My new car has its first battle wound. A 4-inch scrape on the rear quarter panel that I spotted after work on Thursday.
My first response was disbelief, how could this laceration be there? Yet its reality was confirmed when it failed to rub off with an improvised buff from the corner of my jacket.
I then became angry. How dare someone assault my car in the parking lot and fail to leave a note? I entertained the idea of driving back to the gym where I had just returned from to look each car in the eye, scanning for guilt.
And then we noticed there were no signs of foreign paint on the car’s body. No lipstick on its collar. So maybe the injury occurred under my watch, even though no reverberations were ever felt nor screeches heard.
I became frustrated with myself.
“Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.”
As I surveyed my car, all I could see was the bare metal taunting me through the alien-green skin.
I became overwhelmed as Brock talked body shops and estimates, trying to figure out when I would have time to make a call or take it in. Phone in hand, pulling up the calendar to locate the next school break.
“Take my car tomorrow and I’ll take it in to get an estimate.”
I argued. Dismissed. Both then and through dinner. Not wanting to impose and, even more, not wanting to pay. The release of funds still linked to a release of anxiety.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
The estimate arrived via PDF the following afternoon.
Ouch. That hurt almost as much as the wound.
“Don’t worry about it,” I emailed Brock. “I don’t want to pay that much.”
I thought about securing a vinyl tattoo for my car to embrace its scar.
Once I arrived home, Brock walked me through the proposed procedure. On a whim, he continued talking and listening while he located a can of spray polish and vigorously scrubbed the injured area.
And simply by removing the minor associated scuffs, the task at hand seemed doable.
“How about I just order some touch-up paint and we do this ourselves?” I questioned, noting the lack of any deformation in the curve of the body.
“I think that’s a great idea.”
I realized that I was pushing back against the professional repair for more than just the cost.
The body shop would have restored my car to perfect.
And with perfect comes the pressure to maintain perfection.
I no longer listen to your siren song.