I may have mentioned this before, but I had a collision with the county coroner back in March. It seems so long ago now. I was driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 101, headed home after the final day of zoo class, distracted by a myriad of thoughts bouncing around inside my head, and frantically searching for an altoid, when all of a sudden, whammo, I'd rear-ended a van. The county coroner's van, no less. So we pulled over, and luckily there was zero damage to his formidable bumper, although he was now going to be late to go pick up "somebody" (or is it just "something" at that point?). My hood and fender got a little crunched, and most humiliating of all, the VW symbol fell off. We exchanged info, and then went on our merry ways; he even put on his lights and sirens to help us both get back into the flow of traffic.
I thought (or hoped) that the damage to my car was purely cosmetic. I felt trashy driving around in a beat up car, but I tried to just ignore it. A few weeks later, my engine was apparently over-heating, and when I went to open the hood, I found that it was jammed shut. Not even the professionals could get it open. So I relented and took it in to get fixed. Long gone are the days of simply replacing a rubber bumper. No, no, they had to replace the entire hood, front grill, headlights, and front wheel wells because they're all integrated. Thank god for car insurance, but my poor car was in the shop for a good two weeks, and I was reduced to driving around in a ca. 1982 blue Honda. It was a peppy little thing, and actually kind of charming at first. But it had a stiff clutch, no power steering, no A/C, and only an AM radio to keep me company. I enjoyed it in the mornings, but hated it in the evenings.
When I finally got my own car back, it was like driving on a little cloud. So quiet, so smooth, such effortless movements to turn a corner or parallel park. What a dream! I've been accused of being a tail-gater by several people. Hopefully I've learned my lesson, $1,000 later ($500 deductible, plus a new radiator that wasn't covered, plus 2 weeks rental car). Yet I still find myself frequently slamming on the breaks in daily traffic. Maybe this is just part of life in L.A., especially now that I have an actual commute across town and can't just roll down the hill to work. Maybe I'm more legit now. In the past year I've had my first speeding ticket, and my first real car accident. This is L.A., baby, and I'm living it.