Thursday, July 02, 2009
How To Make Friends In Traffic: #24 - Dented Vehicles
$350 To Knock Out That Dent
One of my favorite pastimes is off-road driving. Grated, I don't own any off-road vehicles. I never have. However, how else can I explain my long list of off-road activities?
It all began when I got my first car. Winter in New Orleans is never cold. We'll get 3 nights per year when it dips below the freezing point. Sometimes there's ice involved! I made it around the corner on a wide turn and went off onto the shoulder. I was late for work, but when I hit that patch of frozen puddle and spun out onto the grass and dirt, well, I just had to go back and do it again.
I've had several girlfriends back then who'd be willing to put out if I found the right parking place. Usually that involved secluded areas. Off-road. Airport security ran me off of one location. The Levee Police ran me off of another. The California Highway Patrol was called out on a suspicious car parked near the KDES transmitters. Once, I spent more than an hour in 40-degree weather digging out my car which had bottomed out, off-road, somewhere after midnight. I couldn't ask my date to help me dig, now could I?
But every now and again, I do something which bashes up one part of my vehicles or another when I should have just stayed on the road. Lucky for me, my insurance company paid for the damage I did when I didn't see the ditch cutting across the field I was traversing. Another field really wasn't my fault, after all, my Lowrance iHunt GPS said there was a road there and who was I to argue with a hand-held piece of technology. They lock you up in the nut-hatch if you argue with hand-held pieces of technology. Well, they would if you insisted the tech started the fight.
Some years ago I tried backing up the shoulder of a highway on-ramp. There was a traffic jam that promised to eat my spare time if I didn't. Again, another ditch and I wound up with diagonal gouge marks and a dent on my rear panel.
It's amazing how many people you meet in traffic with a dented panel. "Hey!" they call out to me at stop lights. "I can knock that out for you real cheap!" They're so excited to see me driving around with my wallet hanging out the window. Not that my wallet is anywhere but under my left cheek, but I'm sure that's how they see me. The latest guy wants to meet me in my driveway and he'll do the job for $350. He gives me his phone number. It's a cell phone with a Seattle area code. Ever smell pork after it's been in a wet sock in the sun for a week? Yeah, this one stinks like that.
I really need to get that dent to a body shop before someone holds me up at gunpoint while their buddy knocks out the dent and spray paints it on the side of some dark deserted highway. "I swear, Officer. It was a drive-by dent-pulling. They took me for all I had!"