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TMCNet:  St. Louis Post-Dispatch Bill McClellan column

[November 12, 2012]

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Bill McClellan column

Nov 12, 2012 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- One morning in late October, I was sitting at a red light on Clayton Road waiting to go on to Highway 40 when -- WHACK! -- I was rear-ended.

The woman who hit me was appropriately apologetic. She was driving an older SUV. We were next to a gas station, so we pulled into it to get out of traffic. I looked at the back of my car. It had four little puncture wounds -- two on the bumper and two right below the license plate.

I say bumper out of habit. Cars don't have bumpers any more. The lowest wounds were where a bumper would have been. Of course, had there been a bumper, there would not have been puncture wounds. That was the reason for bumpers, in case you bumped into something.

"Let me see if my trunk opens," I said to the woman.

My trunk opened, so I said I was fine. I said I had no intention of fixing the minimal damage my car had suffered.

Nevertheless, the woman gave me her insurance information.

I threw it away. I do not worry about minor dents or little puncture wounds. Maybe if I were the sort of person who traded his cars in, I would worry, but I drive my cars until they are no longer drivable. My current car is a 2008 Honda Civic, and it has, I hope, several years and many miles left in it.

Two days later, I was at the post office in Richmond Heights to buy stamps. I came out of the post office, and as I approached my car, a distraught woman was standing by my car. She asked, "Is this your car " "Yes, it is," I said.

"I Just hit it," she said. "I am so sorry." I looked at my car. Sure enough. On the driver's side near the back, there were some minor scratches. I rubbed them. For the most part, they came off.

"I backed into your car. I didn't see it," she said.

I started to assure her that I did not care about any scratches when I looked at her car. She was driving a BMW.

This was just before the recent election, and class warfare was raging, so I was tempted to say, "You are out of luck, lady. You just hit one of the 47 percent. I'm feeling very victimized." I should not blame those feelings on the election.

Years ago, when my daughter was about to take her driving test, she told me she was going to take the test in her mother's car. My wife was driving a new Ford Taurus station wagon at the time.

I urged my daughter to use my car for the test. The man or woman giving the test might hold it against her that she was driving a new car, I explained.

"I don't think most people are like that," my daughter said.

She took her mother's car and she passed. Several months later, my license expired, and I had to take the test. I took my car to the testing station on South Kingshighway, and the man giving the test refused to get in until I cleaned the car. So what do I know At any rate, I was tempted to wage a little class warfare against the BMW driver, but she seemed very nice, and then I noticed she had a child with her, so I adopted a better attitude. I told her the damage to my car was too minor to consider.

She said she wanted to exchange insurance information, anyway, but by then, my mind was on a different path. I was feeling a kinship with the woman. She was driving a BMW. I had a Honda. If only we had a Fiat involved, we'd have the Axis Powers reunited.

How strange that seems. We have an all-out world war against Germany and Japan, and years later, a woman in a German car hits my Japanese car while I'm buying stamps. Those stamps, by the way, were emblazoned with the American flag.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I went to Hawaii. We visited Pearl Harbor and then went to Honolulu for dinner. We went to a nice restaurant, and the menus were in both English and Japanese, and understandably so. A good number of the diners were Japanese.

A visitor from 1941 might well have asked, Who won the war A couple of days after the accident, I got a letter from the woman's insurance company. A claims adjuster wanted me to call. I did. I explained that I didn't intend to file a claim. The damage was too minimal to worry about, I said.

Of course, by then, I had other concerns. As regular readers know, I am superstitious. Things happen in threes. That is, sometimes a thing will happen in isolation, but things rarely happen in pairs. A second occurrence of something usually foretells a third.

Twice now I've been hit. Minor accidents. You might call them fender-benders, if we still had fenders. Will there be a third, and will it also blessedly be minor I'm nervous.

___ (c)2012 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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