Okay, so as I'm writing this (on Wednesday), Keith called me to tell me that the insurance company just called him to tell him there was more damage to the car than previously suspected, so they are declaring it totaled. Shit. No idea what we are gonna do now.
The worst thing about this is not that it's the second time it happened to us (within the space of a few months, yet), but that it's the third (or fourth depending on how you count)! Yes, you read that right. We've actually lost a total of five vehicles (if you count the rental) to the shooting gallery that is our street.
We're not alone in this, other neighbors have lost vehicles or had them damaged. Nearly everyone has a story. We know because we've heard them. In the middle of the night. While we're standing around looking at the wreckage of yet another of our vehicles. Us? We're kind of legends in the neighborhood. Not just for it happening twice in the span of two months, but for the time it happened twice in the same weekend!
I know we have some photos somewhere, but that was several PC's and cameras ago. We printed some hard copies, and I've rummage around for them, but can't seem to find them. If I ever do, I'll add them to this post. Until then, you'll just have to take me at my word.
It was less than a year after we bought the house, so it happened in the days before this blog. It was over a decade ago, in fact. It was the dead of night. It always is when this shit happens, it seems. We were fast asleep, but were awakened by a pounding on the door. We opened it to see a crowd of folks standing there. The woman in front said: "Baby, your car just got hit." My first thought was: "Oh shit. I'm standing here in my underwear."
It happened on a warm summer night, so there were several people out and about who witnessed the accident, despite it being about three in the morning. The car was wrapped around the tree, kind of like my truck was in November. That poor tree has had more than its share of automobiles draped around it.
The witnesses said that the guy hit the car so hard he did a 180 and sped off on the wrong way down our one way street. He did stop his car a few blocks later and call and report to the cops that he had hit our car. He claimed that he was being chased and had to speed away. No other cars were seen that night. Because of his story, we had a bit of a wrangle with his insurance company to get everything covered, but they did, including a rental. This was on Friday. The accident happened in the wee hours of Friday morning and we got the rental that evening.
We spent the day Saturday running errands and shopping, then came home and did our usual stuff and went to bed. In the early hours of the morning, I got up to use the bathroom and as I was getting back into bed, I heard a terrible BOOM! outside our house. We opened the door to see the same crowd of faces. (I had taken the time to put on pants this time.)
A very drunken driver had sped up on to the curb at the liquor store three doors down from us. For some reason, no one was parked between us and that corner that night. He ran into a couple of street signs, one of which ended up in front of our house, and slammed into the rear of the rental, completely slamming it into the other wreck. The rental was a tiny ball of stuff that used to be a car.
Our first thought: "Oh shit. It's a rental." Keith got on the phone with the rental company and they told us that we were okay, because we had taken out the insurance coverage they offer when you rent a car. They sent a tow truck, who got the car and we never heard another word about it from them. Ever.
Fortunately, one of the witnesses got a license plate number and gave it to me, so the cops were able to chase the guy down. In a weird turn of fate, the dude was a cousin of someone I worked with at the time! It was an interesting discussion in the breakroom that day over lunch.
Our car was, of course, totaled. Due to its age, we didn't get much for it, so we bought a used Volvo station wagon from the late 80's, which we ended up loving to pieces. The air didn't work, but it was one of the most fun cars we have ever owned. I keep telling Keith that we ought to just get another Volvo this time around and be done with it.
We got one other thing out of this, our status as the crash kings of the neighborhood. People still come up to us and ask us if we're the ones that lost two cars in a weekend. It's been a topic of conversation twice in front of our house in recent months. Needless to say, it's a conversation I never want to have under those circumstances again.
I'm about to renew my assault on City Hall about this. I spoke to our Councilman at a neighborhood meeting a few years ago, but nothing really happened, so I don't have high hopes.
Our street is narrow with no offstreet parking, so that makes it narrower. There's a long stretch without a stoplight, which only encourages speeding. To make matters worse, there's a slight hill and a small curve as you come into our stretch of road, which not only reduces driver visibility, but also sets a trajectory so that anyone going too fast who loses control is aimed at the cars on our side of the street. I want a light or a stop sign put in at the corner. I'd settle for a damn speed bump.
When I spoke at the Councilman's meeting, there were reps from various departments there. He asked the public safety woman about putting a speed bump, and she replied that they don't do speed bumps, they only do "speed humps."
Hell, I'd settle for one of those. Whatever the difference is.