October 1, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Have you ever had one of those days where it feels as though you're on a Thursday night sitcom, your part in the script being the unfortunate and ridiculous running punchline? Well, two days ago the episode started with me driving down Lincoln Ave. towards my apartment with groceries in the back and a day ahead of me to waste reading papers. At 1300 N. Lincoln (the specific address later written on my ticket), a bus was stopped in the right lane, and I was driving in the left. I looked right to make sure I was clearing said bus, and when I turned back to look straight, I gave the teal Toyota Corolla in front of me a nice love pat to her bumper before stopping. Someone four cars ahead stopped abruptly, and I just didn't stop fast enough. My fault, enough said. So we pull over and call the cops while some brown liquid oozes from the front of my car, and talk about how crappy Toyotas are just made of plastic and styrofoam, as evidenced by the guts of my Camry showing behind the front bumper. The cop shows up and we start telling our stories, and before I know it, a tow truck is at the scene getting ready to lift my car and leave. I ask what company he works for, but didn't understand his answer and figured I could just get the information off the ticket or accident report later. By some stroke of luck, I remembered I had groceries in the car, and took those out of the back to lay them in the grass. While the cop filled out the paperwork, Chelsey (the other driver) and I watched as three other accidents almost result from similar traffic circumstances. More time passes, and I finally get my ticket, and ask for a ride home. I dumped my groceries in his trunk, and sat in the back seat, dirty criminal that I had become.

We got back to my apartment, and I unload all of my groceries on the curb. Before I could really even look up, he was on his merry way, back to the crime rich streets of Urbana I suppose. This would have been fine except I had five bags of groceries, a bag of kitty* food, and a 20lb. bag of litter. Because I'm cocky and wanted to only make two trips up my to my apartment instead of three, I tried carrying the kitty litter and some other things, and in doing so, scraped the bag against the edge of the stair railing, only to hear the steady pouring of litter behind me. I just kept walking as a trail of evidence (I'm not allowed to have any pets) was left leading directly to my apartment. I was half expecting my landlord to be following me with a magnifying glass and Sherlock Holmes hat, bust my covert cat housing operation, and demand that either the cat or I leave. To make sure that didn't happen, after I finished carrying up the remains of the groceries, I went out to scatter the path of litter, and started kicking most of it down the stairs or towards the walls. While kicking, I stubbed my toe on one of the stairs. Laugh track starts playing in the background, and we cut to commercial.

Now, all of this sucks because I'm thinking that I'm out of a car for awhile and $500 for my deductible. The police officer told me the insurance company would take care of it, and I didn't even have to deal with the towing company since they would send an agent out there and take care of the estimate. Awesome! After calling my insurance company, they instead inform me that I don't even have damage coverage on the car, so I better figure out what my next steps are because they have no part in them. Not Awesome! They don't know where the car is, so I figure that tracking that down might be a good first step. It's no where on any of the paperwork I got from the cop, so I call the police station, who tells me to call a number that would know (the tow company Oracle?). I call them, and they tell me I have the wrong number, and give me the right one to call (the real tow company Oracle?), who tells me to call Feldkamp's Towing. The lady at Feldkamp's, after hearing I don't have damage coverage, tells me I should decide what I want to do quickly because I already owe them for towing and cleanup, and it's an extra $20 for them to store it a day. After a few more calls for advice, I have them tow it to O'Brien's Toyota Dealer in Urbana, and await further notice.

Today, I get a call from O'Brien's saying I should come in for an estimate of the damage. Chris drove me to O'Brien's as my male automotive support. Terry, the guy giving me a preliminary estimate, referred to my car as totalled, and after a lot of head shaking and computer clicking, told me my repair costs were already at the blue sticker value price of the car. This was before he was able to look completely in the front since the hood was crunched up and warped into the hinge that it lifts from. He said I could get a teardown, where they open up the front hood and look inside for $125, but it was probably just worth it for me to junkyard the car. The sad thing is, 7/8 of the car is perfectly fine. The 1/8 in the front is pretty banged up, but the entire package is by no means what I would consider a totalled car. Now I have to say I wrecked my car from rear-ending someone. No rolling, no head on collisions, not even one fly by semi! He tells me I can get $300 from the junkyard, and that I should probably just go with that offer. And that, fair readers, is the position I've been left in. I'll probably just take what I can get from a junk yard, and apply it towards a new car. Then again, I could buy a pretty shiny new bike for that price too.. fully equipped with streamers and a headlight!

* For those that are unaware, I bought a kitty for my mom's birthday, and in the week I was keeping him before her visit to campus, I kind of became a bit attached. His name is Max, and I'll probably try to keep him at my apartment until Thanksgiving break. He is a computer genius and also reads most of my wireless research papers for me.

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