But, where to start? Do I tell you about the accident involving my mom, who also was rear-ended? Do I mention the incompetence of the body shop that was to do the estimate for the insurance company? Maybe I mention the generous gifts from kind family members, or the unexpected, beyond expectations assistance from a towing company, or the mysterious appearance of a pack of raccoons wearing tiny birthday hats?
Following the path of strongest emotion, I share with you the part where I said goodbye to my faithful friend. There it was, sitting in the parking lot of the body shop, where its heart still beating strongly, and its head still intact. It looked strong and vital in the parts that mattered, it still drove, and here I was, abandoning my good and trusty friend on field of battle, bleeding and wounded, still ready to continue the fight. Its headlights were clear and they stared at me, full of hope ready to go home with me. Those eye-lights were trusting me, expecting me to take care of everything, to make things better. They did not even consider that I might be sending it to a terrible fate in a junk yard or a heap of scrap. It was giving me its auto-puppy eyes, and how could I say no to those? How could I betray it so thoroughly?
I reconsidered the whole plan to let the insurance take the car. Maybe it wasn’t too late, I could get the major bits all fixed, and keep it.
But, the reality was that fixing the bits was like giving Methuselah a face lift. Spending finite resources on fixing it up would not solve the problem long-term. It was time to let it go, and face the horrors of car shopping.
The insurance money was a pittance, not nearly as profitable as 30 pieces of silver. Hardly worth the betrayal. When added to the generous contributions of family members, however, it amounted to enough to find a replacement, hopefully one with an engine and everything.
Finding myself with a day off work due to the flooding in Colorado, I went to a big dealer’s sale downtown. I kept being shown cars 1000-1500 above my maximum price, and I despaired that my expectations were too high. “You mean you want a vehicle with a steering wheel? Are you out of your mind? I’m afraid a steering wheel is out of your budget.”
And then, they showed me a car which was in my range that had a mere 47,000 miles on it. It seemed too good to be true. It even had a steering wheel, and *four* other wheels. It had breaks and seat belts. It drove well.
Before I knew what was happening, and despite the fact that I had brought no money, I left with a wad of paperwork and a stomach full of anxiety. I no longer had the ability to say anything other than “What have I done now?”
It turns out, I had bought a car.