Chatter #19: July 2, 2001

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM



Sometime between 3 and 3:30PM yesterday afternoon (Sunday, July 1st 2001, if it matters) someone in a white van sideswiped my car fairly badly, bashing in the left side from wheel to wheel. They then thoughtfully pretended to leave a note for the benefit of the many onlookers and witnesses, and departed. Unfortunately no one wrote down his license plate number or got his name, although at least one person spoke to the driver and advised him to leave a note.

If there is a ray of sunshine in this story, it's that several people saw that the van was an Enterprise rental. I suspect that this much improves the chance that they'll be caught. Actually, another plus is that neither Teri nor I was hurt—we were having lunch with my brother, his wife, and their kids miles away at the time. My car was harmlessly and legally parked in front of our house.

But I am really screwed. The damage is bad—I can't open the driver's-side door more than six inches or so. That door is pretty well crushed in. The rear passenger door is scraped badly, and from the look of things the van plowed in by the rear trunk and was stopped by hitting the back side of my left front tire. The left front mudflap is hanging by one rivet, and dragging on the ground. My commute is 60 miles—which is two hours drive each way, usually—and even if the car will start and run, I can't drive it into the city in this shape.

If the damage is greater than 80% of the car's book value (it's a 1988 Honda Civic), the car is totaled and the insurance company writes me a check for that amount. Unfortunately, there's no way I can replace my car for that sum. And it's not like we're rolling in dough. We're not broke, but there are big expenses on the way: the baby's due in October (which brings a whole flock of expenses), and we really need to get a house in the next couple of years, three tops (although we'd really like to have one RIGHT NOW—and in this housing market, it's more likely that we won't live long enough to die in our own house. But I'm feeling particularly pessimistic right now). That won't be possible in the near future (goddam developers), but the gifts that people gave us for the wedding put us well on the way to a decent down payment. That wedding money is sacrosanct, though—I will not touch it for anything other than a house or a true life-or-death emergency.

So what the hell am I going to do? At this moment, all I can do is wait for more information. The car might be repairable; even if it's totaled, I may be able to have it repaired well enough to commute in, even if it's left looking like crap (Teri objects to being seen in a banged-up car, but I'm less choosy). If it's really totaled, maybe I can find a cheap but reasonably dependable car for three to five thousand dollars; there'd be payments involved which would stretch our budget, but we'd survive. But then we'd have to worry about repairs. We've repaired and replaced a lot of things in the Honda, and it has a lot of new parts; a "new" used car could have all the same problems all over again.

Right now it's the sitting and waiting that's getting to me.

God dammit, I hope that whoever did this knows that what they've taken from us will not be covered, nor repaired. They've hurt us, badly, and we never did a thing to them. I can't really express how angry I am right now.

And I really liked my car, too; the '88 Honda Civic is a great car. Handles like a dream, and the visibility is outstanding. Great head room and mileage. Plenty of room overall, too—it was actually more spacious than Teri's Dodge Neon (now there's a piece of crap for you). It was the first car I ever had that had power windows, power locks, and working air conditioning. I was proud of it, not for its looks but because it was a good piece of machinery. So what if it was old? It was great!

I...there just isn't anything more I can say about it right now.

Other News

I'll be going on vacation (and therefore offline) later in the week, so don't be surprised if not much new appears in the Chaos Project until next week (although ANYONE CAN CONTRIBUTE TO THE PROJECT!!! hint hint). We considered canceling the vacation because of the car situation, but I decided that the bastard who did this was not going to get to wipe out our (now even more) desperately-needed relaxation time.

I'm not entirely sure about this, but I think I have a bunch of old ideas that I'm going to add to the Project soon; I'd been saving them in the hopes that I could use them for a game of my own, but I've come to realize that that's silly. Most of the players I usually game with don't read this site often (I don't know why), and in any case I have to be realistic: I haven't GMed for more than a year, and the odds are good that it will be a long time before I GM again (unless I do something online, but I have no strong expectations that that will happen). So I'm going to make what use of those hoarded ideas that I can, by posting them on the site. Maybe someone will get some use out of them.

You know what I would love? A good collaborator. Someone to work with in designing, testing, running, and particularly writing up games. To dream the Impossible Dream...

I hadn't realized that anyone read this section often, but a few emails lately have surprised me; I'd thought of Chatter as a place for me to expunge my over-talkativeness, primarily. You know, there's one thing I'd really love to experience: seeing my own site as a stranger. How much would I like it? I really wonder, and I'll never know.

Voting Rites

The site's been listed at a new location: The Gaming Outpost. If you're all fired up and eager to vote for it, here's the link. I do appreciate every vote.

Actually I've been thinking about ways to deal with the various "voting" sites; there are several. Still thinking about it, though.

I've got a lot more to say, but I'm out of time—got to hit the road for that 2-hour drive (in Teri's Neon —although I do appreciate her and her mother carpooling to let me use it). I'll write more before I head out on vacation, if I possibly can!


The adjuster called, and the car is totaled.

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[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0