Did I ever tell you about the time last year that I totaled my rental car on a deep-winter run between Boston and Montreal? it was an all-night drive through a snowstorm after a one-day recording session with my former bandmate. I was in a hurry because I was driving to pick up The Contortionist, my brand-new girlfriend, from a party for an early morning tryst. Black ice and poor visibility compounded by a few inches of drifting snow (the coarse kind; the stinging icy kind that hisses when it hits your windshield) led to a dead spin at about 60 mph.
I remember trying to right the vehicle as best as I could; turning into the skid and all that, before throwing my hands up in surrender; there was nothing I could do to avoid the inevitable that night.
I was on a bridge, which was cause for some alarm, and I was slowly drifting towards the railing. Luckily for me, I went over the edge just at the end of the bridge, falling just a foot or two landing in a small tree at an angle of about 45 degrees to the ground.
The car was fucked up, and just trying to open the car door at that angle was a mind-altering experience. After a tow truck and ambulance came (no injuries, but no longer tired) I was able to make it back to Montreal at a max speed of about 35 mph. it really did look like I was driving a corpse of a car; all beat up and humming in a hiccupy way with a jerky sort of handling that pulled me so far to the right such that I had to constantly steer a hard left. it felt like I was driving in circles, but I made it to Montreal at about 8 in the morning, three hours later than planned.
I was sure that there were to be repercussions of some sort when I returned the car, but they just asked me to fill in damaged areas with a ball point pen on a little pictogram of a car (“est-ce-que vous avez un felt-tip marker?” I asked before blacking out the entire car), and that was it. The damage waiver of 20$ Canadian covered the whole thing. There was no record of it at all.
The next time I rented from Hertz, they made no mention of it, I had no increase in insurance premiums… fuck!
The great thing was, it happened at a shitty time in my life; my teacher of three years had been deported, my new little circus company was falling apart before we had even managed to secure a big premiere, I was on academic suspension from my school, the plunging US dollar was causing me to lose about 100 dollars a week, and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to graduate on time.
But shit, spinning around on a winter’s night on a suspension bridge put shit in perspective, and the satisfying crunch of landing in a tree and smashing the fuck out of a luxury automobile was a great purge of negativity.
And it only cost me 15 bucks US.