A year ago today I took a gamble.
When playing the odds, especially in cases like the ones I’ve been playing, coming up ahead 2 out of 3 times is actually a very good thing.
Especially when playing with insurance companies.
There I was, on my way to work as I do. Seated comfortably upright, spine in neutral, bolstered by the surprisingly comfy economy seats of my very economy ride. My trusty Little Blue Belle. My mirrors, side and rear view, were checked and re-checked. Affixed at the best vantage to afford me the greatest visual capacity with the slightest of cervical migrations.
The gas tank, while less thirsty than its predecessor, was still amply replete with the lowest priced regular unleaded (who says that anymore these days, right?) gasoline ($1.17/L, CAD, circa Dec 2017) to fuel my 17 km journey, knowing that this time, with lessons learned from running on empty, I would not be stuck and facing certain death.
My mind was clear and free. My heart, still the barren wasteland it has always been.
And I drove, knowing that this was the second last day of my work week before a New Year. Before a fresh start. Before the imagined greatness of New Years Eve Eve was upon me.
As I came upon my usual right turn at my usual intersection to head North, I slowed down to stop for the red light, as is the law. While doing so, I noticed that the car ahead had decelerated a bit more rapidly than I would have expected, and I would soon learn why.
The roads were slick, gently adorned by a coating of soft, grimy slush-like snow, unfit for human consumption, much like the yellow variety we’ve all been warned against eating from our youth.
Years ago, my parents in their all knowing wisdom, the kind only parents possess, had put me in ‘extra defensive’ driving classes. The lesson: leave room between yourself and the car ahead. Many chevrons. A lesson I had taken to heart, whether consciously or subconsciously, it bode well for me in that moment.
I hit that same slick, icy patch and felt the ABS kick in.
As further taught in that same driving class, I kept steady pressure, confident in technological advances over the past 25 years, trusting Little Blue Belle to do the needful. The patch was overcome, to be clear, not just due to technology, but also due to our protagonist’s incredible, mad driving skills. The tires, compelled by the brakes caught purchase.
The car came to a stop.
I had avoided sliding, in an unbecoming fashion, into the car stopped ahead. With room to spare.
At that same instant, as I was braking, my eyes were trained on the previously described, properly adjusted, rear-view mirror.
An involuntary smile escaped my pursed, lush lips. I shook my head. Time, in all its magnificence, slowed. A VHS cassette played in slow motion. Grainy. Frame by frame. It was quite an experience.
The guy behind me had hit the same icy patch. He, perhaps, had not done the same driving course because unfortunately, for both he and I, there wasn’t enough space for his car to stop. That is, until his bumper kissed mine.
And as we know, that never turns out well.
Driving to work the week before on the Thursday, taking the same route as always, something different happened.
A rock flung by a semi truck careened from the ground and sped at incredible speed, possibly light speed, towards my Little Blue Belle.
That sound. That sound. It can never be unheard. Echoing. Reverberating. That siren call of what was to happen.
An audible gasp escaped my pursed, lush lips. Pain, which I don’t believe in, welled up inside me. One word encapsulating that experience, softly emitted, like air escaping an opened valve. Low and drawn out.
Fortunately, no crack was seen on inspection. No damage was done.
Until that night. That cold, frigid night.
Knowing that a winter storm was brewing and would wreak havoc in the early morrow, we decided to head towards the far North that evening.
Setting off for the roughly 400 km trek, supplies were packed and we set off. The same tank was filled up, leaving nothing to chance like years before as written about in the recent past.
That glint. That soul crushing glint.
It came just mere moments after turning on the defogger to full blast to keep the growing internal fog away.
That heart breaking growth.
Like a newly emerging root, seeking new space, new sustenance, it grew. From what started off as what I can only imagine a virtually invisible chip, in the matter of just a few moments, became an incredible rift, one to rival even the magnificent Great Rift Valley.
The windshield would need to be replaced. It was beyond saving. All in just moments.
A year ago today.
Calling my insurance company after submitting an online claim from the rear-ending, I discussed my windshield coverage which I hadn’t had a chance to discuss as yet. I was in luck. I could get both repairs done at the same time, using their preferred vendor without losing any further time. Because as we all know, time is our most valuable currency, and when you can save any of it to invest in more enjoyable pursuits, that is success.
So that’s the two out of three.
Having experienced such great luck with my insurer that day, I was overjoyed. Happiness beyond belief. This never happens. It’s never this easy. No fault. Deductible – waived. Ahhh, luck.
But, with any luck, it soon runs out.
Opening an envelope, I sliced my finger. Blood. Blood everywhere. Bright crimson. Erupting with the anger of Vesuvius awoken from deep slumber.
It was like a murder scene, for ants.
Reflecting back on all the insurance success I had today, I called my disability insurance provider.
This was my chance. My third claim.