Measuring My Mettle

          My first car accident doesn't really qualify as anything more than foreshadowing for this tale.  Licensed less than six months, I attempted to carefully back the family's pristine white Ford Grenada into the garage so I could unload the trunk.  Unconfident with the mirrors, I opened the driver's door, twisted my body around and looked behind me as I slowly eased the car in slowly that when the top point of the driver's door came to rest on the side of the house I didn't immediately notice.

          The result was a few gouged inches in the house's siding and a very small dent on the edge of the car-door near the lower hinge.  My sixteen year old self decided not to mention my mistake(s) to my mother or 2dad.  For years, my eyes immediately focused on the scratch in the siding whenever I found myself in it's vicinity.  Nobody ever commented on it or the door-dent (which I, also, could never stop staring at, whenever I was near the exterior of that car).

          Three years later, as a college sophomore, I bought my deceased father2s car.  Actually, "gave my mother2 a small fraction of what the off-white VW bug was worth in exchange for the title" is more accurate than "bought".  I painted it a coppery brown (only later, after hearing it referred to as The Turd did I regret my choice).  Backing out of a diagonal parking spot one night-school-night, I cut my turn too sharp and rubbed the driver's side rear fender along the fender of an adjacent car.  I got out, noticed no dent on the other car (just shit-colored paint transfer) and left.  Without leaving a note.  Clearly, I was once "that fucker".

           My third accident occurred six years later as I approached a stop sign at a T-intersection on a gravel, residential street.  I was distracted (by a child running toward my piss-yellow VW rabbit) and failed to come to a complete stop.  A pick-up truck with monster tires (taller than the child) appeared out of nowhere, clipped my front quarter panel/bumper, and spun me around a little in the gravel.  Since he was going too fast and I'd failed to stop, we decided to fix our own damages (his was a scuffed sidewall).

          Twenty years and well over a million accident-free miles later—after driving a relatively large number of military vehicles (Gama Goat, APC, Jeep, HMMWV, as well as several different civilian cars and motorcycles—I had my first serious accident.  The phrase: torrential hail will forevermore cause me to remember crashing into the earth in a bruise-blue Ford Explorer after it flipped end over end.  In 2004, I began this s n a p p e r h e a d blog with an article about that accident in a post titled:  Driving Anozira-style.

          Almost exactly seven years later (a few months ago) I backed my silver 2008 Dodge Avenger into a travel trailer parked on the side of a street at 3am.  It dented my trunk pretty bad (it still closes).  I immediately rang their doorbell, woke them up, gave them a photo of my driver's license, name, address, phone number, and told them if they got an estimate I'd either pay it or turn it over to my insurance.

          They still have yet to contact me.  I drive past that trailer every night and always glance at the little wrinkle I caused in the metal.

          (And, since 3/5 of my accidents have one thing in common...I've decided not to drive in reverse anymore.)


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