A Year Ago

A Year Ago

A year ago, today, my life was turned upside down.

I had just watched my mom get remarried after having been with my dad for 25 years. I was driving over to see my dad around 930pm. His driveway butts up to a busy street on which I had been rear-ended badly not six months earlier, so I drove a half-block past his house to make a left turn onto a side street and then turn around.

I was slowing and downshifting to make the left turn from the center turning lane when I heard loud, screeching tires. I had no idea where they were coming from until I was slammed into head-on.

When I opened my eyes again, I was facing oncoming traffic three lanes over on the other side of the street. My horn was blaring. I had glass and airbag dust in my mouth and nose, and the smell of gunpowder was overwhelming. I had to get out. My driver’s door wouldn’t open and I panicked. I started to roll down the window, ready to crawl out if necessary. Then I took a breath, climbed over my gearshift and got out the passenger side.

I stood by my dear, demolished MINI Cooper and saw a man walking toward me from his vehicle, now stalled in someone’s yard just beyond my car.

He got very close to me and I saw blood running down his face. He asked if I was okay. I said, no. He walked away and got back in his vehicle.

The neighbor whose evening we’d disturbed was now outside; she followed the man back to his car and then came over to see if I was okay.

“Did you smell the alcohol on his breath?” No, I can’t smell anything but gunpowder, still. “I called the ambulance.” Thank you.

She started walking back behind his vehicle and I stopped her. He’s gonna back up! I shouted. Instead, he drove forward through the yard and down the street, away from the accident. Away from me. And this.

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It was then that I realized I was dripping blood onto this woman’s driveway. It was coming from my left hand. I was also spitting it out with the powder and glass that refused to get out of my mouth.

A couple passersby had stopped at this point. I had started to walk the two houses to my dad’s house when I decided against it. I asked one of the men who stopped if I could borrow his mobile phone because mine was somewhere in my car.
I called my dad, do you hear the horn? “What?” Can’t you hear the horn blaring outside? I’ve been in an accident!

I was mad. I was frustrated. I was in shock.

People kept trying to get me to sit down. I had specks of sparkling glass coating my arms, my face, my clothes. I had blood droplets on my jeans. My new jeans. Go figure.

The police, fire engine, and ambulance arrived. I asked a fireman to retrieve my phone, another to turn off my damn horn. I remember thinking to myself to be very polite and call them ‘sir,’ the policemen ‘officer.’

In the ambulance, the paramedic was heartbreakingly gentle as he wiped the glass from my arms and feet with a wet paper towel while I called my mom, just a few hours into her honeymoon. She frantically asked if she should come home and I told her no, I was alright; I’d be alright. She really wanted to come home, but I wouldn’t let her.

After the phone call, the paramedic told me that I had a great attitude, considering.

They took me to the hospital where I had x-rays on my hands, chest, torso, knees, and feet. My chest took the blow from the airbag and seatbelt, my left hand had a laceration on the middle finger from the broken windshield and the heel of my right hand had a contusion from the gear shift and imbedded glass; my knees hit the dashboard and my feet had been depressing the clutch and the brake. My right foot was the worst with horrible swelling, contusions, and two fractured toes. I couldn’t walk.

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I got stitches on my middle finger, which I quickly called Frankenfinger. I got a prescription for pain meds. Then I quickly got a sense of my physical pain and mental trauma.

Getting into dad’s truck wasn’t very fun, but the drive home might have been worse. I wouldn’t let him turn right on red in an intersection. I wanted him to go about 10mph under the speed limit. I gripped the door handle so tight, my knuckles were white. Suddenly, I was afraid to be in a vehicle.

Then it wasn’t just being in a vehicle that scared me. It was not being able to walk. It was my heart stopping when I heard screeching tires or a horn outside my apartment. It was checking the lock on my door three times before bed, knowing I wouldn’t be able to fight back or defend myself if someone were to break in because I was already hurt. It was needing everyone to text me when they made it somewhere, saying ‘drive safe’ like it was a desperate plea, not just a suggestion. I was sure everyone I knew and loved was going to be in a car accident. It was being so angry. So. angry. Seeing my car at the impound was… an experience. Now it was in broad daylight.

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A year later, I still have anxiety: I worry about my boyfriend driving to and from work, I worry about him crossing the street to take the dog out at night. I don’t trust anyone on the road. I never drove on dad’s street again. I still don’t like hearing screeching tires or horns. Every time I come to a light, I have to keep myself from watching the rear-view mirror. I’m constantly ready for evasive maneuvers. I finally had to accept the fact that if I’m meant to die in my car, I’m meant to die in my car. I could have died that night, but I didn’t. I walked away. I lived, and now I’m living. I owe all thanks to God and my MINI, my dear British Chap who sacrificed himself for me.

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I’ve got a new MINI now. I call him Richard. I’m living with my wonderful boyfriend, the man I was lucky enough to live to meet. We moved up to Saint Paul and got the cutest puppy in the world, Olive Adventure. I’m still seeing a chiropractor for my neck and back, my fractured toes still give me trouble every now and then when I run or exercise. I can’t do much on my knees. My chest bones pop occasionally. And I’ve still got my Frankenfinger.

As for the driver, well, he got a bit of punishment after sobering up in jail that night.

I wonder if he’ll think about me today around 930pm.

He’ll be thinking about me soon enough when I start recouping damages.

Richard, My Darling

Richard, My Darling

After all the fruitless searches (thanks, Peter Gabriel), the frustration with MINI of Alexandria in Virginia (thanks, ‘salesman,’ for calling me back jerking me around and completely blowing me off), and the otherwise mentally-crippling anxiety (thanks, driver-at-fault), I found and bought the perfect MINI Cooper.

In the end, it was the first one I’d bookmarked. Of course.

I came across this blue beauty at MINI of Loveland in Colorado and really liked the look of it… minus the non-black wheels and the lack of sunroof and lack of heated seats. It was almost 100% what I wanted, but I wasn’t going to the whole settling predicament.

I had also found a nigh-perfect one in Virginia that ended up being sold right out from under me as I was speaking to the salesman about transport prices. The funniest thing was when someone from their customer relations department called me:
Guy: “I was wondering if you’d like to come out today or tomorrow to test drive something.”
Me: “Um, I’m in Omaha, Nebraska, so… no?”
Guy: “Oh, okay, (blah blah) Is there a time later this week you’d like to come out and take a look at our inventory?”
Me: “…. No. As I’m in OMAHA, NEBRASKA and I will not be booking a flight to Virginia, where you are, to test drive a vehicle I’ve been driving for the past four years.”
Guy: “Oh, okay, I totally get that. (Me thinking: Do you?) What can we do to earn your business?”
Me: “Well, you would have had my business already, but your salesman sold the car I wanted right out from under me, so I’ll be finding a MINI elsewhere.”
Guy: “Okay, well, please let us know if we can (blah blah blah).”

Yeah, no. I also got two calls from an English salesman (I see your strategy, MINI of Alexandria) assuring me that they’re looking all over for a MINI for me and they’re checking the auction list because they have the biggest used inventory in the country la-di-dah. Well, *checks watch* I wonder how long that list is, because, uh, I still haven’t heard back. Stay tuned to see if they ever find me a car!

Anyway. After all that garbage, I went back to the one in Colorado. The day I found it, I sent an email through their website asking some details and got a call from a salesman within the hour. It was late, even; it was like, past 6pm. Dave Parent of MINI of Loveland called me during an ice cream social they were having – yeah, the dealership was having an ice cream social – to tell me about the car and ask me some questions, etc. After that call, I already had an emotional attachment to this place and this car. I kept the tab up on my browser for days.

We talked again, and I told him the only thing kind of holding me up is the fact that it doesn’t have black wheels; by the time I spend the money buying black wheels, it’ll be way over my budget. He goes, “Why don’t I see if another MINI on the lot can swap wheels with it.” I was like, dude, if you can do that, it’ll be my MINI.

So a couple days later, he calls me back and tells me he wasn’t able to swap wheels without it significantly changing the sticker price, which I understood. This was after the MINI of Alexandria ridiculousness and I’d about had it. I told him the only other thing I wanted on that car was a luggage rack. He said, “I’ll put it on myself.”

Within ten minutes or so, I’d told him to do that and have it on by the next evening because I’ll drive down to get it myself. I could have had it transported for about $500, but where’s the adventure in that? Plus, I’m too damn impatient.

The next day (see, impatient), dad and I rented a car and set out for Colorado. This was the first time I’d been behind the wheel of a car since my accident (so, about forty-one days at this point), and I looked like this:
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The drive there went smoothly. There was quite a bit of anxiety to overcome, but luckily it was all interstate. The trees were changing colors and the weather was gorgeous. It was the perfect day for this journey. Then we encountered 5 o’clock traffic upon entering Greeley, which I hated. I was totally exhausted by the time we made it to Loveland.

But, boy, did MINI of Loveland totally rejuvenate me. That place is like a toy store to me. There are so many fun things and beautiful MINIs. The people are all great and enthusiastic. No one could believe I walked away from my accident and even asked to use the photos to show at meetings and to customers. Apparently, I’ve already helped sell a couple cars to people who worry about the small size of the MINI being unsafe. That makes me feel good.

I really wanted to cry right there at the sales desk. I’d just accomplished such a daunting task and overcome so many fears. I knew I was heading toward my freedom. I was heading toward the key to putting this awful experience and time behind me. It was going to be worth it. And my salesman and finance gal couldn’t have made the process any easier once I got there. They stayed past close and helped us into the MINI and directed us to an awesome BBQ place just down the road.

The next day, dad and I got up and had breakfast at the hotel. We were going to pop over to Estes Park to see the hotel from The Shining, but it was so foggy. Instead, we hit the road and took a detour through Wyoming, up to Alliance, Nebraska. I had never been in Wyoming and I had never been as far northwest in Nebraska. The drive through Scotts Bluff actually took my breath away – I couldn’t believe the land formations and valleys and trees. Who knew we had such a diverse landscape! In Alliance, we ate at a cute little diner off of Main Street and then popped over to see Carhenge.

Yes, like Stonehenge.
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I’d never seen it, so it was amazing. Dad and I spent some time geeking out, and then continued on home. Of course, with such a detour, we ended up with part of our drive past sunset. I hadn’t driven in the dark since the accident. Then we encountered some emergency closure of I-80 and had to squeeze into a caravan of semi trucks with trailers on a two-lane highway through a bunch of small towns. We were stop-and-go, and I was constantly worried the truck behind me wouldn’t stop in time, and at one point on the two-lane highway I randomly noticed how close opposite traffic was (I missed the median and four-lane interstate). There were a few times where my heart may have stopped.

We made it home safely and upon backing into my garage, I broke down. I did, not the car. I sat in my car and had a little weep. I stroked the steering wheel and tenderly caressed the dashboard and ran my fingertips over the MINI wings emblem. No joke. I didn’t know when I’d be back in a MINI Cooper. Let alone one so perfect for me. I didn’t know when I’d be driving again. I didn’t know how I’d do driving again. I made myself drive to Loveland, not only for the fun of it, but as a test. One I had no other option but to pass. And no matter how the drive there went, I had to turn around and drive right back. I was so proud of myself. I’d done it. And now I had him. My MINI. My darling. My Richard. Yes, that’s his name: Richard.

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It’s been a couple weeks now that I’ve had him. I’ve got my C. Friis rally sticker on the back driver’s-side window, I’ve got the grille badges on: a black, white, and grey Union Jack and then the Sir Alec quote, “I don’t want bloody women driving my car.” Those were the two I’d had on my British Chap; the grille, badges, and my license plate disappeared in the accident. He’s taken me to a friend’s wedding and to Target (oh lawdy, how I had missed going to Target) and to Starbucks. He whips ’round the roundabouts and is just a total stunner. I really couldn’t be happier with him.

Alas, I’m still incredibly anxious while driving. I have been doing my best to keep my eyes fixed ahead and not on the rear view window when I’ve come to a stop and I know someone is coming up behind me. Every car coming opposite is going to swerve at the last minute and hit me, I just know it. Honestly, the only way I’ve been able to get around that is to just resign to the fact that if that’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. And I’ll be hurt again or I could die. And my car will be wrecked again and I’ll have to start all over again.

Everyone says because I’ve been hit twice, statistically it won’t happen again. I almost failed statistics, so I’m not really sure I can grasp that logic. I think, if anything, it’s even more likely to happen again. I feel like a target. The dumb motherfucker who decided drinking and driving was a good idea that night sought me out. and now I feel like a target. Everyone is going to hit me and I don’t trust anyone. That person is going to decide they want that exit and they’re going to side-swipe me at the last minute. That person isn’t going to see me and they’re going to send me into the guard rail. That person is going to drop something and jerk the wheel and hit me head-on.

There was one day, though. One day since I’ve been back from Loveland, I went for a drive. Just to drive. Like I used to. I took Richard to Ponca Hills, my old neighborhood. I took him through the hills and around the bends and past my home that will always be my home. I took him out on I-680 and saw the trees looking like autumn and the sun was shining and I felt like myself again. Just for a moment. I hadn’t felt like me in a long time. I was on my way back.

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I am on my way back.

Settling Would Be Losing

It’s been a month since the accident.

I still can’t walk properly. I can’t roll through a step like one does when, well, walking. I can’t put 100% weight on my right foot, nor curl my toes all the way, nor put weight on the ball of my foot.  And all of that means that I wouldn’t be able to properly press the accelerator nor brake.

And anyway, my left wrist is still in pain/weak, so I wouldn’t have the best control of the wheel.

I’m close, but I’m not there yet.

In the mean time, I’ve been going through different thoughts regarding a new car.

First, I wanted a used one and then a classic one: come out of this shitty situation with two vehicles I love and say, fuck you, I came out of this better than I went in and you didn’t kill my spirit or love for cars.

Then I realized that dealer trades regarding used vehicles aren’t as easy as with new vehicles, so I’d have to deal with a different MINI dealership. For the sake of ease and time and familiarity, I didn’t want to do that. Plus, a Classic MINI Cooper isn’t going to have the protection and safety that I’ll desperately crave at this point. If I didn’t feel safe driving it, I wouldn’t enjoy driving it, and then it would just sit in the garage. And I didn’t want that.

I reluctantly scrapped that idea.

The 2014/2015 MINI Coopers have this amazingly badass feature of a red start/stop toggle switch a la fighter jets, and as soon as I saw that feature come out, I was in love. So I thought, okay, easy, I’ll just get a 2014 then. Why not?

Upon further review, that’s about the only new feature of the 2014s that I like. I know, I know, blasphemy.

I don’t know. There’s just something about the 2014s and 2015s that don’t even scream MINI to me. They’ve got so many new buttons and features inside and I’d feel like I was in an entirely different car. The window switches and locks are on the doors instead of the center console, the grille is strange, the body of the car has a slope; I don’t know. It just looks and feels too different.

Okay, so I’ll just get a new 2013.

If only it were that simple.

I’ve been to about 200 MINI websites tonight alone – New Inventory, 2013, Manual, S Hardtop. NOT orange or yellow. Not British Racing Green again. How about Ice Blue? Black wheels, please. Moonroof. Plain interior – or at least not some weird plaid cloth upholstery.

As I continue to find nothing (or at least hardly anything), I’m wondering if I shouldn’t just ‘settle’ for a 2014. (Sounds ridiculous). It would be so much easier – every MINI dealer has a ton of new 2014s. Then I take one look at the grille, the body, and the interior and I just can’t.

Maybe if I sat in one, I’d feel differently? But I don’t think so.

It’s just so discouraging. I loathe being in this situation in the first place. I know a few people have been like, “hey, who gets two new cars in a year?” Yeah, okay, if it were my choice to do that, sure. But no. I’ve had two beautiful cars- MY beautiful cars taken away from me. I didn’t choose to be doing this. Again.

I only have a month to get a car back on my insurance policy. Anything I find will be in another state and I’ll have to have it transported here.

The only thing that will keep me from settling will be the fact that I deserve to get everything I want. I can’t let this dumb asshole’s horrible decision to drive drunk keep me from getting a vehicle I’ll be less than perfectly happy with. I was perfectly happy before and I should be that way again.

Sigh. Fuckin’ A.

An Ode to MINI Cooper

An Ode to MINI Cooper

Dear MINI,

I apologize in advance for my verbosity and the lengthiness of this letter, but I think it’s true that when one is passionate about something, one can go on forever about that something. And this something is really something. Or something.

I grew up a huge fan of The Beatles and also VW Beetles. But then a teenier and unbearably cuter car rolled into view: The MINI Cooper. I was instantly enamored. My seventh grade boyfriend even got me a mini yellow MINI model for my church confirmation. I still have it yet today.

When I turned sixteen, my lovely Grammy gave me her ’96 Chrysler Concorde. It was a fair bit longer than a yacht. My parents used that as part of a trade-in for my younger brother’s first vehicle (still not over it), so I was left carless. As much as I begged and pleaded with my aunt, the designated coinpurse, I was not allowed to get my coveted MINI Cooper as they were “small and unsafe.”

‘Sputtering’ doesn’t begin to cover my reaction to those words. 

I ended up with a Dodge Caliber, which was… not a MINI. But I got a job at a car dealership in town and always kept an eye on the inventory.

One day, a co-worker told me that someone had just traded in a MINI Cooper hardtop to another location. I hadn’t even seen it, but I had it sent up. I’m pretty sure that was that salesman’s easiest, quickest sale to date.

I loved that MINI. It was black and had broad, red stripes up the bonnet, across the roof, and down the boot. I found blue ones online and had the red ones replaced. I bought ridiculously huge fog lamps for the grille and had a push-pull, choke-like knob installed to turn those on and off. I bought an S chrome gas cap to replace the non-S gastank door. It was a beauty, and, oh, it was so mine.

Then, as it happens, I got into (read: obsessed) the BBC show Sherlock. Shortly thereafter, and I don’t even know how I found this (read: I was probably google-searching any and all things Sherlock Holmes), I saw that MINI had a Baker Street Edition. 

Wat?(son)

I had to have it. 

I went straight to the local dealer, MINI of Omaha, met with the most perfect saleswoman and kindred spirit, Kim, and I probably had the Baker Street Edition ordered that same day.

Saying goodbye to my first MINI was tough. I got emotional right there in the parking lot. I knew it would be going to a good home and an excellent driver who would have even more fun with it than I did. I’ve yet to see it around town, but I’m still hoping to someday.

The Baker Street, though, woof. What a beauty. The Rooftop Grey paint, the dapper-cut bonnet stripes, the door sills, the door scuttles, the dash panel, the floor mats, the seat fabric and stitching, oh, God, I’m drooling just thinking about it. Utterly gorgeous. And don’t even get me started on the delivery process, oh, too late:

When one orders a MINI directly from Oxford, one gets to track their baby, and that’s not even my word, online. Like a package. Like a delightful bundle of joy. There is no stone left unturned by MINI. They literally think of everything and everything is bespoke and simply perfection. But yes, you get to watch your baby being ‘born’ and when it’s having its last check-up and when it’s making its way across the pond and when it reaches dry land.. It’s just a wonder to behold. 

Now I’m getting emotional again.

Anyway, that MINI was my pride and joy and I planned on having it until it couldn’t tick over any more miles.

That is, until, that feat was made impossible. 

One night in February of this year, I was driving to see my dad. His driveway leads out onto a busy street, so it’s sometimes nerve-wracking to park in it. This night, as with every night, I signaled my turn from at least two blocks away. As I was slowing and turning into his driveway, I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw headlights coming quickly right for me. I thought, “they’ll see me, they’ll see me, oh my God, they aren’t going to stop!” and I went to press the accelerator. The last thought I had as I stepped on the gas pedal was, “this’ll be a narrow miss.” 

It wasn’t.

If you’ve never been in a car accident, you won’t know what I’m talking about; and if you’ve seen one on TV or in a film, you still won’t know what I’m talking about; but there is a noise unlike any other. Louder than I can explain. I can still hear it if I think about it. 

A suburban rear-ended me going about 45mph which swiftly sent me skidding in the snow and T-boning into a utility pole in my dad’s yard. 

In my daze, I tried to open my door and it wouldn’t open. I then panicked a bit and shoved into it a few times. All of a sudden, it was like someone had reached in and lifted me over my gearshift, across the passenger seat, and out the door. To this day, I don’t remember how I got out so easily that way. 

I walked around to the driver’s side of my MINI and my heart absolutely broke. I couldn’t even feel any pain other than that, between the adrenaline, the shock, and the anger. When the driver of the suburban got out, a teenage girl, I yelled at her. “I am so fucking pissed off at you!” 

My MINI, my baby, which I was supposed to have forever, was gone. But I was alive. And I was alive because of my MINI. The curtain airbags kept my head from crashing right into the window, the seatbelt kept me from going anywhere. I was able to walk away. I sustained a bruised and very sore right side, a stiff neck, and anxiety. The MINI sustained quite a bit more.

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You can see how deeply the pole lodged. It still hurts to look at these.

It took a long time to get over, and I’m not particularly over it. It was a loss. It was also a loss of some of my confidence in driving. I’ve always loved driving. I go for drives to calm down or just for fun. After this accident, any time I would pull up to a stoplight or stopsign or anywhere someone would have to stop behind me, my eyes would be glued to my rear view mirror, pleading with everything I had that the person would see me and stop. Even in broad daylight. There were a few times I actually began to take evasive action and pull to the side because I thought, for sure, this person isn’t going to stop. 

Now, with insurance and the rental car and having a job, I knew I couldn’t wait the month or so to replace my baby with another Baker Street, so I had to go for something else. Which was also very difficult. Part of me wanted desperately to just have it back. Go back to the way things were. Start fresh. But then part of me knew it wouldn’t be the same, even if it was physically the same down to the last V on the dash.

I’d only had her for a year. And in that year, she was kept in a garage for three months while I was living in London. I hated that I’d missed out on those three months of driving her. She was truly my dream car.

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When the Clubman came out years ago, I’d always loved the idea of the barn doors. They were adorable and fun, not to mention totally handy and perfect for when you’ve got your shopping and can’t manage a hatch. 

The Clubman came to mind when I had to look for a new car. And because I couldn’t possibly drive anything else, obviously, I was back at MINI of Omaha.

I also thought, sort of as an homage, I’d get it in British Racing Green. I’d actually painted my nails that color as I was in mourning. I warned you: passionate.

MINI of Omaha found me a 2014 British Racing Green Clubman, manual (because how could I do anything else), brand new, with leatherette heated seats, a panoramic moon roof; pretty much everything I wanted besides the black wheels and bonnet stripes. Which was fine, I could take care of those things later.

They got it in for me and it was beautiful. It was hard after the Baker Street, but I grew to love my new MINI, of course. Especially when I went in to order bonnet stripes and I noticed that I could get Baker Street Edition bonnet stripes… Ohhhh, boy. I couldn’t contain my excitement at the parts counter. And when they were installed? Wow. It was perfect. The perfect combination. 

I had a Black Jack rear view mirror cover and a Black Jack grille badge to match. I also installed another grille badge that had a quote from Sir Alec himself, “I don’t want bloody women driving my cars.” It was all coming together to be my little British Chappy.

Then this past Saturday, 30th of August, just hours after my mom’s wedding, I was driving to dad’s – this may sound familiar – and as I neared his driveway, I noticed that his friend had parked a bit crooked and if I parked behind him, I’d have to let him out eventually. For the sake of ease and laziness, I decided parking on the side street would be best. 

There was not another side street to the west until further south, so I moved over to get into the center turning lane to take a turn eastward. As I was slowing, downshifting, and moving into the center turn lane, no sooner had I done so that I heard loud, drawn-out screeching of tires. I couldn’t see anything, so I had no idea what was coming until it hit me head-on.

The impact was hard and loud, but luckily I had no time to react, otherwise I would have tensed up. When I came to a stop, I was facing the opposite direction on the opposite side of the street. My horn was blaring, the airbag had gone off and the windshield had shattered. I had glass and airbag residue in my mouth. I tried to open my driver’s door and it wouldn’t open. In my panic, I rolled down the window and was prepared to climb out. Thankfully, I didn’t even attempt it, and I crawled across the gearshift and passenger seat to get out that way. Even in my state, thinking, “this is harder than last time.”

I walked around the back of the car because the horn was just so loud. I couldn’t even look back at it. My left hand was bleeding and I could hardly walk, but I almost started to walk the couple houses to my dad’s before I thought better of it. Luckily, there were, what seemed like, about six witnesses who took care of calling the police and getting the driver’s license plate number and letting me phone my dad. I remember asking, “do you hear the horn? I was in an accident.” He half-shouted, what?! and I was so upset and furious that I wasn’t thinking clearly. I shouted back, “CAN’T YOU HEAR THE HORN? Just come down the street toward the horn!”

For the sake of things to come, I won’t go any further with the details, but I will repeat what the responding officer told me: When the tow truck came to pick up my car as I was taken to the hospital, the tow truck driver thought he was picking up a fatality. That told me exactly how bad it looked.

I mean, I knew it was bad. It was a head-on collision with a drunk driver. I couldn’t put weight on my right foot, I had a laceration requiring stitches on my left middle finger and couldn’t use my left arm – it took the airbag in less than a stride and my chest took the rest of it – I had cuts and glass all over me. Amazingly, the x-rays were negative for breaks in my foot, hand, and chest; I had no breaks anywhere else. I am, however, mottled with bruises and contusions, and in pain just about everywhere. 

But I’m alive.

I didn’t actually see photos of my car until the next day. Then not in person until I had to go to the impound lot to get my personal items.

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My British Chap saved my life. MINI saved my life again.

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So, in ready conclusion, it is with my whole heart that I say: Thank you, MINI. I would not be here today if it weren’t for your brilliant engineering and attention to safety. There was a reason I was inexorably drawn to your little cars, what, with their bulldog stance and protective snarl. You better believe that as soon as I can physically and psychologically get behind the wheel again, I will be back, yet again, at MINI of Omaha. How could I possibly drive anything else.

Sincerely and loyally yours,

Christina Friis, MINI Owner.

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Rollercoaster

I’m very much looking forward to writing about mom’s wedding on Saturday.
It was a wonderful day and I was in a sated mood.
That is, until, I drove to dad’s around 9pm and was struck head-on by a drunk driver.
When I can use two hands to type, I’ll write about that, too. (I had a deep laceration on my left middle finger which required stitches, so I don’t have the best mobility at the moment).

In the mean time, for the love of God, PLEASE don’t fucking drink and drive. Too many people die as a result and I, very easily, could have been one of them.

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Really Making Me Pay For It

On the 18th, I received an email from the total loss department of Ameriprise saying that I need to sign/have notarized a Power of Attorney. Okay, great; um, why? The email didn’t explain anything, so I had to respond and ask (so that the company can pay it off for me and take title, etc, wonderful). It also said that I’d be getting the POA in the mail. As soon as I get it back to them, they can issue my settlement check ‘within two or three days.’ It got here yesterday and I mailed it back today. 

Today.. why does ‘today’ ring a bell… Oh yeah. Because my rental car is due back today. 

That means not only was I allowed just three days to find a new car – obviously ruling out ordering a new MINI from Oxford, which would have been ideal, but I can’t use (what’s left of) the settlement (after paying off my previous loan) because I won’t get that until they have the POA… which they didn’t send me until I had one day left of my rental.

I’ll be completely honest, I am embarrassingly blessed in that I am able to get a new car without waiting for the settlement, and I could technically get another/keep this rental car for another few days if I need to do so (which I’ll likely need to do); however, I reckon that the majority of people who get their vehicles totaled wouldn’t be able to turn around and buy a new car before the process is complete. 

I asked if the rental could be extended and apparently they have to follow guidelines, so, no. My new car is coming from Wisconsin – it’s on its way. Still. The dealership closes at 6pm, so that leaves an hour and a half yet today. It’s open tomorrow 830am-6pm, so if I have to get a ride from someone, I guess I’ll have to deal with that. Again, I’m lucky that I have plenty of people to help me out and I’m lucky that I’m jobless – hell, I wouldn’t have been able to do half as much as I’ve done if I had a 9-5 job. It’s hard for me to bitch about this (yet, clearly not) when I’ve got it easier than most, but I can’t imagine how absolutely difficult and distressing this would be for someone with a full-time job, kids, limited budget, and a shitload of other responsibilities. It’s ludicrous. 

MINI have been the only people to seem to have any tact in this. I know everyone at Ameriprise is just doing his/her job and I’m sure it’s not a fun one – hopefully my charming disposition has made it easy, but I don’t get much sympathy. I know I sound needy. While Ameriprise is like, ‘was there any damage to the pole,’ MINI are like ‘we are so sorry, we understand this is a difficult time for you.’ 

Oh, and Ameriprise had the fucking gall to include a letter about buying a Ford. Are you shitting me?

Where was I going with this? Ah, yes. 

So this POA I had to sign/have notarized and overnight back: Again, blessed to know a ton of notaries due to my previous employer. I didn’t have to go to a bank or mess around, I just went to see a friend about a stamp. Then they say, you can either mail the shit back with this envelope, or AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE, overnight it back to us… but keep in mind that the sooner we get the POA, the sooner we can issue the settlement check. Okay, so, just short of twisting my arm, but a bit of coercion nonetheless. 

As I have an hour and twenty left on my rental, I decided to FedEx it overnight. To get it to Wisconsin at 8am, it would have been around $90. I opted for the much smarter 1030am at $50. And before 6pm today, I’ll have spent another however much to get another rental car. FFS.

I might have been a bit of a cock to get out of my car and yell at the girl who destroyed it, but I had no idea just how much of an inconvenience I was about to face. 

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