We were rear-ended last week on the way home Wednesday evening. It was a fairly gentle bump, as car bumps go, and I thought, "Oh nuts" as I got out and went to see what had happened. I had been slowing down for a traffic light, and the driver behind me did not. Although the other car's front end looked fairly serious, the air bag had not deployed; the rear gate on my CR-V looked to be a write-off, as well as the rear bumper and of course the spare tire, which was mounted on the gate and bore the brunt of the impact. It would definitely be in the shop for a few weeks, I thought. Everything went very smoothly with AAA, the report of the accident and the initial processing of the claim starting even after business hours, it was a bother but we'd have it back before long, but then I got a phone call from the collision center on Friday morning to say that the pan underneath the cargo area was also a loss, which put the repair estimate some $500 over the value of the car.
It's a little embarrassing how much like real grief this is. I can feel myself going through the very same stages -- denial/disbelief, anger, sadness, acceptance, sometimes a combination of all of them. We are all right, it's just a car. We were going to teach our daughters to drive in this car. How can they say only it's worth $4500? being a 1997 it's old as cars go, with the little and not-so-little things that begin to need replacing, but it's never given us a speck of trouble, not once left us stranded or even vexed by any malfunctions. We've had it longer than we've had Julia. I didn't realize it until I got out the paperwork this past weekend, but we bought it on March 2, 2002, eleven years almost to the day.
I couldn't help noticing as I was looking through the last decade's photos, how few pictures I took of the car as a car, you know the slick-pavement glamour shots, but instead how often it appeared in our everyday family adventures, camping trips, going to Grandma's for Thanksgiving, bringing home the Christmas tree, Girl Scout outings. You can just see in this photo the big blob of orange paint that came off of someone's Thinking Day craft as I loaded up the car after a Girl Scout meeting years ago, just in the middle where the center brake light is, that I couldn't manage to clean off.There are a number of extraordinarily similar late-1990s CR-Vs around town, even a green one that belongs to neighbors on the next block. The girls and I used to laugh when we saw one drive past -- "There we go!" -- like it was some car doppelgänger. We still do, but it's bittersweet.