the days of the shiny blue car.
The reprieve in collisions was a breath of spring. There was so much promise of new beginnings and no more collisions. One beautiful bright and sunny day, I was so enamoured by the reprieve that my friend and I decided to go out for an ice cream cone. I drove to my friend’s place, parked my car in front of her house, and then we walked to the ice cream shop close to her home. Throughout the whole walk and ice cream cone my friend launched a hard sell—it was time to sell my car. No matter how many times I tried to take the conversation in a different direction, she brought back to the hard sell. My brakes were going, by exhaust needed repair, my suspension squeaked…how much more money was I willing to sink into this car? How safe was this car?
My friend was relentless. To her mind, my car was nickel and diming me to death, moreover, it was no longer the safe and sound car it once was. I, of course, didn’t see it that way. She wouldn’t hear any of my defences. After a while, I was getting pretty tired of my own arguments. I was tired, and this conversation was doing nothing to invigorate me. The breath of Spring was getting very chilly very quickly. I loved my friend, but she was crossing the line. How dare she go on that way about my car! When it came to cars, the only clue she had was what ever random, econo-mart garage mechanic told her. She was as far from expert advice as anyone could be, and yet here she was spewing all kinds of judgements and trampling all over all kinds of boundaries. I was starting to get really angry, and true to my new form, I could feel the tears eeking their way up to my eye lids. Dammit! I really hated exploring this new sensitive side of me!
I decided to just stop talking, if I didn’t answer back, perhaps this conversation would come to its end. Not talking also had the added bonus of the reduced risk of crying. My friend really misunderstood my silence. She thought I was listening intently and prattled on for the rest of our walk back to her place. Clearly she was on a roll, and heaven help anyone who might stop her. It was the longest mile I ever walked in two blocks.
As we approached her place, a gasp was the only sound that escaped my lips. My friend didn’t notice and just kept yacking as she rummaged through her purse for her house keys. She didn’t see what I saw. All the pent up tears let loose—I couldn’t believe what I saw. My poor car! Who would do that to her? Oh the humanity! If my friend kept gabbing, I no longer noticed. I broke gait with her and made a beeline straight for my car.
Check that, I made a beeline for what was left of my car. While we were out for our ice cream and ambush, something ran into my car. The trunk was shoved all the way up against the front seats. The front seats were all mangled. There were shards of glass and gold car all over the street. I fell to my knees and started sobbing. My poor little car! Things were so mangled that I couldn’t even open my door. Who would do that?
My friend finally noticed she lost her captive audience, and had wandered over to the remains of my car. She had the presence of mind to do a complete walk around of my car. She was the one who discovered the note—the tiny little shard of paper with a name and a phone number scribbled down. Gently, my friend helped me to my feet, and led me back to her house. She said something about needing something stronger than ice cream. Next thing you know, I was nursing a glass of wine while I made the many phone calls one makes on the heels of a car accident.
My parents were relieved, this was the first car accident where I was not injured in any way. It was fortuitous really, after all my chiropractor had just retired—ten years ahead of schedule. I like to think I had a little bit to do with that. The customer service representative at the insurance company seemed to recognize me, which was both comforting and morbidly humorous.
The lady who left her name and phone number openly admitted to hitting my car. She seemed sober, sweet, contrite, brutally honest, and blissfully sane. I was so grateful for these small graces. Even though she all but obliterated my beautiful gold car, I just couldn’t be angry with her. She was aware of what she did, she was sane, and she was not driving while under the influence of any drug or any fru fru dog. She, just like the others before her, simply did not see my car until it was too late.
When he came to pick me up, my dad walked around my poor car. I could tell he was incensed, and a little frustrated that I spoke to the culprit of this massacre without him. Like me, he had a little difficulty containing his emotions. We stood there for a moment, both weeping. The last time we did that, I was seven years old and my cat had just been run over by a grain truck. I guess given recent history, he was anticipating another round with a crazy of some sort. He seemed genuinely befuddled by my account of the lady who admitted to hitting my car. He furrowed up his forehead and said, “…this just doesn’t add up—maybe she is covering for somebody.” I assured him, this time there would be no drama.
I was mostly right about the drama. My birthday, which happened just a few days later, was a very non-dramatic event. My parents, so relieved that things weren’t worse, decided to celebrate by surprising me with a small gathering of friends. People were under strict orders to laugh and have fun—for my sake. So, everyone chattered nervously, and joked lamely—for my sake. They all meant well, and they were trying. I felt relieved, grateful, but not joyful. I was trying, but I was the furthest from the life of the party. I was, however, the heart and soul of my own pity party. I was one year older, car-less, and still living at home with my parents. Sure, I had started house shopping, or at least wanted to once the collisions slowed down, but now even my best intentions were hijacked in favour of this latest car catastrophe. Among the phone calls I got that day, one was from the insurance company. I was informed my case was being transferred for a “total loss adjuster”. I laughed like an over tired, and highly excitable child. I tried really hard for levity, because after all, the timing was pretty hilarious. I just got a “total loss adjuster” on my birthday. It was one of those birthday presents you get for someone who has everything—right?