I realized today that I’ve been car accident free for over a year now! It boggles my mind that it was only a short year ago when I unwittingly plowed into another car causing expensive enough damage for our then insurance company to eventually send me a nasty letter. Basically the letter was to inform me that they were breaking up with me because I’m a hazard to myself and others. They would have been happy to keep my husband who has no record of speeding tickets or at fault collisions but me, I was out. What jerks! I decided to take my business and my husband’s perfect driving record elsewhere, saving time and money (just like the commercial says), and vowed that I would never crash into anyone again. So far I’ve kept my word.Looking at these pictures, it seems like so long ago. Mostly because so much has changed since then. At the time of this accident, I was stressed out, on my way to a job I hated. I hadn’t even made a dent in that day’s thirty mile commute when the traffic on Malvern Avenue stopped inexplicably. I’m not sure what exactly distracted me but it was in the two seconds that my eyes weren’t on the road that I managed to cause about $3,000 of combined damage to the front of our Corolla and the rear bumper of some poor guy’s brand new Honda Civic (the guy’s American name was Sean and he missed his first Spanish test of the semester at Fullerton College because of my reckless behavior). I find it a little annoying that at the moment of impact I had both hands on the wheel, I was not on the phone, I did not have a drink or food in my lap, I don’t think I was even listening to the radio- and this was when I got in an accident? Normally I’m eating a cheeseburger, changing a CD, and practically doing my taxes while I’m driving but somehow I had managed to avert disaster every other time I was behind the wheel until that day. The tow truck guy, who was way cool and had Jesus tattoos all over his arms and neck, towed my crippled car back to our house (instead of the insurance company’s lot- it was the Thursday before a holiday weekend and apparently the insurance company’s whole office had already taken off because after the basic report was taken, I wasn’t able to get a hold of a person there until Wednesday of the next week- again, what jerks!) and parked it on the curb in its usual spot. Josh had ridden with the carpool that morning so I was able to drive our other car into work. Yes, you read that right, I still went into work that day because it was the end of the month and I was the only one who could do the end of the month invoices so that the company hit its billing goals- as I said before, I hated that job!
The end to a "perfect" day was getting home that evening after hating my job all day and finding a parking ticket on the wrecked Corolla- A PARKING TICKET!!! Apparently, the street sweeper, showing no mercy even though the car was obviously having as bad a day as I was, decided that the inconvenience of having to drive around my broken car was worth $75 to the city of La Mirada. Personally, I would rather have the gutters filled with dead animals and rotting sewage than give the city the satisfaction of charging me to park on the curb but, then again, I grew up on a street that didn’t even have sidewalks so I guess I’m just going to have to get used to these fancy city folk. Where I come from, it was perfectly acceptable to park your fifteen primer grey Chevy Novas on the dirt in front of your house whenever you wanted. No one pitched a fit, no one issued you a ticket, and you could barely smell the dead animals and rotting sewage.
Believe it or not, this story has several happy endings. For one, our current insurance company doesn’t consider me to be a menace to society and secondly, somehow we managed to dig up enough money to pay our deductible with the old insurance company and the Corolla ended up better than ever after all of the repairs were done. I decided to fight "the man" by contesting the parking ticket. By writing this letter to the city:
I also sent a copy of the towing receipt and the above wrecked car pictures. It worked! My whining paid off and they excused the ticket. It was empowering. So empowering that two months later, I had worked up enough courage to quit my horrible job. I gave them a month’s notice though- I wasn’t empowered enough to shove everything off my desk and storm out in a fit of rage like I should have. Either way, I’m glad to be free of my "end of the month invoice processing prison." I can only hope that Sean went on to ace his Spanish class, paving the way for an academic scholarship that made it possible for him to win a Nobel Prize in something. Or, perhaps he was an evil genius and by causing him to miss his Spanish test, I thwarted his plans to take over the world. We may never know.