Cars and Curses
My BFF recently purchased a beautiful new 2008 Honda Pilot. She made her purchase with a lot of thought, carefully researching more than a dozen cars in her price range and segment. This was the car she ultimately fell in love with, and brought home to show off to her friends amid much Ooohing and Aaahing, as we all admired its fancy new features and that wonderful new-car smell - and wonderfully absent of any stains or old-kid odors.
It was gorgeous from every angle, from its spotless interior to its shiny new paint -- but it had one tiny flaw. After admiring its new-car beauty, I asked her carefully whether she had noticed the tiny little dent on the quarter panel behind the rear wheel.
"Yeah, the dealership is going to smooth that out for me. It's going back next week," my friend responded. I joked with her about how fortunate she was that her first dent came factory installed.
It reminded me of something I used to say about my second Honda. My husband and I bought it just before we were married in 1988. It had square boxy bumpers, and -- like almost every other 1988 Accord -- it had a tiny little scratch on the outmost front passenger bumper corner. (Some of them also had them on the outmost rear passenger bumper corner.) I guess it was something about their boxy design that required their owners to learn their measurements by braile, but I used to tell my friends that so many Honda Accords had those familiar scratches, that they must have come factory installed.
Anyhow, I digress, but only slightly.
So, just a couple months after her factory-installed dent was repaired, Carrie was involved in a small fender bender. Apparently, she and another driver were aiming for the place in the same lane at the same time, and their bumpers touched, resulting in a small scrape on her fender, and breaking a piece of trim. Very near the location of her first dent.
The gorgeous SUV was still only a few months old, so she promptly had the damage repaired, preserving her beloved car's spotless appearance. A large number of insurance forms followed, contributing an emotional scar to replace the physical one she had removed from the vehicle.
Not a month had passed before I received a phone call from my friend. "You won't believe what happened to me today!" I laughingly joked: "Somebody else hit your car?" She scolded me, "Please don't laugh! My beautiful car was rear-ended today! I was stopped at a red light. All I could do was watch him coming at me in the rear-view mirror chanting 'please stop please stop please stop." He didn't get stopped in time, and now the rear hatch of her lovely Pilot is bashed in.
This dent is MUCH bigger than the last one. She said that filling out the abundance of insurance forms was causing her hand to cramp. And that she's afraid to drive, in case somebody else might bump into her car.
We joked over coffee the other day about the progression from the tiny little factory-installed bump to a bash so big it required replacing the entire hatch. I told her I thought her car was cursed. That she should never have fixed the first dent. That there was a reason it was there in the first place. That her car WANTED to be dented.
I hold my current own Honda up as an example. Now approaching 150,000 miles, my Accord has its own collection of war wounds. None of them were factory installed; most of them were put there by other drivers, but I did inflict a few of them myself: A puncture on the front bumper from when I bashed into a tow truck (I got lucky with that one). A dent on the driver's side when some guy changed lanes into me, pushing me up over a curb and off the road and then denied ever making contact with me. Another dent from some guy who tee-boned me when backed out of a parking spot but didn't look behind him first. My deductible is so high, I can't afford to fix them, so I leave my car as it is. I'm actually a very good driver, though for all its little dents, my car certainly doesn't appear it. I believe my car also WANTS to be dented.
We shared a good laugh about the subject, and went on our way, but I've been thinking about it ever since. I don't want to jinx my friend, but I know we're both wondering how big the next dent will be.
Have you ever owned a car that you thought was cursed? Share your stories here, and at www.carblabber.com
Brandy A. Schaffels
Contributing editor, and connoisseur of car contact.
Read more about my dented car at www.askpatty.com/carblabber