Accidents will happen. That is a given. Accidents are a part of life. You accidently drop an egg on the floor and you accidently say a word that would curl your preacher’s hair. You look up and ask for a little lea way from a higher power and then call in the dog to slurp up the mess, and he does with glee. But what of bigger accidents?
Car accidents. Not big, sad, life altering accidents. I hope you never have anything like that happen to you in your life. I am talking about fender benders. In the realm of all things, the little crash and bang accident. The ones that, even though they are mere blips on the screen of life, you will remember each and every one you are ever in. Just as though they happened yesterday, or today.
My initiation into the crash and bang club happened in Ely, Nevada. I was a new 16 year old driver. Just so happens, so was the other crasher and banger. But he, yes ladies, he, was at fault. He didn’t look before he came barreling down the street through a stop sign and clipped the back end of my beautiful red 1966 Barracuda. I do not fault him as I also occasionally didn’t completely stop at that exact same sign. Over and over again. It is a little road that doesn’t get much traffic. Well except for me on that afternoon when the sun was bright and the ink wasn’t even dry on my new government issued piece of freedom. He wanted to just leave the scene, not do anything about it, act as though it didn’t happen, leave me to deal with all the good things that happen in the aftermath of a bender. But I had a dad that would not be amused with a crunched rear end on the car that he handed down first to his son then to his daughter. So I knew that I needed to stand my ground and call someone official to the scene.
If you can imagine a time before cell phones, I made my way into a nearby store and called the police. Not 911 as there was no emergency. I must admit that through my years of growing up in a very small town it was no accident that I happened to know the phone number to the local station house. That in itself should tell you a bit about me and my friends!
I know, now as a grown up, that I was put in that crash to learn something. But what? To look out for the other driver? Well of course. To stand up for myself, protect my interests because there are those out there that will do some very underhanded things to protect themselves over your needs? Yes, yes there is that. But mostly–to put on that puppy dog face when the blue/red lighted cars arrive! A face we have probably all tried to use at least once! Funny how we use that even when we are innocent!
Ah, but after the crash? First comes the insurance dealings. Swell. I was once told by a guy who had worked in the claims center for a huge insurance agency that they are told to drag their heels and drag their heels before coughing up any money just on the outside chance that the person filing the claim gets tired and just moves on without getting paid by the company. I don’t condone or even know if that was true, but it has stuck with me long enough to give me enough tenacity to stand up and get things that otherwise would have been lost in the whirlwind of life.
The next thing was repairing my, okay my parent’s, red ‘cuda. Now here we learn even more life lesson treasures. Again, I did not know much of the car repair business. But it didn’t take long to learn that it is important to be nice to these guys. I was very lucky to have a brother that knew a guy in this field. The art, yes I think it is an art, of repairing a car is amazing. You pull your car in with a big ole dent, a light broken, a bumper crunched, paint scratched, maybe a tire askew and more—then the next time you see your car magic has occurred. Paint is shiny over smoothed dents, bumper is all slicked up, a new light lights up and all is again right with the world. Amazing.
Even more amazing is that that same business was there for the second, third and fourth time my fenders got into benders. Just like your doctor, lawyer and plumber a good body man needs to be added to your information book of life. Just in case…