I know there are worse things but I just called the guy at the garage to find out when I was getting my van back. It was rear-ended on the freeway the other day and the car that hit mine kinda wedged its nose up my van's butt. My van looked uncomfortable but the other car looked way worse than mine, face crunched, air bags out and glass everywhere.
I'd just been worried that I'd have to lose my three bumper stickers. One was my son's band, Fool Gator. The second was a Save the Los Angeles Library sticker from the protest over funding for library hours and staff. The third was from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, (SCBWI) that said, Peace Love and Children's books.
But it turns out that not only am I losing the bumper stickers and the bumper, I'm losing the whole entire van.
The garage guy (very casually) said my van is "totalled out!"
But it was just a bump! A flesh wound!
"No," he said, "when they are over fourteen it doesn't take much."
Now like in any sad love story, it's time for the photo montage of romantic, sweet things my van and I did together over the years. Shots of the back seats full of my kids and their little friends. My dearly departed dog Sweetie as a puppy, chewing up the seat belts at $100.00 a pop. Driving my daughter to Children's Hospital fresh from her cancer diagnosis. Bringing her home cured, in triumph.
Sitting in the driveway to listen to This American Life without interruption.
Heading home after dropping the last kid at college when the van thoughtfully died in the middle of the desert as the perfect distraction from saddness.
When Obama instituted Cash for Clunkers and everyone suggested I trade in my rattly old gas-guzzler, I thought, NO! It's my van! Does loyalty mean nothing?
Never mind that it doesn't have a visor on the passenger side and everyone gets blinded driving with me.
Never mind the enormous dents along the sides from those pesky yellow poles that are always jumping out at a person.
Never mind the tire thumping loose in the back since that drunk tow-truck guy took off with the jack that held my spare in place.
Never mind the mysterious smell.
It was my van for fourteen years, and now it is gone, and that is that.