At a total loss for words
Sistafoo’s hands were glued to her face “Home Alone” style when it happened. We had just come to a full stop at the five way intersection where Bellevue, Clyde Hill, Medina and, as it turns out, the auto insurance underworld, collide. I heard squealing brakes and as my eyes darted toward my rearview mirror I specifically remember thinking; I hope those aren’t for and it would be weird if those are for….BAM!…us.
I turned to check on 9-year-old Sistafoo who appeared rattled but safe, properly strapped into one of two integrated booster seats that have protected a rotating cast of growing children and their playmates since Fall of 2001.
After that, I got out of my car to check on the other driver. The perfectly gracious woman who was driving the other car also appeared unhurt as she exited her vehicle apologizing and asking if everyone was alright. When we looked at the damage she wailed “not my husband’s car” as we gaped at the surprisingly mangled front end of the newish Infiniti sedan. My car appeared to have barely any damage; a popped tail light, some new scratches to the big rubbery looking back bumper and a crippling inability to open the trunk, but nothing too scary. I was relieved and so, so naive.
A week and a half later on a Friday afternoon at 4 p.m., I received a call from the nice woman’s insurance company. The agent casually informed me that my car was a “total loss” and asked if I could hurry up sign this form, get the car completely cleaned out, send them the title and get the rental back to them by Friday? I should have predicted this nightmare when they tried to jack me into a minivan rental. Like my beloved Boxy but Good Volvo, I was at a total loss when I hung up the phone.
For 12 years my car has served as a platform for everyday life and adventure. It has been a home away from home for the boys since they were toddlers and the only car Sistafoo has known. Sixteen-year-old Sweetie Boy was about to claim it as his own and the other two have just assumed it would be around to accommodate their own virgin voyages as licensed drivers. My car is nearly an extension of myself, morphing from an “all-NPR- all-the-time-diaper-changing-platform” to a “Hip-Hop-and-Teeny-Bop-bumpin’-petri-dish-on-wheels” ferrying tweens and teens to and fro.
Follow Heija on Twitter (@Heija), friend her on Facebook or silently judge her life at her blog The Worst Mother in the World (www.Heija.com).