I realize that in the grand scheme of things, what I’m about to say is small and insignificant, but I’m going to say it nonetheless.
I’ve never been a girl who put too much stock in her ride. As evidence I submit the list of cars I’ve driven since I got my license in 1991: Ford Tempo, Dodge Neon, Chevy Corsica, Plymouth Neon, Kia Sedona. These cars were all perfectly adequate for what I needed, but certainly nothing special– most had automatic transmissions and windows that cranked up and down.
Then, two years ago, I fell in love. Only a mom would fall in love with a Honda Odyssey, but I’m a mom, and what can I say? The van beckoned. It felt like a living room on wheels, and it had a DVD player and a mini refrigerator. I signed my name on the dotted line less than a month after the new model was released, and I became as anally-retentive about keeping the van clean as any mom of five small children can. Before we got out of the car, I’d make everyone sweep through and pick up trash. I was a frequent visitor at the car wash down the street. We even had it detailed, which for me, was a big deal. It smelled all fresh and clean and new again. We even used my car, the Mom Van, on our dates.
And then, last Friday night, we took the kids to the baseball game. My husband drove himself, and the kids and I met him there. My car may be clean, but it’s also noisy– my oldest daughter likes to play pop songs on the radio at full volume. My boys were wrestling in the backseat. My middle daughter kept asking me questions over the din. Yes, I’m making excuses.
We pulled into the parking lot with plenty of time to get into our seats when the game started. The lot wasn’t too full, but I decided that I “must be in the front row” and pulled out of the space I’d originally parked in, attempting to pull into the spot diagonally across from mine. So we could save ourselves a dozen steps, you know. I didn’t check my mirrors, because I thought I had enough room, but then I heard the sickening crunch that was the panel of my door hitting the metal bumper of the giant truck next to ours.
It could have been so much worse. The monster truck didn’t have a scratch. The kids weren’t hurt– in fact, they didn’t notice that we’d hit the other car until I hopped out of the van, screaming, to survey the damage. The only thing that got hurt (besides the door) was my pride.
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but my pride IS hurt. I hate that my spanking new, just detailed, perfect car now has a big scrape down the side. It probably will have a big scrape down the side for a while, because my folly just happened to coincide with the start of a big landscaping project in our backyard, which will be sucking away any money that could go toward fixing the dent for the foreseeable future. Mostly, I hate that I can’t just say (or at least say truthfully) that some jerk hit me. Because I’m the jerk. I’m the one who wasn’t careful.
And even though I know that in my brain, seeing the physical imperfection every time I walk toward my car, still bugs.
I’ve decided that I won’t let myself get it fixed until it stops bugging me, until I can look at the dent and say, “I screwed up, and that’s okay.” I hope I’m a quick study.
How about you? Would a dent in your van bug because it’s just one more thing to get fixed? Would it hurt your pride? What are the external things that you want to have “just so”?