I had my first-ever fender bender yesterday.
Worst of all, it was in a friend's car.
A friend from church offered to pay me to chauffer her to and from the airport for a flight to Switzerland. The departing flight journey was no problem.
But yesterday, the day I was supposed to pick her up, I got caught doing a few things and before I knew it, I was late. So I rushed out the door, sped to town, ran from my parking spot to her house, and ran out the door to her car.
Her car is parked in a very narrow space, accessed by a very narrow driveway lined by a rock wall. You can see where this is going, can't you? In my infinite wisdom and excessive hurry, I decided that instead of backing all the way down the driveway, I'd try backing into a little space between her house and the next one to turn around, and then drive frontways out the driveway. I swung the car around and there was a sickening smash as the front end smacked into the rock wall.*
My heart fell. I was horrified. I was going to be sick. But I had to go on. My friend was waiting at the airport, and I was going to be late. So I drove all the way to Boston, an hour or more, feeling absolutely ill and dreading the sight of her. It didn't help that a few miles down the road, as I entered the highway, there was another crash and as I looked into the rearview mirror, I saw a piece of the side panel tumbling away behind me on the road.
I got to the airport, pulled up to arrivals, and there she was waving at me. I pulled over to allow her to get her bags in the car, and the first thing she said was, "Who got into an accident? You or Rob [her husband]?"
"Me," I said with a sad grimace.
She was laughing. "Don't worry about it," she assured me. "I was hoping it was Rob so you wouldn't feel bad. One thing you have to know about us, we don't care about material things. It's fine. We are very well off, and we're more than able to pay for this, and we have insurance anyway. Stop feeling bad. We lend this car out all the time, and we expect things like this to happen. You're just as likely to get into an accident as Rob or me."
Most of the ride home was spent by her attempting to make me feel better, and it not working. Eventually it did. Sort of. I don't really feel better about doing it, but at least I feel better that she didn't mind.
*I learned later that night when I saw her again, that I'd actually hit a metal post belonging to a gate that blocks off their parking spaces. At least it wasn't the wall. I'm now curious to see whether I could have done the maneuver if the gate post wasn't there.