Two Roads Diverged

Life is all about choices – so which choice is coming next?

The Death of My Car

on December 4, 2012
Car accident, fire hydrant

The little red light above the red car is all you can see of my car.

It was Friday night, my dad and I were helping with the finishing touches on the airpark’s float for the Christmas parade. We were about to start home and we decided to do a dinner and movie night; he’d get dinner, I’d get the movie.

I ran to the nearest Redbox.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, or The Amazing Spiderman?”
“…um … either…”

Knowing my mom wasn’t home for the movie, and since she would hate it otherwise, vampire hunter it was!

I jumped in my car, and started out of town. Stopped at a red light, started when it turned green.

I approached the bottom of a hill, almost out of the town’s boundary.

And from the left a car speeds through its Stop sign. It’s powering across the road.


I’m stopped; against a fence.


Water is pouring on top of my car – I’ve hit a fire hydrant.

I vaguely notice that there’s a white bag in front of me – the airbag deployed?

I grab my phone, my first panicked thought is to call my dad. But my second panicked thought is he won’t be able to hear me while I’m in the car.

I struggle to open the door and water comes cascading in, and slams the door.

Breathing heavily, I slam my body against the door and struggle through the waterfall – drenched within seconds.

The paramedics show up, the firemen show up, and eventually the CHP show up.

We’re all checked out in the ambulance. A few bruises, a fat lip, a slight cheek burn from the airbag, and me shivering from being cold and wet, I’m ok.

The other driver and his passenger are ok.

Everyone’s ok.

It takes 45 minutes to shut off the 40 ft mountain of hydrant water, but once that’s shut off, my dad grabs my purse and the car insurance info, and we’re told we can leave.

car accident, fire hydrant busted

Today the insurance company had my car towed to my house; where it will wait for an adjuster to come out and examine it.

The car slid back off the tow, and all I could do was stare at the smashed front.

Busted car frontDad: “Like I thought, it’s totaled. The price to get it fixed is worth more than the car.”
Tow-man: “How many miles?”
Dad: “Near 200,000”
Tow-man: “Yeah, definitely done for. Looks like it would’ve been fine if it hadn’t hit that hydrant, but that tore up most of the inside.”

The Tow-man looked at me, “but it did what is was supposed to do, the car crumpled and it saved you.”

Yes it did. My car had saved me.

The Tow-man left, and my dad went back to work, and I started the process of cleaning out my things from my car.

My Blue Belle.

And since no one had to been hurt, I felt ok mourning.

Mourning the loss of my car. My first car. My companion for 8 years.

She’d been the one we picked up my dog from the pound in.
She was there when I got my driver’s license, and blasted the music proud on my first solo ride. And has blasted the music on every ride since then.
She drove hundreds of my friends home as I most often was the transporter.
She’s seen me dressed up, dressed down, and practically naked. (From changing for sports activities – nothing dirty gutter minds!)
She’d kept me safe through the (thousands) of idiotic things I did as a teenage driver.
She’s been up the West Coast, through Oregon, through Washington, and lived with me in British Columbia for a couple months.
She’s taken me on many a spontaneous outing – including spur of the moment drives to Arizona and Nevada. And has been lost everywhere with me – in rice paddies of central Cali, the forests of Yosemite, and once we almost ended up in Mexico.
She was the car for my first drive-in movie theater.
She was my source of privacy when I had none at work.
She’s been a part of my independence since I was 16.
Every time I come home from abroad, she’s waiting – waiting for me to slide into the driver’s seat and feel at home.
I know her quirks. Exactly when to stop, when to start, how to turn on a dime, how to fiddle with the radio without looking.
She’s been the second home that carries all the things I need during the day and night.

And her last act saved me at the expense of herself.

So as I cleaned her out I felt sad. I mourned the loss. For no car will ever again be my first car. No car will ever again claim my heart as she did.


I dumped out water, and bagged the waterlogged papers. I grabbed books out of the seat backs, and blankets out of the back.

And then I became confused.

I found the FM transmitter for my Ipod, but I couldn’t find my Ipod.

I checked the mats, under the mats, under the seats. But it was nowhere to be found.

I looked up, and there it was.

In the middle of the dashboard. Between the two exploded airbags.

I picked it up and turned it on – to see if it had been water damaged like so much.

And up popped the last song to be on:

And I smiled.

My car may be done for, but she still talks to me.

And maybe, just maybe, I’ll come to love a car again.

24 responses to “The Death of My Car

  1. This post was so touching. We all remember our first cars…mine was a red Mustang 2 (a terrible car, made in the 70s). I named it Trigger. It took me back and forth to the beach town where I would spend summer weekeneds and to many crazy times with my friends. When I got rid of Trigger I was a mom with a baby and had to put away the impractical car.

  2. Awwww poor car! At least everyone was ok! Was the other driver apologetic or anything? I feel for your loss :__( My first car, Corey Matthews, was passed from me to my sister then my brother, so we lost touch. But I recently (about two weeks ago) bought my first very own car and I already feel like we’re old friends. Her name is Jude (for the Beatles, the song and my license plate which starts with JDE) and after a year of driving other peoples’ cars and asking my parents for rides when I’m home, she’s my new BFF. Hoping you get a nice new companion soon

    • The other driver was definitely freaking out – but I didn’t really see him after I went to get checked out by the paramedics. They gave me a blanket and had all the officers come talk to me in my dad’s car so that I wasn’t ‘exposed to the elements’ (as I was soaked and it was pretty chilly outside).
      And my car was a bit like yours – passed from my dad to me. I bet that when I buy my first car, it’ll be like you – I’ll feel connected to it🙂

  3. MissFourEyes says:

    I am so sorry for your car. But I’m glad you’re okay. She left hero, just like Wonder Woman.

  4. calahan says:

    Bye bye, Blue Belle. You gave your life for a good cause.

  5. becca3416 says:

    Wow. I never thought of how much a car is like your home. I am sad I didn’t give my first car a proper goodbye now. I almost cried. One of your best posts Jillian, especially the ipod ending! I am so glad you were not harmed!

  6. SO HAPPY you’re okay. I actually gave my first car to my friends because the thought of parting with it hurt me too much. I feel that pain.

    As an FYI, if you ever get into an accident or encounter one where water is involved, try not to get out of the car. People have been electrocuted when water comes into contact with electrical wires. I learned that from working with first responders.

    • One of my friends got her first car from a friend for the same reason that you gave yours to a friend!

      And I’ll keep your FYI in mind – I should have stayed in the car (there was a cable above me that was in the line with the water), but I just panicked at that moment (they never covered that type of scenario in driver’s ed :p)

  7. El Guapo says:

    Hey, and accident you can walk away from…and blog about…
    Really glad you’re alright!
    All my old cars stayed with me in the way you describe.

    Any word on the other driver?

    • No word on the other driver – though he walked away with no injuries – we heard one of the tow drivers say that he didn’t have insurance, but I’ll find out if that was true from my insurance company soon.

  8. ohmygosh! So sorry to hear about your wreck — and your car — but happy to hear that everyone is OK! That sounds terrifying.

    My first car was a 1988 Taurus (with a shower radio), but I didn’t pay for it. First, it was my dad’s, then my grandma’s, then mine. It died of old age. =/

  9. MaximumWage says:

    This happened recently right? I guess from the topical movies and the time of year (parade) I hope you’re feeling better. Nothing like getting your head jarred. How was Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter?

    • Yeah, just last Friday. But went to see my mom’s friend yesterday (she’s a masseuse) so the jarred head feels all better!
      And the movie was… eh. lol. Kind of half funny, half good action, so it couldn’t seem to decide whether it was going to be one of those so-bad-it’s-hilarious classics, or a real action. Definitely glad I got it from redbox for a dollar!

  10. The Hook says:

    Only you could spin a vehicular tragedy into blogging gold. I’m glad you emerged unscathed, my friend.

  11. maxim sense says:

    Oh first cars.. they always have sentimental values. Mine was a late 1970s model toyota corona and like the others, it died of old age and eventually came to be detained at the scrap metals shop forever. I felt how you loved your first car and maybe it can still be worked out on repair/make-over? Thank the Good Lord that you were safe, Babe.

    • Thank you – I’m definitely thanking the big guy I was safe too! We’re still waiting for the insurance guy to come take a look to see if it can be salvaged – but I don’t have too much hope for that. But I figure it probably would’ve died of old age soon – so out in a blaze of glory, right?

  12. Nicole says:

    I had to pop on over and look at the snow on your blog. Ugh, sorry about your accident. I was a passenger in one a few months ago. Car was hit by a red light runner and of course on the passenger side. Somehow I walked away without injuries. I’m glad to hear you weren’t injured and it sounds like the other driver made it out alright. Yeah…2012 just needs to go away.

  13. Wow that was really touching. I too, have a connection and history with my car. I know where you’re coming from. What a sweet post.

  14. vyvacious says:

    So glad you’re okay. Something similar happened to me too and I was so shaky afterward, I couldn’t drive past that same stretch of freeway for months. I still miss my baby (Toyota MR2) since my aunt drove it before and I had a lot of history with it.

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