LAUGHLINES: Wham-Bam! Watch Your Rear End!

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I’ve always been proud of being accident-free driver, and since my daughter is about to start driver’s ed, my clean record has given me an air of superiority.

All that changed last month.

I was in my first car accident, which meant an end to the moral high ground. And since this accident was a rear-end collision, I am doubly shamed by the fact that it was my car doing the rear-ending.

Yes, it was in bumper-to-bumper traffic in a major American city, and no, I wasn’t on my cell or putting on mascara or reading “War and Peace,” or doing anything idiot drivers do. I was looking straight ahead, everyone started to move, and then the guy in the giant honker SUV in front of me stopped moving. Too late on the brake and ba-bing – - there went the front end of my old Honda Accord.

Turns out the guy in the SUV was the nicest person, and he was with his future bride, soon-to-be Mrs. Nice. They were on their way to the airport to pick up the best man, since they were getting married the next day.

Thank goodness there were no injuries, since a headline flashed through my mind: “Bride Rear-Ended by Psychotic Female Driver; Walks Down Aisle with Busted Schnoz.” I would’ve gotten hate mail for the next 10 years.

I was on my way to see a potential client, so the bad news is, I didn’t make it. Too bad. I was having a great hair day and after two hours of vacuuming, I had eliminated all but a few dog hairballs floating around the car’s interior.

The good news is my replacement car was a VW beetle, in a snazzy powder blue, so for one brief, shining moment, which lasted all of four days, I was a cool mom. My children suddenly wanted me to pick them up at school and the mall, and right out in the open, for all to see. No parking a few dozen yards away and hunkering down in the front seat. Golly.

Of course, my daughter is never going to let me forget the accident, cool mom aura or not. I had done what I am afraid she will do every time she gets behind the wheel – hit another car, a tree, a house, whatever stands in her way.

Won’t be the end of the world if she gets into her own rear-ender, though. She could get a cool replacement car, and my old car will be repaired again – but after a certain age, couldn’t we all stand a little front-end work?

About Cate Drew

I’m on the high side of 40, with three dogs, two teens and one husband, living in a small New England town in a house that’s never quiet. Ever. It’s not that I have a really colorful life – I just tend to write colorfully about it. And there’s plenty of material: marriage to the Man of a Thousand Bad Ideas,.. my mom, who moved Dad’s coffin closer to the street six months after he died so she could visit his grave as a kind of drive-up window…our dog posse…our kids…lots of siblings and in-laws, former co-workers, old boyfriends -- they’re all here. Toss in 14 years of Catholic school and you’ve got a lot of guilt, too. Which reminds me: forget “high side of 40.” I’m 51, damnit.