The person who clipped and damaged the back of my parked car obviously screwed up. It was an accident. However, leaving the scene without exchanging insurance information was intentional.
This garbage event happened on a recent “messy road” morning. My husband’s car was sparkling clean following a burst of ambition on his part, so he decided to take my winter-smeared SUV to work. He never does that, ever. But that day he did.
A few hours into the morning: smack, crunch. Some of his coworkers heard it. The scrape of metal and the breaking of my taillight covers, plus whatever this driver did to his or her car was apparently loud enough for a few office dwellers to jump to the windows. Apparently, a gray minivan sped away.
A nondescript van doesn’t seem like the kind of vehicle I’d attach to a driver who, pardon the pun, would dodge responsibility. I associate neutral family cars with law-abiding citizens who corner the Boy Scout bumper sticker market, wear dinner napkins on their laps and pay their bills in a timely manner.
I would have preferred to learn the hit and run vehicle was a dark, low-slung shark-like car blaring death metal music as it peeled away in a cloud of smoke, rust and sparks.
But no, it was likely Dad-Bod McGee or Aunt Bea who left us stuck with the aggravation and expense.
I always try to have perspective, though. With all the horrors happening in the world, when my husband called to tell me my beloved old, but historically intact, car had just been hit I asked, “Uhh, is it still drivable? ” An affirmative answer was all I needed.
But on a superficial level the whole incident feels deflating. A person damaged our property and took off because they decided they could get away with it. And now we, the tidiest parkers of the world, are left to do some math. The police report is in, so do we go ahead with an insurance claim (minus the deductible) and chance raised rates? Or do we handle this whole thing out of pocket?
My car is far from new, which complicates the formula. What are we willing to spend to fix this? I’ve had these wheels since my boys were in grade school. Now one is approaching the tail end of college and the other is a gainfully employed engineer.
Though this puts us in a tricky spot, I’m glad I don’t like driving sparkling new cars. There’s enough to worry about out there on the road, like lying rocks, side-swiping texters, hail and ice. And now it seems we’ve added to the mix a renegade Aunt Bea type who can’t navigate a generously windowed vehicle out of a neatly striped office lot. She or he is out there, somewhere. You have been warned.
It has taken me years, but I’m finally at the point where I don’t care (that much) about common door dings. My SUV is now an old comfortable pair of shoes. So comfortable, in fact, it’s our family KCI economy parking lot car. This assignment speaks volumes, because we all know the airport slots are sized for mopeds. Ding-ding-ding-ding.
But my current situation is beyond eye-rolling a new side door dimple near the B7 kiosk. Something must be done before the rainy season. Money and time will be spent. Right now I have ugly scraped paint and tail light covers that we temporarily jig-sawed puzzled back in place. They are held together with the same clear strapping tape I used to mail Valentine’s candy to Grandma and Grandpa.
This is so uncool - just like that one reckless minivan driver.
Reach Denise Snodell at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @DeniseSnodell