There comes a time in every woman’s life when her car gets rear-ended by a nun. Okay, maybe not every woman, but that’s what happened to me in May. Let’s call this Unfortunate Event #1.
Unfortunate Event #1
I was with Lily driving to meet Yohannes and Nati at Nati’s karate ceremony (everyone in his class was getting a new belt) when the car in front of me suddenly stopped while turning into KFC. I slammed on my brakes and managed to not hit them, but before I could register relief, I felt the impact of the car behind me hitting my bumper.
I was feeling proud of myself for staying calm as I pulled into the KFC parking lot and the car behind me did the same. Everything is okay, I thought to myself. It wasn’t my fault, and no one seems to be hurt. I parked and ran around the van to get Lily out of her car seat, only to find that her door was locked. I got a sudden, sickening sensation as I realized I wasn’t holding my keys.
Unfortunate Event #2
My keys were locked in the car with my two-year-old daughter.
All feelings of calmness suddenly abandoned me, and I burst into tears. Lily, on the other hand, was quite happy, and continued to smile and giggle at me through the tinted glass for the next 30 minutes as the police and then AAA showed up. Meanwhile I chatted with the woman who had hit me about how she was going to get a ride back to her convent. When all was said and done, my van was still running with what appeared to be minimal damage to the bumper. We continued to Nati’s school and arrived just in time.
Unfortunate Event #3
Sadly, we soon learned that the ceremony was at another location, about 20 minutes away. If we arrived late, Nati wouldn’t be able to participate in the ceremony, so we had a family picnic instead, and Yohannes took the kids to a baseball game to cheer Nati up.
Unfortunate Event #4
We waited for the insurance companies to get the police report, and in the mean time there was a severe hail storm and all the appointment slots at all the nearby body shops were instantly filled for the following two months. This was only a minor setback, since the van was still working, so I continued to drive it around as needed.
Unfortunate Event #5
Several weeks later, I was driving down the highway on my way to a wedding when I heard a horrible grating noise coming from the back of the van. I pulled over to find that the bumper reinforcement had come loose and was dragging on the ground.
Correction: Half of the bumper reinforcement had come loose. The other half was somehow still wedged into the plastic bumper cover. At this point, as I stood stranded on the side of the road decked out in all my wedding-guest finery, the grainy reel of that 80’s social psychology video from 10th grade started running on a loop in the back of my mind. “People are more likely to stop and assist the more attractive woman than they are to help the less attractive woman,” said the perky voice in my head, as cars whizzed past. No one stopped.
But I am not the damsel in distress of an 80’s social psychology experiment. So I hiked up my fancy(ish) dress, knelt in gravel, and pried that wretched hunk of metal from the car. Feeling empowered, I threw the reinforcement in the trunk and continued driving. Less than five minutes later, I heard another dragging noise coming from the back of the car. This time the plastic bumper was coming off, and again, half of it was still screwed into the van. I had no screwdriver, or any tools at all for that matter, so after a valiant struggle, I ripped it off with my bare hands.
Unfortunate Event #6
I missed the wedding. I had gravel in my knees, grease on my hands and face, and grass cuts on my legs. I was also about an hour late by that point, so I turned around and went home.
Thankfully no further catastrophe’s ensued, and the van is now finally getting fixed. But if you ever need someone to help you disassemble a bumper, you know who to call.