“Shoes and jacket on now, please!” I say for the third time. It does not sink into my 10 year-old fast enough. Another bus missed. Another rushed morning, piling the overstuffed rolling school bag, violin and gym bag into the front seat of the mini-van. He has been able to tell time for four years now yet the skill to keep track of time ticking remains dormant in him on most mornings. I am still his nagging alarm and he snoozes repeatedly.
We exit through the garage and board the car. I start the car and hit the garage door button to close it. The bulb lights up and then nothing. No response from the garage door either! It’s a conspiracy. I back out of my spot, rolling gently with a bit of anxiety and…scuff, scrape, dimple!!!
“Sssssshhhhhh…..ooooooot!” I yell at the rear view mirror. What was that? No, no, no!!! Not the Hemi, again! In my blind spot, ever so slightly, one degree diagonally behind my vehicle, sat my husband’s prized lady in black…his beloved Dodge Charger. He was proud to be seen blasting from zero to 60 via highway on-ramps in a matter of seconds, just like the State Troopers do. Just nine months ago, I need to get dent repair on his beauty.
“It’s all my fault,” he says. “I should have listened to you and gotten ready faster so we didn’t have to rush.”
“Oh, it’s not your fault, Sweetheart,” I say instantaneously. “It was 100% my responsibility, my hands on the steering wheel and my foot on the gas pedal. I should have looked more carefully behind me. Okay?” “Okay.”
Whew, I thought to myself, I almost caused another casualty. I recognized the blame game technique that I inherited from my youth. Not something I wanted to pass along to the next generation. That was completely a useless reflex on my part. Just me, kicking myself in the head. At this point, the car became the least of my concerns. It was just another scrape and scratch that an adhesive bandage can surely fix. Kids, on the other hand, subtly pick up on everything we say. Our actions reverberate tenfold. I may have caused some physical damage that morning, but I’m glad I was able to successfully avert potential internal injuries, which in the long run, would be much harder to repair then paintless dent removal. We can buff it out nice and fill in here. The only issue is matching the paint exactly. I’ll give our touchup magician a call. Ballpark will run you 800 or 900 bucks. But depending on the paint and the curviture of the body and how the light hits it, it may run you a couple more on labor.”
I have this realization while standing there, thinking about the damage I caused my own vehicle over the years just driving along. The dent in my driver door caused by an anonymous door-slam-and-run at the Target parking lot. The scratches on my windshield from gravel kicked up on I-95. The two-foot long scratch along the entire right side of my car due to that overgrown bush on our driveway. No one took responsibility for those damages. No one was sorry.
This was a special job for the shop. It was not a full restoration like the totaled pile of metal at the other end of the lot. Insurance will not pick it up. This was about a woman and a man and his other woman. This was about who’s fault it was and how it would soon be erased from the history of the sexy black speed demon. No, no one will ever know it happened. He will never have to bear the embarrassment of others wrongfully thinking that he scratched up his own babe.
I can live with all my scratches. I proudly display my car’s battle scars on the outside and inside, where traces of the kids’ soda, juice, cracker crumbs and the dog’s vomit have all co-mingled at one time or another. They’re life’s little dings. More like warnings. It is too costly to rush through life.