My son and I were in our usual positions, seated at the dining room table before two identical laptop computers typing away, he, on some strategy battle game and me on an unfinished essay, when I heard the boom.
For a second, I wondered if someone had been shot, but I was in the middle of constructing a really clever sentence and didn’t want to break my train of thought. When I finished, I looked over at my son, “Hey, did you hear that?” He was obviously creating an extremely clever plot to overthrow the world because he didn’t even answer.
I gave it another moment’s thought. What could that have been? Thunder? A garage door banging down? I had no idea, but easily dismissed it and went back to my essay.
It was about 15 minutes later that I heard a rap at the door. I was in the process of corralling the boys up to their bed, about a half an hour later than I should have. With much hesitation, I slowly descended the stairs. No one knocks on my door at night, except occasionally a neighbor to tell me I left the lights on in my car, or my sliding car door open, or my keys hanging in the door. But every time, it unnerves me, especially without my husband home, at his third baseball meeting of the week. But that’s not important.
I looked through the window. It was a police officer.
Now it’s never good to see the police standing at your door at 9pm at night, but I have to say my first thought was not fear that something terrible had happened, it was paranoia. Was this really the police? Was I going to open the door for a robber or worse, a killer?? My husband and I had been watching The Following on television, I no longer trusted anyone.
Unsure if I should,yet unable to stop myself, I slowly opened the door, wishing I had a bat nearby.
“Yes?” I asked, intimidated by the uniform and the situation.
“Someone hit your car.” He alerted me in a very police like fashion. “You have a registration and insurance card?”
I peeked out my door and saw a police car and another vehicle a few feet behind mine in the street. Felt legitimate. “Sure,” I responded. “It’s in the car. Let me get my keys.”
I made sure boys were in their beds, actually, they decided to huddle in one bed. The policeman at the door had turned them simultaneously nervous and giddy. I grabbed my keys and walked out in the dark and cold. There was plastic and pieces of car everywhere. A man approached me and said, “I didn’t even see it. I really wasn’t going very fast.”
Hmm. The car might disagree.
“Are you okay?” I asked and he nodded. He seemed okay, but his Ford Explorer certainly wasn’t. The whole passenger side looked eaten away. This car had nothing in it behind its exterior shell. The corner was totaled. It was made of nothing. On the other hand, my car fared substantially better. I mean, it wasn’t great, but all cheer the Odyssey. This was no mini-van. It was a mini-tank.
After finding the necessary paperwork, a small miracle in itself, there wasn’t much to do. I stared at his car. I stared at mine. I made light small talk with the man who I learned only lived a block away, and I was told to pick up the police report the next day.
I was surprised how mild my reaction was to the whole incident, but of course, it’s just a car. No one was hurt. I guess when the police turn up at your door at night, someone hitting your parked car is a big relief. Because in this crazy life, in this crazy world, sometimes real shit happens. Boom. It could have been a lot worse. There was no need to fall apart, just because my car did.
Although this does change my plans for the day.