When I’m driving around town I occasionally see cars with parts missing or barely hanging on. I kind of tsk-tsk and wonder why they’re driving such an abomination.
Well now I’m one of those unfortunate individuals driving around with my right back bumper duct taped to my car.
You might want to get a cup of coffee or tea while I proceed to tell the tale.
You see on Sunday I drove to Jenks (all of maybe 4-5 miles away) to wander around in the antique stores.
I went to my usual favorite one, but it has let me down the last two times I’ve been there. They’ve gone from vintage pretties in every stall to often manufactured crap like cowboy boots and college insignia products.
So I drove on down the main street to several of the others I rarely frequent.
Pulling out after finding absolutely nothing of interest in either one, I backed into a little sign, maybe 2 feet high, that was for some reason plopped down in the middle of a street comprised of 2 narrow lanes.
Church people were getting out and their little main drag was pretty busy. I heard something scrape and wondered what on earth I had hit in the middle of the main thoroughfare as I was backing out.
I went around the block and got out to find that my bumper was nearly dragging the ground. The little sign had apparently gotten caught underneath my car and done quite a bit of damage.
So yesterday I took Charlie to the groomer and began the process of car insurance must-tick-every-box madness.
I’m none too happy over my little bumper accident because my deductible is $1000. So I’ve been kicking myself for even driving to Jenks on a weekend. What was I thinking?
But the weather was glorious and I just wanted to get out in it.
I went to get an estimate about a mile or so away, only to find out State Farm doesn’t use that body shop. I could have had the work done there, but I would have had to jump through a lot more hoops.
So I had an appointment at 1 p.m. yesterday with a body shop that State Farm uses.
The man peers up into the innards of my car for a time, taking photos and writing notes on a clipboard. And then I drove home in my duct taped car (oh the shame).
Almost immediately I get a call from State Farm Insurance. And I keep getting automated emails explaining the legalese of what they will not be accountable for.
They want to know how the dents and scratches happened along the back door.
I said: “Well, I assume the sign was flopping back and forth as I was trying to get far enough down the main road to turn a corner so I could stop and investigate the damage.”
“Hm,” the woman said. “Well, we’ll have to send an adjuster out there to ascertain if these damages are due to the same accident.”
So they sent me to their choice of body shops then didn’t take his word for it.
Bring them on. The car is 14 years old and people in parking lots have scraped up against it and put dents in it for years.
So then State Farm wants to know about the sign.
I didn’t stop to read the sign. By the time I stopped it was no longer attached to my car. It was just a sign, okay?
Was it a city sign? they want to know.
Well I suppose it was if it was in the middle of the main street, I tell them.
I explained that I pushed and pushed and finally got the bumper sort of back into place so I could drive home.
It’s not all that noticeable I guess. It’s silver tape along the bumper of a champagne colored SUV.
The neighbor’s grandson who brought over duct tape and helped me apply it to the bumper said why don’t you just leave it like it is and not pay the $1000 deductible. He told me it didn’t look all that bad.
Well, the reason isn’t just that I don’t want to drive around in a duct taped car. There’s the possibility of course that the duct tape does not hold up over time.
And there’s another reason. One that might not make sense to everyone.
This car has been through a lot with me. It was this car that I used to escape with the pupsters when my ex would get drunk and unceremoniously throw me out.
Then he would proceed to chase me to the garage to yank me back out of my car for reasons that never made any sense. But then a drunk tends not to make much sense to begin with.
On the occasions that I managed to lock the doors and pull out of the garage before he sorted through his own set of keys to stop me, I’d drive to some neighborhood and just sit in the car with Abi and Charlie.
I would grab them up as soon as I could see where his mood was taking him.
I would sit there in the growing dusk crying while he continuously called me on my cell phone begging me to come home. Just come home and I will calm down, he’d say.
But I knew better than to trust that. So I sat in the car trying not to look conspicuous as night fell. And then eventually I had to go back home and hope that he’d fallen asleep in the interim.
About ten or so years ago it was this same car that I sat in at a remote church while contemplating my choices. My options were: I could go back home and wonder when the next drunken binge would begin.
Or I could take the bottle of pills I had in my purse that I’d brought with me and never have to worry about any of it again.
I sat there for some time that day wondering how my life had gotten to this fork in the road. How things had gotten so far out of hand.
But who would take care of Abi and Charlie, I’d ask myself? He wasn’t capable of it, I knew.
So what would happen to them, I’d wonder? And so I went back home and put the bottle of pills back in the medicine cabinet until I could come up with a better option.
I would just have to continue living with what had become a nightmare until I could figure out how pry to enough money away from him to leave. Because he considered the money in our joint banking account his money, and he wanted every penny fully accounted for.
He had made good on his promise to keep me so far in debt that I would never be able to leave. And at the time he’d said it, I’d stupidly thought he was joking.
It was this car that I drove when I finally left that house for good. He was already living in a luxury apartment with his girlfriend. He was taking over the house as soon as I left. The moving van carrying what I was taking with me had left for Oklahoma the day before.
The dogs were upset because they knew something significant was happening. They could somehow detect the emotions swirling within me.
And so it was this car that got us from Texas to Oklahoma to begin the next chapter of our lives.
So this car has weathered many storms with me.
And I simply don’t want to degrade it by driving it around till it ends up in a junkyard with duct tape still keeping a part of it together.
I know some may find that silly. But there are so many significant events that happened in my life that this car ended up being a part of.
It has gotten me everywhere I ever needed to go. It has never left me standing on the side of the road.
You see, though this car is already 14 years old, it just doesn’t deserve being driven around with duct tape holding up the bumper. For me it’s as simple as that.