The Sad Saga of my Car with Happy Ending (so far)

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by Jan Seides
Thursday 25th June, 2009, 3:43am

Two months ago, I had a ’92 Honda Accord Stationwagon that I’d been driving for 16 years. It was probably the best car I’d ever owned up to that point. It never left me stranded anywhere, was big enough for all my musical equipment no matter what the gig needed, and was comfortable to drive for a person of my small stature. I drove it from Austin to New York several times, to California twice, to Utah, and to Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota each a couple of times. And lots of places in between. It got great mileage.


Late in 2007, I was going to the airport to pick up my husband, Andy, and the brakes went out just as I got to the Arrivals door. Fortunately, I had my hand on the handbrake when it happened, and all was well, but we waited for 4 hours at the airport for the wrecker to come and pick up my poor beast. After that, it was hard to feel safe and secure in my car, and though I drove it to Dallas once (200 miles), I just couldn’t bring myself to put it on the road for any real distance. So I stopped touring and started thinking about “my new car”, a total pipedream at that point, because what I wanted was a $23,000 Toyota Prius, and who had that kind of money?!

I inherited some money about a year later, in a variety of market funds, and I thought, when it got to a certain point, I would take some money out and pay cash for my Prius. Then the bottom fell out of the economy and my Prius receded into the distance. The first month of economic trouble, I lost exactly $23,000!

So now it’s two years later, and if I went on the road, it was in our truck (20 miles to the gallon) or in a rented car (22 miles to the gallon, it turned out). And one day I was driving in Austin, when my car got hit in an intersection by someone who was distracted and not paying enough attention. Since the car was so old, their insurance company decided to declare it a total loss, and gave me enough money to make a down-payment on a used Prius – the car of my dreams – which I got (after some searching) for $17,000. It was in perfect shape (I had it checked by professionals) and it was blue (my favorite color) and it was love at first sight.


 One month after that, it was parked on a wide boulevard, and I was inside a house teaching piano to one of my students. I heard a bang at one point, but I thought it was a door slamming inside the house, and since I’m in other people’s houses, I have trained myself to ignore stuff like that. A few minutes later, I happened to look out the glass door, and I said to my student, “Margaret, does it look like I have a flat tire?” to which she replied, “When did you get that dent?”

Out the door I flew, and sure enough the rear side above the tire of my beautiful blue Prius was bashed in. And no sign of the driver that did it.

Turned out, both Margaret’s dad and one of the neighbors gave chase when the culprit left the scene. The neighbor caught up with him. Thanks, Mark, I am forever grateful. Police were called, much drama ensued, I was totally bummed. I’d had my car exactly one month that day. But the guy was insured, and I took the neighbor a bottle of wine, and my car went to the shop.


(While I was in the rental car waiting to get mine back, by the way, a woman backed into me in a parking lot.  Small damage – paint scrape mostly. I’ll let you imagine how I felt!)


I got my Prius back last Thursday. I can’t detect any trace of the damage, and it even drives exactly like it did before it got hit. And the insurance company told me if I did notice anything to just give them a call, and they’d take care of it.


(Insert sigh of relief here)


I can’t wait to get back on the road!


Category: This ‘n’ That

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