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Nothing like a sudden jolt

I was in a pretty good mood last Saturday coming home from the Suffolk Earth and Arts Festival, having seen many interesting local vendors while taking in its musical and sensory ambiance.

It’s safe to say that mood was shattered when another driver slammed into the rear of my car at 45 miles per hour on my way to my apartment.

I was so close, too — about five minutes from getting to my apartment and my wife and daughter to enjoy the rest of a beautiful afternoon. Maybe we’d go to the beach, or to the park, or just open the windows and let the breeze flow inside while enjoying a lazy afternoon. Those were my thoughts as I was driving home with my window rolled down, no one in front of me.

There was someone behind me, though, as I found out the hard way — a very hard way.

The person told me, and later told police and the insurance company, that she had only looked down for a second to grab a drink, when her car hit mine, crunching much of the back end of my car.

I shouldn’t say it’s my car, though.

It’s a special car to my wife, as it was the first one she owned, bringing it down to Virginia from Michigan after graduating college and coming here to work. It’s hung in there for more than 16 years, and even without air conditioning and with a permanently lit check-engine light, runs well and has always gotten us to and from anywhere safely.

Mind you, it’s not the cleanest car. It’s got some things in it I’ve been meaning to drop off, and it’s got my daughter’s car seat and a few of her stuffed animals in it. But when you spend a lot of time in it, it’s almost like another home.

Still, even after the accident, it started up with no problems.

I’m thankful that both the driver of the other car and I were fine. I had a sore neck and upper back for about half-a-day — nothing like a sudden jerking jolt to shake you up a little.

But now, we’re in the “dealing with the insurance company” phase of the operation. From its standpoint, the car — the blue baby, as it’s known to my wife and I — is a total loss. We figured that would be its conclusion. After all, the officer who looked at the car said there was easily more than $1,500 worth of damages, and the collision center where I took the car earlier this week strongly hinted that it would be declared a total loss.

Hearing those words, however, doesn’t make it any easier. Now we’re faced with choosing between taking a check from the insurance company in exchange for the car being sold off for scrap, or to get it fixed. We’re waiting for an estimate of repair costs before making that decision.

In the meantime, it’s been unending stress, between figuring out the insurance part of it, and especially with the indirect effects of the accident.

Those indirect effects are known as life decisions. We’re just about to finish paying off our other car later this month, and we were looking forward to those savings to apply to other matters. We’re also looking at daycare/preschool choices for our daughter for next year, and it would be nice for the three of us — my wife, daughter and I — to take a long weekend trip somewhere.

Even still, those things pale in comparison to the fact that no one was injured. Having seen and heard about many accidents, especially in South Hampton Roads and here in Suffolk, in particular, I know sadly that isn’t always the case. So, my only preach moment here — keep your eyes on the road while driving.

I’m thankful also that my daughter and wife were not in the car. As it is, trying to explain this to my daughter was a challenge. “Someone went boom to the car.”

“Boom,” she says, as she slaps her hands together.

Boom, indeed, and in more ways than one, all shook up.