August 14th, 2006

When I'm Bad I'm Better

A Sour Day for Sweet Justice

For those of you who don't know her, Sweet Justice is my Strawberry Pearl 1995 Dodge Neon. She's a crazy old grandma of a car, the kind of old lady who wears denim hot pants and lime green eyeshadow. The past few years have been easy on her since I've been taking public transportation to work and been making fewer trips from North Carolina to New Jersey, but I have been looking forward to driving her into the ground. She's long paid off and with me driving maybe 50-75 miles a week, is the right car for me.

I woke up chipper and energized Sunday morning, with an entire day of me-time for the taking. I was clean, fed, and on my way down to Ikea by 11:30 to continue my apartment refurnishing. 95 South was at a complete standstill (as one would expect just before noon on a Sunday). I remember thinking to myself I wanted to queue up an album on my iPod but the traffic was heavy and I didn't want to get into an accident. So I waited.

But that didn't stop me from rear-ending the Chevy Blazer in front of me a few miles down the road when I was trying to change lanes. I don't know if it was me getting frustrated with the traffic, how I was thinking about trying to figure out a back road to take, or the gold Caddillac hoopdy whose driver had just shouted something at me when he drove by, but I underestimated how much room I had in front of me and smacked right into their bumper.

In the battle of Blazers vs. Neons, Blazers win. I could have done the damage I did to their car with my keys. The guy got out of the car, dusted my paint chips off his tailgate and said it didn't look like a big deal but he'd check with his wife. We exchanged information and all things considered, it was a calm transaction. I don't think my insurance company will be getting a call from them, but we'll see.

Justice, however, has seen better days. Her hood is crunched up, front left light smashed, and while the brakes work, I had to lean with all my weight to get the gas pedal to respond at all, and even then I barely could get her going above 5mph to get her off the highway and to a gas station. I got her towed up to the dealership and am waiting for the estimate now.

Barring an egregious repair fee, I'm probably going to spend the money to get Justice fixed. Sure I'm making more money at my new job, but I'd hate to dump my entire raise into a new expense; especially one that I barely need in the first place. I do not drive enough to justify a car payment. And I'd rather fix Justice than take my chances on a different beater car whose history I don't know. Luckily, the pressure of time is off since I can be carless with minimal inconvenience for a few weeks. For now, all I can do is wait. I can hardly be mad about it since it was my own boneheaded fault. I also haven't been in an accident since I was 17, so I guess it was bound to happen sometime. But it still sucks.
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