Friday, November 05, 2004

“Have you ever had déjà vu?”

The Movie: Groundhog Day, 1993 (Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, screenwriters; Harold Ramis, dir.)
Who says it: Andie McDowell as Rita, a TV news producer
The context: Rita says this to Phil Connors (Bill Murray), an egomanical TV weatherman who’s living the same day over, and over, and over, and over…
How to use it: When it’s obvious that you’ve been here before.

Faithful readers of this blog will know, just from that line, that this posting will be about -- wait for it -- my car.

But it's not the car's fault this time, and although I have had two conversations in the last 24 hours with representatives of Progressive Insurance, I can already tell that this experience will be different from the last one.

Yesterday afternoon I needed to run some errands in Portland and Gardiner -- buy dog food, pick up my mail, shop for paint for the new apartment. I'm still living out in China, at Anna & Tarren's, until the phone's hooked up at the new place on Monday and I've got a couple of basic pieces of furniture. (My belongings from California, including my bed, should arrive sometime the third week of November.)

Route 3, which runs northeast from Augusta, is two lanes over rolling hills. A schoolbus stopped suddenly at the bottom of a hill, just the far side of the city line; a procession of cars, including mine, stopped abruptly behind it. The car behind me, driven by a very young woman who was running late for work, didn't stop in time.

Thank God, no one was hurt, but I think the girl's car was totaled, and my own poor Blueberrymobile was badly damaged: a smashed headlight, one taillight completely gone, back bumper crumpled, front bumper cracked. I was able to drive it away, and I'll be able to drive it down to Augusta for repairs, but it's not pretty.

It's the first serious car accident I've ever been in. Paramedics came and checked us all out; except for a little whiplash, I'm fine, and so was everyone else. Both the police and the paramedics were there within ten minutes, maybe even within five.

And not to be simple-minded and Spongebob Squarepants-ish about it (Mom, that would be "Pollyanna," for your generation), but it's kind of a lovely introduction to Maine. Almost everyone involved in this accident -- the woman whose car mine hit, the police officer who took our statements, the paramedics, the neighbor who called 911, the local Progressive insurance representative -- was incredibly kind, even good-humored. If this had happened in Los Angeles, I shudder to think how ugly it might have been.

So the car repair process starts again... and for those of you who think that this is a sign my car really is jinxed, all I can say is that the car took good care of me yesterday, and I'm not getting rid of it.

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