Thhh…chink, thchink, thchinkk
Oh, crap. Oh, no, nooooo… my thoughts raced and my stomach dropped.
I had just pulled away from the gas pump in my very new 2014 Chevy Spark; the one I got right after last semester's third epic breakdown and this was the sound that accompanied my departure.
I steeled myself before getting out to assess the damage. I walked around, gasped, and immediately got back in the car. I’d sideswiped one of those ubiquitous concrete poles you see around gas pumps. The damage covered several panels. It wasn’t good.
I felt sick to my stomach. Irrational thoughts flooded through my head. I’d purchased the highest level maintenance package available, and I remembered something about dent and ding repair. Yes, ding repair, I’ll go with that, definitely that. My husband constantly reminds me that I spent way too much on this package and that I shouldn’t have to pay a dime outside of filling the tank for 5 years. At least.
I felt disturbed by the amount of paint damage, and my ability to recall the particulars of my package coverage, but, I reasoned, something I purchased should cover me. Something.
I decided to drive straight to the dealer. I was sure they wouldn’t be impressed, so I decided that I’d open with a reminder of my ding and dent coverage.
A gruffish man—definitely not a member of the friendly sales team I’d met a few weeks ago—was the first person to speak to me when I pulled in. He steered me away from the front door, where a film crew was attempting to shoot a commercial and wanted to know why I was there.
“Well, um, I had a bit of a mishap with my new car and since I purchased ding and dent coverage, I’m, um…”
He walked toward the car and guffawed. “That’s more than a ding,” he snorted, marching me toward the collision department where he loudly announced his arrival with “a young lady who’s had an accident.”
Accident? Things seemed to be escallating out of control. “I’m here about my ding and dent coverage,” I replied, weakly.
The woman at the desk shook her head. “You’ll have to see someone who can answer your questions,” she said, telling me to come back in an hour and a half.
Now, what I was supposed to be doing was reading a piece I had found in my email the night before; one that would be discussed at my first MFA workshop of the spring semester, a workshop I should be heading to, in, say an hour and a half if I wanted any buffer.
I didn’t think things had gone well, so I emptied my glove box of all my car-related paperwork, pouring over it as I slurped soup. It was not encouraging. The dent and ding coverage was specifically listed as “paintless” –aka invalid if the dent in question involved any paint transfer. It also mentioned repairing single dents no larger than “about the size of a standard credit card.” My “dents” were multiple and could, perhaps, be covered by all of the standard size cards in my wallet.
“Let’s pretend we saw none of this, and start over when we get there,” The Baker said. “Chances are this is covered in your bumper-to-bumper warranty,” she suggested.
Back at the dealer, Ron the collision guy, cups his chin in his palm and shakes his head. “Hmmmm…there’s no warranty in any chevorlet package that would cover this,” he said. “But,” he added, brightly, noting my crestfallen countenance, “it really looks worse than it is. It is very, very repairable. I suggest you go home and call your insurance company. This sort of thing is what you pay them for every month.”
Oh! Oh, insurance—I’d kind of forgotten about that.
I took Ron’s advice, and sure enough—things were going to be OK. OK enough that I left the dealer and right to class, albeit without doing the reading. But I was, in an accident, after all, right? And I just got the email the night before. Surely it’s all understandable.
The professor, B., was not impressed. He proceeded to talk about the reading for over an hour, a conversation I could only listen to sheepishly. He then outlined his desire that we focus on disaster for awhile, and sent us home to write up four pages on a personal disaster, due today. So theoretically, it could be said that I've been wallowing in disaster from first th…chink to this morning's email submission.