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Wrecked

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Several months ago, my oldest stepdaughter wrecked the car. She wasn’t hurt, but the incident was traumatic for several reasons, the chief being that on that one specific day, she was not driving her car. She was driving our car.

Adding insult to non-injury, she wrecked while driving in a parking deck with two of her girlfriends. Yes, she wrecked our car in a parking deck. From the looks of things, she rammed a concrete pole. Hard. How does one ram anything hard in a parking deck? I’m afraid it’s destined to be one of those teenage mysteries that I can’t understand.

Although our Buick now classifies as a bona fide Hooptie, what with the enormous dent in the side of it, it is still drivable, and so, reluctantly, we’ve put off making the thousand-dollar repair on the car in favor of, oh, eating. That and buying new laptops we don’t need.

I try to avoid driving the Buick whenever I can because frankly, I don’t like the looks I get when I’m in it. I’ll be casually sitting in traffic when I catch another driver staring at me. I smile vaguely and toss my hair as if I hadn’t noticed my autoadmirer, but then his eyes slide down to the huge dent and back up to me, a sneer fixed firmly on his face. Better stay away from her, I can see him thinking. Crazy woman driver.

I don’t appreciate being unjustly criticized for something I didn’t do, but I’m willing to bet you’re prejudiced against the dented and the dinged as well. Oh, you think we’d be friends when you read my blog, but if you saw me on the interstate in my banged-up Buick, you’d be thinking something more like, What the hell kind of skank drives around in a jalopy like that? I’ll bet she doesn’t even have insurance. I’ll bet she can’t even READ.

With that in mind, I’ve thought of putting a sign in the window that says, MY STEPDAUGHTER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS DENT. I WASN’T EVEN IN THE CAR WHEN IT HAPPENED. This would prove not only that I didn’t wreck the car, but also that I can read and write. Somehow, it seems lame, though, and desperate.

And so instead, I tootle dejectedly around town in my trashtastic clunker, wondering how I can complete the image others undoubtedly now have of me. Should I wear short shorts and stop at McDonalds for a Large Extra Value Meal and then chomp on it while seated on my hood? Should I blast Eminem and drive with my seat extended back as far as it will go and one arm casually flung over the steering wheel? Should I black out one of my teeth with a Sharpie? Decisions, decisions.

My new public image comes in handy in just one circumstance, and that’s when somebody cuts me off in traffic. Usually, I just fume and steam and let the puff-headed Suburban driver force her way in front of me, only because I don’t want to crash my car over assholery. Now, though, I have no such worries.

First, I honk my horn impatiently, leading the puffhead to peer curiously back at me in her sideview mirror. God is usually on my side in these matters, because almost always at that point, the clouds part and a ray of sunlight shines down, spotlighting my Buick’s mangled front end. I just love watching the look on that hair-frosted horror’s face change from glee and defiance to abject horror. Yeah, bitch, I think. You’ve tangled with the wrong housewife. Her glance meets mine and I roll my eyes and leer like I’ve just been released from the Milton Carbuncle Hospital for Extremely Dangerous Nutcases. I gun the engine and lurch forward, stopping just inches away from Bitch’s bumper. Then I laugh evilly and start turning my steering wheel like it might open a giant safe. That’s when my little roadpal gives up the game. Sweating profusely, she drives her Suburban up onto the sidewalk, passing ten cars and grazing a street sign before bumping back down onto a cross street and screeching away. I see the lights begin to flash on a patrol car in a nearby parking lot and I laugh, rubbing my hands with glee. Mission accomplished!

Sure, I’ve taken my Buick and made lemonade out of a lemon, but I’m still hoping we can raise enough funds soon to get that dent banged out once and for all. Truthfully, the whole thing leaves me feel like a bit of a nervous wreck.

You can’t tell, can you?

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