Friender Bender

I love my car.

Wait, let me correct that: I LOVE MY CAR, in BOLD and ALL CAPS.

I’ve been driving this Buick Regal GS for five years (Day One pictured above), and you know how usually there’s a honeymoon phase with a new car but after a while your eyes start to wander in the direction of newer cars? That hasn’t happened with me and this vehicle. I mean, my Dream-Car-Since-I-Was-Sixteen is coming up next, but I’m in absolutely no hurry. That’s because this gorgeous red car is so *mwah, kisses fingers* with its sunroof, power everything, leather (and heated) seats, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel (just to name a few of my favorite features), and especially the general comfort and sense of fun I have while driving it. This car has been spectacular both for road trips and tooling around in town. I. Love. This. Car.

With that setup, you might be able to imagine my heartbreak when, a couple of weeks ago, I scratched it up. I was backing out of a parking space and looking over my left shoulder. As I turned to look over my right, the sensors beeped just once and suddenly I noticed there was a van right behind me. I still don’t know who tapped whom: I don’t remember feeling any impact at all (and I was backing out a normal slow speed), actually, but the van was right there. Instead of putting my car into park and getting out to investigate, I shifted forward to roll back into the parking space. As I did that I saw a woman standing a few spaces down with her hands on her head. Her mouth was moving as if to say “Oh nooooo,” looking like she was witnessing a murder.

As it turns out, she WAS witnessing a murder: the murder of the paint job on my rear left side. I did it myself: the angle of the van was such that when I pulled back into the parking spot, well, ouch.

OUCH.

I got out of the car and went over to talk to the driver of the minivan, who had pulled back into her own spot and seemed to have just a touch of red paint on her bumper. She opened her door and I said, “I’m so sorry: I didn’t see you until you were just THERE.” She said, “Me too!” We agreed that since we didn’t really know whose fault it was initially and since I knew for sure that the damage on my car was caused by my pulling away, we’d just take care of our own repairs.

She said she was so relieved I was a nice person, and I said, “I’m relieved too!”

We laughed together at the woman with her hands on her head–we had both seen her–and talked about exchanging information anyway. I had to text her my insurance card since I just have it in my phone app, and she gave me her phone number and her name so I could put them into my phone. After I saved her contact information, I smiled and said, “Nice to meet you!” She laughed and expressed the same. Then I realized she didn’t have a southern accent. In addition to that, she really just sounded…familiar. Could she be one of my people?

“You’re not from here, are you?” I asked.

“Well, no, I moved here from Ohio two years ago,” she said.

I knew it!

I said, “Oh me too! I mean, I moved here two years ago from Chicago!” I had a thought and for a quick second considered whether I’d sound completely insane if I expressed it out loud, and decided to go for it, our both being uprooted Midwesterners and all: “We should meet up for lunch sometime…”

She laughed and said, “I WOULD LOVE THAT.”

I told her I’d check my calendar later and get back to her. We texted back and forth a bit, and, well, long story short, that’s how I ended up enjoying a lovely, chatty lunch with my new friend Laura today.

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