Out of the corner of my eye, just past the cars lined up in the turning lane, I could see that something was coming towards me quickly. Way too quickly. I tried to swerve, but knew that the inevitable was coming.
I heard crunching metal, the screeching of tires sliding sideways against the pavement, and smashed glass. A driver ran a red light at full speed and t-boned me.
Once the car stopped, I hesitated for a fraction of a second before looking over at my fiancée. The car had driven straight into her door, which she was leaning on. She was okay. Good.
I got out of the car, now facing traffic in the oncoming traffic lane and walked towards the other guy's car. His airbags had deployed and the front of his car totally smashed. He looked at me with a blank stare. I opened my palms towards him as if to say, "what was that all about?"
He didn't respond so I opened his door. Are you okay, I asked? I think so, he said.
In that small slice of time I realized that the Bentley had just bought was smashed very badly.
I write a lot about positivity, but I feel like it's normally pretty easy for me to write about, since not all that many bad things happen to me. Finally something bad happened to me, so I can write about how I maintained positivity throughout that event.
The following is exactly how I thought about the situation, in chronological order.
"My girlfriend could have died! That would have been terrible. I would pay way more than the cost of this car for her to not die, so already this is a good value."
"Wait, he probably has insurance. I might get a lot of money out of this and then I can decide whether to buy another Bentley or a minivan. Maybe I will get the minivan of my dreams AND some money."
"It is very interesting to be in a big car wreck. I'm lucky to experience that without any injuries."
"I was very calm during that whole thing. That's great to know that I can remain calm in situations like that."
People started taking pictures and videos and were loving the drama of the situation.
"This probably won't cost me anything, and this is providing a lot of entertainment for a lot of people. I would be interested if I saw a Bentley get smashed too."
I went home and called the insurance company. They confirmed that he had plenty of coverage.
"Cool! They'll fix it up to be brand new. I got to have that crazy experience and it won't cost me anything in the end."
"It's really not bothering me at all that my car got destroyed. That's just proof of how good my life is, because something bad can happen to me and there are enough great things to totally negate it."
I brought my car to a body shop. The guy was extremely nice, really liked the car, and made it very obvious that he was going to take a lot of pride in the repair.
"This guy seems great. I'm really glad he's going to be the one fixing my car."
The next day the insurance company calls me and tells me, very curtly, that his coverage expired thirteen hours before he hit me.
"Wow, that's too bad. Maybe there's some other way I can get it covered."
I then called my insurance company, his insurance company, and a lawyer. It became crystal clear that if it was going to get fixed, I'd be the one paying for it.
"Well, that event already happened so there's now no point in thinking about it. Cost of repair is around $16k. That's a lot of money, but it's actually a pretty cheap price for a Bentley. So even though I have to buy it again, I can buy it at a good price and it already has the stereo that I put in."
"Wait, maybe I can scrap the car and use the money to buy a minivan. Then for one price of one car I got to experience owning and driving a Bentley AND I'll have the most practical vehicle ever. Not the best deal in the world, but not terrible either."
"If I get rid of the Bentley I will actually save money on maintenance, gas, and insurance. This will save me money in a weird way."
"It hurts to pay so much for a repair at once, but I've saved way more than this by always getting minimum insurance coverage. So actually I should be happy because overall my strategy has saved me money."
I call some scrap places and the most anyone will pay is $6500. Not really worth it.
"Okay, well now I don't have to worry about the decision. The only correct move is to repair the Bentley. I love that car, so now I get to be excited about getting my car back. Because I won't have it for a while, I will probably like it even more when I get it back."
"Sometimes when I travel I worry that the car is going to get keyed or something. Since it will be in the repair shop, I don't have to worry about that for a long time."
Reading back on this list, I imagine that people will think it's hyperbole or a joke or that I'm only sharing the positive thoughts. When I found out abruptly that I was definitely going to have to pay for the repair myself there were certainly a few minutes of coming to terms with that and being frustrated. But then I just got back on the positive train and those feelings washed away. Now, a few weeks later, it's hard for me to even think of the event as a negative event. I obviously know logically that it was a negative event, but it doesn't feel like one.
I have this level of positivity primarily because I've made it a practice for the past 20+ years to always think of the positive of anything that happens. Doing that for long enough will train your brain to immediately find and latch on to all the positives of a situation. While I know that it colors my perception in a slightly inaccurate way, I can't think of a single time where I made a suboptimal decision because I was overly positive.
Photo is the Bentley right after the crash. Poor guy! Cool that it took a direct impact and didn't even shatter windows or hurt my wife, who was leaning against the door it hit.
I haven't read your blog for a couple of years... so imagine my surprise to see you driving a Bentley instead of living in an RV. Looks like I have some catching up to do! Glad to hear you are both ok.
you call her your fiance, girlfriend and wife all within the same post!!!
My rialta got towed countless times this year, and has ended up costing 2x it's purchase price because of repairs. I wrote about how I kept from pouting here (How To Be Invincible). Very similar process in the moment...like Tyler Durden in Fight Club getting pounded in the face and laughing.
Some US auto insurance info for other folks who have commented. 1) Some states (like NJ) are "no-fault" states, where your insurances pays to fix your car. It doesn't really matter who's fault it is. Nevada is not a "no-fault" state, however. It's a "tort" state, which means you often have to go to court to get your money from the other guy. 2) All states (except maybe New Hampshire) require auto insurance. But that's between the driver and the state. It doesn't help you if the guy who hits you doesn't have insurance. 3) You can add an "uninsured driver" part to your insurance, to pay for your repairs when an uninsured guy hits you.
In this case, I'm assuming Tynan did not have the "uninsured driver" feature as he preferred to go with a low cost basic policy. Also, he probably felt that the time/cost involved in taking the guy to court wasn't worth it. Also, people who drive ilegally without insurance often also don't have a lot of money saved up, so even if you win in court, there won't be much to get.
will you press charges? What happens with the guy driving without insurance ! It’s screwed up!
No point. He doesn't have money and his car got wrecked, too.
And after living in Las Vegas for 8 months a decade ago, my minimum vehicle there would be an MRAP (an armored truck for resisting roadside bombs). The percentage of people looking for the place to have their next accident is noticeable!
That is one hell of a car to take that small amount of damage from a side impact. Car doors and sides can be like cardboard and a side hit really dangerous for the passengers but you seem to have a great car there! Or maybe the impact speed wasn't that high? Anyway man, thanks for sharing and glad everything went ok! I'm a new subscriber and liking your stuff!
In 2003, Rick Rubin offered me a ride in his Bentley Arnage. I declined because I thought the place we were going was within walking distance, and only after he drove off did I realize that I was thinking of the wrong place and had missed a chance to ride in what I still believe is the most beautiful car ever built.
Ten years later I was reading an article of the top ten most depreciated cars, and the journey from number ten to number one ended in that very car, the Bentley Arnage. Bentleys retail for $250,000 or more, but at the time of the article the Arnage could be had for $30,000. That was still more than I would spend, but it brought the idea to earth at least.
I'm not really a car guy. I have a soft spot for Mercedes, coupes in particular, but I'm mostly interested in getting from point A to point B. I've never financed a car, and when I bought my last car the only three categories I'd consider were Japanese minivan, barest-bones econobox, or 90s era Mercedes. I ended up buying a 1996 Mercedes C220 for $1600 and spending $900 to get a couple problems fixed up. It shifted with a bit of a thud and the AC was cool, but not quite cold. I figured it would last a year or so, but it's still going strong two years later.
A few months ago I decided to see if Bentleys had depreciated further. Sure enough, they had. Some could be had as cheaply as $20k. The Mercedes was still clunking along, but at that price I couldn't help but do a little research. What I found whipped me into a bit of a frenzy.
Life would be great if I only knew the lesson of an event before the event. If I knew that my wife would be angry when I complained about Disney food, then I just wouldn't voice those opinions operatically. What I'm finally seeing is that life's lessons happen all the time, we just need to see them.
Two experiences, one yesterday and one fifteen years ago reminded me of this. First the more recent one. While sitting in the gymnastics waiting room earlier this week I was talking about books with one of the other parents there. She was well read in different areas of fiction and I found myself noting book after book. She had me excited to read and that night I logged onto my Amazon.com account and nearly ordered some of the Kindle copies - because she read them on her Kindle.
At the start of the year I decided to limit my book purchases and except for a pair of un-regrettable slip-ups, I haven't missed having the books. Her hour long influence on me almost led me to buy a book. She didn't make me do anything but our conversation had shifted my framing of the world, from my goal to her norm.
The second episode I thought of was in a driver's education class. In this class - which taught me more about talking to girls than driving - the students would talk about what kind of cars we thought were cool. We pined away in our wood-paneled station wagons. One night the conversation turned to luxury cars and I declared that my luxury car of choice was clear, the Pontiac Bonneville
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="320"] The Pontiac Bonneville[/caption]