<$BlogRSDURL$> Spontaneous Things: Karina Sumner-Smith's Blog
Friday, May 02, 2003

Yesterday, while I was in Ottawa, my brother borrowed my car. He did not have permission to do this; in fact, I'd expressly told him that he was not to drive my car, even just up the road. But he wanted to do a favour for a friend, and drove it anyway. Sometime when I was wandering through the National Art Gallery, my brother was in an accident. He was T-boned by a Purolator truck, of all things. Marc is fine, except for a few cuts, bruises and some whiplash. My car was totaled.

All afternoon, all evening, I was oblivious. It was only when I came home and realized that my car was not in the garage, as he should have been, nor in the driveway, was I told what had happened.

I have been trying to think of a way to explain my relationship with my car--and, to some degree, with all cars--but I can't. Not in a way that would make sense, not here, not now. The simplest explanation would be that cars, to me, have always had names and personalities; some cars I never get to know, nor do I try. Some cars I like and can drive; we get along fine. And some cars I love with all my heart. Wren was one of these.

Wren was my first car, a white, 1998 Toyota Tercel. He was small, maneuverable, and very much an economy car. I found him after a very long day going to various used car lots and dealerships, examining, asking questions, test driving. Wren I found outside of a Toyota dealership in Woodbridge. I don't know what it was about him that make him stand out from the other cars I'd seen that day--I'd even looked at different Tercels. But I kept coming back to that little white car. And taking him out for a test drive, I knew within moments, this was my car.

Today I had to go look at my car in a body shop lot. He was behind a locked fence, just one ruined car amongst others. Wren didn't look so bad as some of his neighbours; there was a car that had clearly rolled and been crushed (grass was stuck in the roof and along the top of the windshield), and another was so badly impacted that it no longer appeared to have a trunk, or most of a side. Wren, from some directions, seemed almost whole, but it was clear within moments that there was no way that this could be fixed.

The entire driver's side was caved in. The driver's side window was blown out; glass was strewn throughout the interior. The roof was buckled. The windshield was cracked. And the entire rest of the car was out of alignment. I could barely open the passenger side door at the back, and could barely close the trunk. Everything was twisted.

I took pictures. I wondered if there was something wrong with that, and then decided that I didn't give a damn.

Then I took out everything that was mine: the floor mats, the maps, the CD in the glove compartment, the ownership papers, the license plates. While I was doing this, the insurance guy arrived. He climbed in through the broken window and started the car. Wren started first try, no stuttering, no trouble turning over. The insurance guy looked everything over, and said that Wren was only good for parts.

He left mud all over the seats. Somehow, even though the interior was already wet from rain, this made me so angry. I had kept my car so clean. I fixed all the little stone chips, made sure that the tires were inflated to the proper pressure. Suddenly my car was just a thing that you could climb on and through and make muddy, and no one would care.

Then all I could do was cry.

It could have been so much worse. Marc could have been hurt, or the Purolator woman, or the friend that he was driving home. Someone could have been killed. But it's bad enough as it is. I don't blame Marc, even though he is officially at fault, even though this goes on my driving record, not his. I'm not insanely angry. Right now I just have to deal with the fact that my brother stole my car and crashed it. That my car, my Wren, is now spare parts. That's enough.


Me and Wren

Posted by Karina Sumner-Smith at 10:45 PM


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