Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I hate Dodge Calibers and should I move?

For the third time in about six months I have been the victim of bad car-ma.

Quick update: May 2007 someone bashes in my rear windshield on a Friday night. $500 deductible later (which thankfully my parents covered) I was made whole again. Nevertheless, not a fun way to spend my weekend—with a windshieldless car. July 2007 I wake up on a Saturday morning (on my way into work) to discover that my driver's side door has been hit and no note was left. Yay, hit and run and another $500 deductible. I also got to learn firsthand of the "wonders" of Los Angeles public transportation.

After this one I resolve not to park on my street anymore; it's got a bar at one corner, is narrow and functions as a north-south cut-through for our neighborhood. In the subsequent months I park a few blocks away most nights, which is worth it for the piece of mind.

October 2007 ... another ^&%$^&^&*^ hit and run. This time the damage is much more severe.

As I am walking toward my car Tuesday morning I notice a rod on the underside of my car from about 150 feet away, a rod I'd never noticed before. Given my recent history, I am unsettled by this. As I get closer I notice a lot of crap on the street next to my car. I quickly conclude that my car has been the victim of "something." From about 20 feet away I can see scrapes from the rear bumper to the rear-view mirror, pieces of which lay scattered on the pavement. There's a hole in the rear door on the driver's side (all damage to driver's side). Not a big hole, maybe hand-sized, but it's there as is the chunk of blue plastic on the asphalt.

Two people are out front of the apartment I was parked in front of. They start filling me in ...

"It happened about 15 minutes ago. It was a white Honda that was driving away. We heard it. So sorry."

I'm numb, angry, mad, sad, frustrated, numb, Zen. I call my insurance company. They're great. They're easy to deal with and they conference in the body shop, which I asked to be the same one as handled my July repairs--great job and great customer service. The body shop says that they've contacted their usual tow truck company and that they'll be over soon to bring me in. I tell them to wait on the rental car (I know that it costs $30.)

Further inspection of the car reveals that the rear drive's side wheel is bent at an angle. The upper half is pushed inward. And the entire wheel has been pushed to the forward edge of the wheel well. Not good. I call work to say I'll be late and then notice that my cell battery is LOW. So I head home to recharge it, figuring that if the tow truck company gets there they'll call me. But I don't want them to try to call and not have battery on my phone.

Well, I am at home about 25 minutes then I head out with a magazine to wait for the tow truck around 10:10 a.m. At 11 a.m. nada. I call the tow truck company and they say it'll be around an hour (at the absolute soonest) before they can get someone there. They recommend AAA if I have it--thankfully I do. AAA shows up 12 minutes after I call and tows me to the body shop.

They recognize me from a few months ago. They're very nice and call the rental car company, which picks me up (it's Enterprise). So far, at least everything is moving smoothly, if slowly. At Enterprise I ask for the smallest car, but then remembering my experience driving a no-power-steering Geo Metro, I change that to Compact car. Matt notes that they smallest car they have is "the red one next to the Chrysler 300." I was kinda shocked, b/c it looked like a small SUV to me. Instead it was a Dodge Caliber. It's a crossover SUV/station wagon mutant.

Nevertheless, I have no options otherwise so I agree to rent it for $26.99 a day (no insurance coverage for rentals, but I do get a 10 percent discount). I hate it BIGTIME. Sorry, if any of you own one. I find the rental model (I'm sure a base model) to be extremely underpowered and FAT. I have driven Saturns for more than 10 years. I am NOT into a WIDEASS car with a small rear-window (read limited field of view) and BIGASS blind spots. This wouldn't be as big a deal if we didn't have a very narrow parking ramp at work. Whatever, I have no choice.

I end up getting to work at 12:30 p.m., only about 3:15 after I would have otherwise. One thing I realize, had I been truly on time, I would have been getting in my car at 8:30 a.m., which is early enough that I would have avoided the accident. :(

I do have to say that I have great co-workers who bought me a gourmet cupcake, chocolate cookies and extended lots of sympathy and offered to drive me home Saturday from work. I plan to ditch the Dodge Crapiber that morning.

Of course, I'm not moving. I LOVE my apartment way too much, but still ... I'd be lying if I said the thought didn't cross my mind during blinding flashes of rage.

No comments: