I would like to think that people are inherently good. That, unlike the world-view held by some, everyone on Earth is not out to screw you over. I think that people, given the choice between being malicious and wicked or kind and helpful, will choose kind and helpful. Generally. I say this because the people I know are nice people. They are friendly unless given a reason to behave otherwise, say, like if your name is Treasure. I mean, COME ON. Who can be nice to someone named Treasure?! I know. But overall, the people in my life are good-hearted individuals who will help a person in need, avoid suicidal squirrels that try to kill themselves under their cars, and who love dogs. Really—never trust someone who doesn’t love dogs. That is just weird. Apparently, though, I guess I don’t know enough people.
A woman hit my car last week, in the parking garage at my office. She left a card, which was nice, but I am starting to think the only reason she did was because it happened IN the parking garage and that this woman truly has no moral center and would have just left my poor car, scratches and all, if it hadn't been right outside our building.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
The resolution to the unprovoked attack on my car actually started out kind of marvelously AWESOME. My company has 2 reserved spots in the parking garage. My boss parks in one and the other was originally intended for me. I get to the office between 7:40 and 8 every morning, when there are lots and lots of open spots, so I usually just take one of those and let someone else from my office who arrives later have the reserved spot. The spots I park in are small, but then again so is my car, and so are most of the other cars in our parking garage. So on the day of said car attack I park for the morning, go out to lunch around 1, and then drive back into the parking garage. Someone had taken my morning spot so I cruised up to the second level where our reserved spots are and parked in one of them. It is important to note here that the car to right of me, on the side that the damage was sustained, was now my bosses car which is a big ass RED Nissan.
Got that? Red. Ok. Just making sure you’re still following.
So I go in to finish my work day. I leave at 5 and drive home. I park in our designated spot and walk up to the apartment. SK and I left again a few minutes later to go to the grocery store and when we walked down to my car SK was the one to notice the scratches first.
“Holy shit Cheryl! Someone hit your car!”
“Uh, right there…see the big white scratches running down your side? I bet it was those close-parking motherfuckers in the white truck** that park next to you. Assholes.”
**The people who park to the right of me in the apartment lot usually park SO close that it is impossible for Bella to squeeze in between their car and mine. And Bella can squeeze her entire body through the bars of her kennel. She’s rubber-boned.
“Well, they left a note…HOLY CHRIST!! This chick works in my office building!”
“You mean you made it all the way home without that little business card flying off your car?”
“No. I mean I made it all the way to lunch and back and THEN all the way home without that little business card flying off my car!!”
I know. My jaw was on the floor. Thanks, God. That was pretty cool. So I am figuring with a great start like that, this whole experience won’t be too bad. I wasn’t even bummed about the scratches; I was so pumped about the staying power of that little business card.
I go in and call the lady who is SO nice that I start to feel bad about asking her to pay for the damage SHE did to MY car. She asks me to go get an estimate done and fax it to her because she would rather settle this without involving insurance which I am cool with because hey, I know where she works. It’s not like she is going to get away with not fixing my car. And she was just being so freaking agreeable and sweet.
I call Toyota on 249, where I bought my car and where I have all my maintenance work done, and ask them their hours. Turns out, their body shop is on I-45 and like, CONROE and they close at 6pm on weekdays and are not open weekends so unless I took the day off and went at 11 in the morning to avoid all the traffic there is no way that was going to work. So I get online and find a random place close to my office (red flags everywhere, I KNOW) and run over there on my lunch break on Monday. It's a little crappy looking place off Westheimer, but the people were nice and they were working on NICE cars, which I am now guessing were probably stolen--I almost took my baby to a chop shop!!!--so I thought, what the hell, I'll let them work on my car. The estimate was $522, plus the cost of a rental because they said they would have my car for 3 days. No big deal.
I fax the estimate to her and she balks. Thinks it's too high and that they shouldn't have my car that long because, oh I don't know, she's THE TOYOTA WHISPERER and knows everything about cars and the time it takes to heal them?
So I give up my lunch break today too, and go to a Toyota dealership that is really close to my office that I guess I had just never noticed before. I talk to the guy there and he gives me THEIR estimate which is, no big surprise, about twice as much as the first place. I ask why and show him the first estimate. Turns out, the first place was just going to basically pound out the dent and buff over the scratches and not even bother with matching the paint, which means that my beautiful, not even one year-old, that I bought all on my own and pay for all by myself, big-girl car would be TWO-TONED. I just stared at him. What? He nodded. Two-toned. As in, different colors. Like bowling shoes. NO FUCKING WAY.
I made up my mind at that precise moment that this man, this man who opened my eyes to the evils of the chop shop masquerading as a body repair center, would be my car’s savior. He would fix my car and take care of her and treat her as his own. And no way was this dude letting her come out two-toned.
Ugh. Two-toned. Even typing it makes me want to vomit a little.
But now I am kind of screwed. I have already sent The Hitter the first estimate and she lost her shit over that one. She was really going to flip out when I dropped the bomb that the place I now wanted to fix it would cost twice as much. So I called Denise, The State Farm SuperWoman. Denise has been handling our family’s car insurance since we moved to Texas, which means she and I know each other veeeery well. Denise has been with me through ALL of my moving violations, 90% of which involved destruction of a vehicle, either mine or someone else’s because of me. Denise is THE SHIT. She always finds a creative way to keep our insurance premiums down and has probably been the sole reason I never had my license revoked when I was a teenager and extremely prone to hitting non-moving objects. She kicks asses and takes names and always tells me exactly what to do.
“You should have called me Monday.”
“I know, my dad told me to, but I thought that since this lady was being so cool that it would be taken care of by now.”
I can hear her rolling her eyes on the other end of the line.
“Cheryl. No one is THAT nice. You call this woman and tell her that you do not have time to be doing HER insurance company’s job. You get her insurance information and you tell her that we will be in touch with them about this. If she doesn’t have insurance, then your No Insurance coverage will take care of that and you will only be out your $250 deductible. We will then go file with (some scary sounding institution) to get OUR money back for the cost of the repair as well as YOUR deductible. You should not be running around getting estimates for her. Why didn’t you call me MONDAY??”
So I call The Hitter. I tell her what I found out and that Toyota would be fixing my car and that yes, it was going to be more expensive. She, of course, freaks out. Have I mentioned she doesn’t speak English well? Yeah. She doesn’t. I am waiting for her to go off on me in Spanish, but she stays calm, only because I imagine she is sitting at her desk in her office, and tells me her husband will be in touch with me. I stay calm, only because I don’t really know all the rules with this kind of stuff and am slightly worried that if I let her have it and chewed her out like I am wanting to she will somehow be able to throw it back in my face and Denise will have to tell me that because I called this woman a dumb bitch over the phone that she is not responsible for fixing my car anymore. So I say ok, thank you, goodbye. I realize I have my right hand balled into a fist and I am squeezing so tight that my knuckles are turning white.
I am starting to lose faith in the goodness of people. This is not a good feeling. This has not been a good day.
Stay tuned for the continued saga of The Great Car Incident of 2007. I hope I get to see Denise whoop her ass.