This may be the family equivalent of an urban legend but I'm told that my granddad (whom I am honored to count among my teensy tiny readership -- Hi Biquet!) always says that you're not a good driver until you've had a car accident.
(I expect at this point most alert readers will have put 2 + 2 together, so if you've cottoned on, let me reassure you that a) I am entirely unhurt and b) I was not at fault at all.)
The story is that this last Wednesday, having stayed home to work and needing to get out of the house for a bit, I set out on a trivial errand (buy some cables to improve the TV A/V setup) in our trusty Gabby the Volvo SUV (yes, my lovely lady named her car after a certain TV Amazon Princess -- I would have called it Argo, but nevermind logic).
It was raining buckets and I was in no rush at all so I was being careful and taking my time. Somewhere along the line I had decided to treat this leisurely drive as an opportunity to do a bit of geographical reconnaissance in my new suburban neighborhood.
Trouble (and the Nissan Altima it drives on Wednesdays) hit when I was forced to slow down fairly rapidly, almost to a stop, for a car that quite rudely swung onto the main road in front of me from a side street to my left. Oh, I didn't hit it -- Gabby has wonderful brakes and tires that grip the road like they were hugging a long lost friend. The car behind me, however, slammed into poor Gabby's butt with a desperate honk and a great big resounding crash of shattered plastic and twisted metal.
When I stepped out (after pulling up to the side of the road, hitting the distress lights and stopping the motor --did I do that right, daddy dearest?), rather shaken (and more than a little bit stirred) the first thing I saw was the wrecked front part of the poor little old Nissan Altima, its hood popped and bent, front bumper almost gone, belching fumes and leaking bright green antifreeze (no photo, sadly). My throat tightened, my heart sank, and I turned around in slow-motion, unwilling to witness the destruction of Gabby's rear-end but compelled to look...
The metal plate on the bumper. It's a bit dented. That's it.
Obviously the match-up wasn't fair, the Nissan never stood a chance. Between differences in height and weight, the gods of physics were in Gabby's corner from the start.
Anyhoo. The other driver was a teenager who looked like he'd turned 16 and got his learner's permit last week; he apologized profusely for not stopping, said he tried to brake but the road was slippery... Well yes it was, that's why you're supposed to keep a bigger distance between cars and pay attention to the road, buster. I'm sort of a newbie and even I know that (and do it, too). But heck, I felt bad for the kid, busting his mom's car like that and probably vaporizing his allowance and/or savings in the process. He seemed like a good guy, too, polite and well-mannered and taking his responsibilities. Tough break.
So we exchanged contact information, insurance details, I wrote a short statement describing the accident and had him sign it, then later I filled out a police report (you can download the forms online, it's very convenient). It's all in the hands of the insurance companies now, but the outcome should be straightforward.
All that remains to be done is get Gabby to the repair shop to get her butt patched up, and we're good.
So, am I or what?