The Backup Plan

Someone drove into my car.

I wasn’t hurt.  I wasn’t even in her.  The first I knew about it was when a neighbour knocked on the door, said he thought he may have run into our car and asked us to come and see if there was any new damage.  There was.

There was a dent in her wing.  Not much, certainly not enough to make her in any way unsafe to drive, but she’s an old car so any kind of damage would make her an “economical write-off”.

You may have gathered from the use of “her” rather than “it” that I am rather attached to my car, Sarah.  She was eight years old when I got her and we were together for over three years.  She was not expensive to buy or to run but her annual services were heading in that direction and I was starting to need parts replaced.

Just a few weeks before the accident (I have no reason to believe it was a deliberate) she had developed a loud rattle as she drove, as if someone had attached tin cans to the bumper.  When I stopped to investigate there were no cans, which was hardly surprising, but the exhaust pipe had rusted clean through just ahead of the silencer and was dragging along the road.  One of the front suspension springs had been replaced after it had sheared and the other was making  suspicious noises.  The handbrake couldn’t be relied on to hold on more than the gentlest incline (one time I parked her in the office carpark which slopes a little and when I sat in her at the end of the day my extra weight was enough for her to start rolling back) and the back-light of the radio display had stopped working.

She had electric windows though, automatic wipers and headlights (the latter is now on my “essential” list or I will end up driving around at night without) and must have been quite top-of-the-line in her model when she was new.

Normally the thought of being without a car would throw me into a state of panic.  The way things have gone this year though, these last few weeks in particular, it has barely inconvenienced me, despite having been advised not to take a hire car for the duration on the basis that, if the other party’s insurance company feel I have used it so little that it didn’t justify the expense of providing it for me, I will end up liable for the cost.  A hire car would have been useful Saturday morning when all six of us needed to go to a nearby town, we ended up taking the bus which not only sparked a minor argument about where and when we needed to be to catch a return bus but also left me taciturn, green and nauseated from motion sickness for the next three hours or so.

I suppose I could have taken the car and used it to drive to work each day, but that would still only have been 60 miles all week, including the Saturday morning jaunt, and I would have had to drive into work each day for that.  The traffic to get from home to the main road is getting worse every day except Fridays (does anybody know why Fridays are so quiet?  Surely there can’t be that many people working a four day week?).

In the end I borrowed my boyfriend’s car a couple of times, when I had something large I needed to take in to work or bring home, but mostly I cycled.  Bizarrely, I reveled in not having the option and having to ride, although I feel I should get a better sense of achievement and self worth from choosing to when I have an alternative.

I have a new car now.  She’s lovely.  She’s still very new (to me) though, so I find I’m driving in more often than I really should.  In my defense, it is the season for getting Christmas presents delivered to work and having to take them home again in the car.

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