I bought it new off the lot.

It had maybe 17 miles on the odometer from someone else’s test drive(s).  Bright and silver-shiny, it was a “special edition” version of its kind, and I bought it for several reasons, one of which was its anti-lock brake system, a hot new thing 21 years ago.  I had toyed with buying the other color combo — metallic blue-green with ivory leather interior — but I realized that in the long run, and even in the short run, ivory leather was way outside the borders of practical upkeep, so silver with black leather for me!

I even tried to name it, but nothing ever stuck.  Generally, I wound up calling it my Beast.

I liked it.  The first 10 years I owned it, I truly drove it for recreation only, since the city bus system had a stop three blocks from my house and dropped me off between one and three blocks from work (or within a block of the downtown shuttlebus, when the company moved several blocks south).  After my mom died, I found it more difficult to get out of the house on time, so I started driving more as the only way to get to work on time.  Or, when I became the employee who got hir work done well but was deficient in other areas — like timeliness — I figured it was easier to have my car in case I had to work late than bother with calling a cab and asking for reimbursement.

Of course, I used it for other things, too, grocery shopping and carting the various critters to the vet and such, and what little traveling I did was often car-based, if for no other reason than having my own mobility rather than expecting friends in the area I was visiting to ferry me around (although on the occasions I took planes, giving me lifts here and there was never an issue…maybe because I still tried to be independent as much as possible?).  Anyway, I freely admit that I like having a car, and that there are likely to be people who would say I was “spoiled” in having it, since there’s a fairly large percentage of the world whose main worries are having clean water and enough food to last them through the day.

I’ll bet you can guess where this is headed…

So two weeks ago, give or take a little, I was on my way back to the shelter after spending several hours at the library.  And somebody who wasn’t paying attention decided to make a left turn without making sure the intersection would be clear for hir to do so, and BANG!

A friend took photos (I was too stunned by the accident to remember how to do so on my phone) and sent them to me in a text message.  If I can figure out how to actually load them onto my computer, I’ll update this post to show you the damage, but suffice it to say I’m preparing myself to (1) hear, “It’s totaled,” and then (2) fight for a settlement significantly higher than “blue book” for a car the age of mine.

Because really, it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks my car would be worth if I’d planned to sell it, because what I’d actually planned was to drive it another 30,000 to 60,000 miles…or until the wheels fell off of their own volition, whichever came first.  So my tack will be, “Hey, what your driver did ROBBED me of safe, reliable, efficient transportation that had another five or ten years’ worth of useful life.  And since I am also, by the way, homeless, I have also been robbed of a potential place to sleep.  And the chances I’ll find a similar enough car to meet my needs at that pittance of a ‘blue book’ value are slim to none, so let’s be realistic.”  At which point I assume negotiations will begin.

The killer is that I’ve been having enough trouble coming up with money to insure my Beast.  Insurance on something new enough to be useful is out of my price range until I find work.  The search for which is complicated — not made impossible, just complicated — by a lack of independent wheels.  So I’m also making the mental adjustment to “commuter by public transit” mindset, since I have, after all, done it before.  Only then, it was by choice, with an alternative available if I wanted one.  Anyway…I’ll manage.  It’ll be an exercise in creativity, at least.  🙂

Oh, and the date of the accident?  Once I had the brain cells to stop and think about it, I realized it was the 20th anniversary of my mom’s death.  In fact, the time of the accident was within an hour of the time, 20 years before, when I got home from work and realized Mom wasn’t home yet…then checked my voicemail to discover a message from the hospital.

RIP, Mom.  And very likely, RIP, my faithful Beast.



Filed under car, homelessness, transportation

3 responses to “Car

  1. dcb

    Syd, been wondering how bad the damage was since you first mentioned this over on ML. Sympathies again, and good luck in the negotiations.

  2. something good will come out of this; i had car totalled, and neck almost! stay tuned

  3. Pingback: Walk | Embracing Homelessness

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