My Poor Car

My poor car.

For those of you who don’t know my car (and that’s pretty much everyone), it’s a Mistubishi RVR, a white mini-van-type thingy, affectionately known as “The Ambulance” because, well, it looks kinda like one.

Ol’ Warp 8 (her license plate) has moved us from here to there, moving the majority of our house’s contents when we moved and hauling bits and pieces to and from the school for parties and expos and all sorts of things.

So, after a bitch of a week (I was going to say something starting with c but I don’t want to offend) which saw me get not-so-much sleep every night due to either Noel’s back injury or my oblique injury, I was so looking forward to getting home and having home-made hamburgers with James and Jacqui, our neighbours, and Noel.

I took a way home different from what I normally do, which should have been an ominous sign. On the way home, a hoon in a small Honda Civic passed me at a roundabout (traffic circle for you Americans) and nearly got broadsided… and I thought, in 18 years, I’ve never behaved like that. I’ve never had an accident.

And, when the voice in my head said, take a left at the Prestons Road roundabout instead of going straight through then turning left onto Hawkins Road (instead of left on Prestons, right on Quaids, then right on Hawkins and left on Radcliffs), I decided I’ll follow the hoon and see what stupid stuff he got up to.

Not much. So I turned off on Hawkins and headed down into the darkness. I couldn’t use my brights because I could see the cars turning left into Radcliffs Road in the distance.

I got near the intersection, put my indicator on and slowed right down.

There was one car turning left in front of me — Radcliffs Road is a t-junction at Hawkins Road — and several cars lined up on Radcliffs Road waiting to turn left or right onto Hawkins.

Now, in New Zealand, we have a road rule a bit different from other countries. If a car is turning across traffic (left in this case) and another oncoming car is turning the same way (right in this case), the car turning across traffic gets the right-of-way if no oncoming (going thru) traffic is coming.

Being about 6 PM, and being dark at this time of year by that time, everyone had their headlights on. All I saw was the car turning left and the cars lined up, so I made my move.

A car pulled around the left-turning car — and I didn’t see the headlights shining behind the turning car or even the car itself — and I caught its headlights out of the corner of my eye right before her car’s brakes screeched and she broadsided me.

Needless to say, I was upset. I stopped right away and parked my car basically where it came to stop. A guy in a van waiting to turn onto Hawkins asked me if I was okay about three times then said I might want to move my van out of harm’s way. (So I did.)

And I felt really angry that I didn’t see the other driver and worried if she was okay and good that New Zealanders, on the whole, are so kind to stop and see if you need help. So I got my car parked on the side of the road, not even thinking to check the damage, but just make sure everyone was okay, which, thank God, everyone was.

The woman that hit me was really good about it. I told her I’d never had an accident in nearly 20 years driving (which is true) and that I had thought about accidents and careful driving that very night with the hoon passing me on the roundabout. She said she never had had one either and, strangely enough, she had been thinking about accidents as well before we crossed paths.

We exchanged details and that was that. As she said, no one was hurt; cars can be replaced. She thanked me for stopping — I was shocked that people didn’t always stop after an accident — and went on her way. I went on mine.

I got home and saw the damage and cried. My passenger door and the sliding van door were quite damaged. The passenger door itself was the worst damaged and bore the brunt of the collision, its top pulled away from the car frame (with a gap so wide I could fit my hand into it) and the side-intrusion beams apparent through panels bent around them.

Noel was very good about it and held me while I cried for about 20 minutes. I felt there was so much I could have done to avoided that accident.

I should have taken the way I normally go.

I should have been even more careful than I normally am.

I should have triple-checked to make sure no one was coming before pulling out.

I shouldn’t have rushed out of work.

I should have left at 3:30 when I planned to.

And I felt I betrayed my faithful, trusty car. No matter what I throw at it or how bad I abuse Warp 8, she keeps on delivering and chugs on regardless. Throwing this at her, a large gash running nearly her entire side was betrayal. She sat there on the driveway and looked so sad and so upset with me.

She’s in the panel beater now. The passenger door might need to be replaced. And I hope she comes back better than ever.

I just hope Warp 8 forgives me for treating her so bad!!!

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