It seems like I’m frequently explaining why I haven’t updated this in awhile, and that would be because I often am. Fortunately I can explain this one with a good story.

So I was driving home alone from church early last month, barely awake and not feeling much like being out of bed, when I found myself driving my little white Mitsubishi Mirage behind a massive black SUV. We were in the middle lane in front of the SeaTac Mall, not a spot you usually make sudden stops in. The SUV made a quick stop, it was unexpected but not fast enough that I couldn’t come to a stop well behind her. It was fast enough that I glanced in the rear view mirror to see if the driver behind me was also stopping. Time slowed down as I realized that the car behind me wasn’t even slowing down, but was coming up to the rear at a rapid clip. I had just enough time to say “Oh no…” before the impact. I made some kind of an ARRGH grunting noise (I’ve never screamed in my life) as my car shook sideways and flew into the SUV in front of me.

I was conscious through the whole thing and I felt my arm hit something, then everything came to a halt. I got my senses back and saw that the hood was popped open, smoke was rising and something smelled like it was burning. I threw the car into park and dived out, thinking something might blow. I found out afterward that the smoke was steam and the burning smell was from the airbag, and now that I know I can keep that in mind for next time. I ended up on the sidewalk looking at the accident, confused and crying for some reason, and was able to get a good look at the car. The front was bad but the back was a disaster, the trunk was mashed in and crumpled and the rear bumper was lying on the ground several yards away. I rubbed my arm a lot checking to see if it was broken. It wasn’t, just severely bruised from the airbag.

A guy several years younger than me came over and told me he was a volunteer firefighter. He asked me my age and I gave him the wrong age. He called the police for us and later disappeared. The driver who had stopped unexpectedly turned out to be a small immigrant woman driving her mother and her children, she didn’t speak English fluently and although she walked out to check her car before the paramedics arrived she let them take her to the hospital on a stretcher. I marvel at some people’s wealth of spare time that they don’t mind going to the hospital on a Sunday for minor injuries. I declined going to the emergency room, and I was driving the other car later that afternoon. The driver behind me had had his breaks worked on recently and they failed, which explains the severity of the impact. Only a few weeks after the Mirage had been repaired after a rear-ending on 405, it was completely unsalvagable. Totalled once and for all.

So we’ve spent the last month going through the hoops it takes to get someone else’s insurance to pay off a totalled car.

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