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.