I have to start shopping for a new car today.
On my way to work this past Friday I was rear-ended; my car totalled. (Why does totalled mean damaged beyond repair now? Probably comes from totally destroyed.)
Traffic had stopped at a place where I don’t think it’s ever been stopped in the 13 some odd years I’ve been driving my commute. And it’s been raining here in California which means everyone forgets how to drive. I stopped behind the truck in front of me, then heard terrific screeching behind me and the back of my car suddenly began moving forward. Scary. I felt like I was in one of those movies where reality begins to collapse inward on the hero.
I walked away and I’m doing fine today. I was only a little sore yesterday so C.J. and I are planning to start looking at new cars later today. There’s no point in crying over split milk. We were going to wait eight more years before we bought a new car, but God laughs at people who make plans as they say.
So please feel free to leave car suggestions in the comments below. I’m 6’5″ tall so this must be taken into consideration and we’d like to drive off the lot at under 20,000 dollars so we’re on a bit of a budget. We need a four door due to the dogs and are interested in a hatchback.
It’s always east to find irony when something like this happens, but I was in the middle of Laurence Cosse’s novel An Accident in August which is about a woman connected to the death of Lady Diana. The novel’s protagonist is driving home late at night when she is sideswiped by a speeding Mercedes that then crashes into the center divider. The protagonist leaves the scene though she knows the law requires her to stop. When she later discovers that Lady Diana was in the Mercedes she begins to fear that she may have caused the accident and that she will become known world round as the woman who killed the princess if she is discovered.
It’s an okay book, but maybe I was kind of asking for it in a cosmic sense.
All of this has me thinking of books about cars this morning. I don’t mean books about road trips, though there are lots of those, but books that are specifically about cars at least on some level about the machines or about the act of driving them rather than road trip books which are often just stories set in cars.
Here’s what I’ve come up with.
Christine by Stephen King. This novel, as I remember, really spends a lot of time talking about the actual car itself which I why I list it and not Cujo which is set inside a stalled car but is not about a car.
Drive by James Sallis. A wonderful crime novel with plenty of stuff about how to drive a get-a-way car.
Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck because while clearly a road novel Steinbeck spends many pages describing the custom built camper he and the titular dog drove across America.
Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang by Ian Fleming. As I recall there is plenty about the car itself along with the wild adventures so I’m including it here.
Crash by J.G. Ballard. This one is not about a single car, but it’s laregly a love letter, albeit a very creepy one, to the machines and their demise.
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood. This seems like an odd choice but there is some wonderful stuff in Isherwood’s novel about driving in Los Angeles. I think it has some of the best writing about this topic that you’re likely to ever find.
I’d love to hear what other titles you all can think of.
So, I’m in very good spirits at this point. We’ve yet to really start dealing with the insurance and the police reports etc., but the basic paperwork has all been done. The driver who hit me stayed on the scene and was quite helpful really so all in all as life threatening accidents go this one has turned out pretty darn well as far as I’m concerned.
And it forced me to spend yesterday on the sofa reading novels.
So that’s always good.