Wednesday, August 16, 2006

the bumper-to-bumper tango

Sometimes it doesn't pay to get out of bed on the weekend.
Sunday morning of the long weekend. Felt the urge of get out of town. Buffalo/Niagara? Sure. Since it was Sunday, best to get up at a decent hour to make the most of the day, no matter how good bed felt.

Everything goes smoothly until I hit the usual logjam at QEW and 403. No problem: Upper Middle Rd to the rescue.

Tried to rejoin QEW at Bronte Rd. Still backed up. No problem: st drive through Burlington and rejoin by the Skyway.

Flip on the radio. Traffic's backed up onto the Skyway. No problem: stay in Canada, meander through the west end of the Golden Horseshoe, then hit food stands and the odd winery in Niagara.

I turned onto Lakeshore in downtown Burlington. Slow traffic. Everyone else was trying to escape QEW or out for a Sunday drive. No big deal, I figured, I'd just amble along through the beaches of Hamilton Harbour.

I crawled a block. Stopped. Suddenly, I heard a bang behind me.


Cue one of the longest seconds of my life.

A car had struck the vehicle behind me, which sent them into me, which sent me into the vehicle ahead of me...well, you get the picture. Luckily, the police station was around the corner, so the incident was cleared up quickly.

Doin' The Long Weekend Bumper to Bumper Tango The Front View The Rear View

Luckily, I was able to drive the car, despite the damage to the front (the vehicle behind me wasn't so lucky, as its body was warped so badly that the tower had to take a crowbar to metal around the rear wheel). The main problem was a headlight that loosened - if I was on side streets, it stayed in place, otherwise it hung down like a droopy alien tentacle. Tempers stayed in check and I remained cool as a cucumber, rather than the shocked state I was in after a driver shaved off my front end at Christmas.

Since I had some time to kill before the accident report was report, I kicked around Hamilton and drove as far as the outskirts of St. Catharines before heading back, returning with cheap-if-heavily-battered 1950s war comics, a bag of fresh corn (anyone else notice this year's crop was a good one?) and a bottle of Stoney Ridge Pinot Grigio.

Unlike my last experience with a ruined bumper, events happened quickly. I had the car in the shop by Wednesday and picked it up Monday night. I puttered around in a 2007 Cobalt over the weekend, which took some adjusting. While speedy (I'd hate to think how fast I'd whiz down 401 west of London under the spell of highway hypnosis), I missed having an armrest in the middle and had to readjust to all-manual locks for the first time since our family's long-departed '81 Delta 88.

I'm beginning to think the Cavalier is an unlucky beast. A tree relaxing on the hood. Damage from an unknown lousy parker in Boston. Tell-tale marks from trying to wiggle it from its frozen state. Gliding off of an icy 401. Other drivers running red lights. Whenever it reaches automotive heaven, it won't run out of stories.

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