Most times when I set off in my car I contemplate the possibility of an accident. It’s standard for me, a typical thought - today might be the day on which I crash.
In the thirty years plus that I have been driving I have endured a number of bingles. And yesterday’s was no exception, a bingle and worst of all it was my fault.
I took a short cut through a few narrow streets around the corner from my house as I routinely do, my thoughts ahead of myself. I did not notice the car on my right as I turned left.
The damage to both cars was minimal but enough to make an insurance claim, on my policy of course. It was my fault. The fellow into whose car I had collided established that fast. No sooner was he out of his car than he asked a woman standing nearby to be his witness.
My hands shook as I filled out the details on a sheet of paper he provided. He was unshaken it seemed to me and when I asked if he had insurance he said yes, but did not know with whom.
‘The wife takes care of that stuff.’
Perhaps that’s why he was unshaken. The wife might be the one to get annoyed about the damage to the car. The wife might be annoyed that some stupid woman wasn’t looking where she was going and the wife might then have to deal with the inconvenience of getting the car fixed.
At least she won’t have to pay. Small consolation.
Am I trying to shift the blame here by noticing this?
I’ve been in both positions, bingles that have been my fault and bingles that were not. In any case the worst of it, besides paying the excess and watching my annual premiums go up, is the inconvenience of having to get the car off for repairs and doing without a car for however many days it takes.
The worst of it for me is the sheer humiliation. The sense of being a dunderhead, an uncoordinated klutz.
‘No self recriminations,’ my husband said to me, kindly I thought. He who rarely has such accidents. ‘There’s no point in going over it. That’s why you have insurance’. And as the insurance person said when I phoned to make a claim, ‘At least no one was hurt.’
All this rationalisation helps of course but it does not take away from my sense of humiliation, and the ripple of anxiety that still runs through me after the event. The memory of that loud crash, still ringing in my head.