There’s something about the sound of crumpling metal




I could see out of the corner of my eye, something big and white advancing on my little red car at an alarming rate.  I surprised myself by blowing the horn in a long and insistent beep.  “See me, ” it said!  “See me and feel like an idiot and stop! ”  She got the order wrong.  She stopped when she hit me.  She saw me and she felt like an idiot.  The sound when she hit was that crunchy hollow sound of a cheap but loveable Hyundai yielding to a BMW sports vehicle.  No contest.  The fates chuckled as I viewed the ruin of the must sturdy part of my car, a front fender that had been replaced six months earlier after a hit-and-run.  The drver of the BMW jumped out.  To add insult to injury she was young and beautiful.  “Je suis diplomat” she said.  Logic went for a coffee break.  “Being a diplomat can get you a good parking spot.  It doesn’t mean you can barrell out of a lane and hit me .  Park your car.”  It was pretty urgent that we park since I was blocking Crescent St and I saw that others used her lane as a short cut.   The sound of their horns was making it hard for us to talk.  Fortunately there were a few convenient snow banks .  She rolled her BMW up onto one like an elegant tank and I flung my baby onto an ice patch.  I was taking up two metered spots.  Of course my wheels spun and screamed like banshees when I tried to move.  I had no change for the meter and I was more interested in making sure my auto-assailant didn’t leave.  In fact she came over and started showing me cards, insurance policies, ID’s as I scrabbled miserably in my glove compartment for an accident report form.  “I must take my child to the day-care,”. She smiled.  It seemed a random sort of thing to throw into the conversation.  Then I got it.  “Where is your child.”  “In the car over there.”  In the BMW with the motor running, right!  “Lady, we’re going to do this in your car.”  It was a bit of a relief as I seemed to have mislaid my current insurance slip and our move over to her undoubtedly more comfortable car gave me a chance to scrabble more fervently in the glove compartment.  “Ah, found it!”  As I started to fill out the yellowed and creased form she engaged in a couple of loud conversations in Chinese on the speaker phone.  I only know ” me ha” in Chinese but I can tell when someone is getting scolded and when they are worried.  I was tiring of my role as hard bitten worldly old bag tooling around in a jalopy and when she asked if she could carry her child to the day-care across the street I was happy to say yes.  I got to fill in the form with its long numbers ( I am a bit dyslexic in that area) and the cute little drawing at the bottom.  When my Asian princess returned I showed her the completed form and the space for her to add her comments, her version of what had happened.  ” I will write that I could not see, there was a big truck and I could not see so I drove out and hit you, OK? “.  ” You want to write that?  As a defence?  That you could not see but you still drove out and as I was blowing my horn you hit me”?  She took a look at my astonished face and hesitated.  “Maybe not,  what do you think?  It will look bad for me?”  “Lady, you can write what you want.  You can write nothing but I want to leave now”. I loved calling her “Lady” like some New York cop.  She tried to persuade me to give her the clean top copy of the form.  We signed the form, I gave her the messy carbon and left.  I pondered the state of the world based on the example of “diplomatic” thinking I had just witnessed and drove home in a slow and wary mode.


I called my insurance company and was told by a smiling voice that being hit twice within three years would disqualify me from my safe driving rebate.  My perfectly logical argument that my driving was not any less safe if others hit me when I was not even in my car or as they decided to sail out from blind spots was met with amused surprise.  “Oh, no.  It doesn’t work like that”.  I was told that my premium would go up but that it was impossible to know by how much.  More mysteries of the insurance business.


I went out to really look at the car.  It’s not so bad is it.  The little dent adds a certain rakish charm, no?  It is a very old car after all and I did make the “diplomat” feel rather uncomfortable.  Perhaps that is enough.  Dear readers, do me a favour and vote.  Should I file a claim or not?

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