When you leave a dentist’s office, things should start to pick up. Such was not the case this week.
Monday morning, I drove over to a trendy section of east Sacramento, parked my 2014 Mustang in the dentist’s half-filled lot and prepared myself mentally to get two fillings and a crown replacement. I thought I had been taking reasonably good care of my not-so-good teeth, but my teeth genes are questionable. My father periodically told the story of giving up on his teeth in his 30s and having them all extracted in one day. He spent a year gumming his food before he was ready for dentures.
My hour in the dental chair went smoothly enough. The dentist and his assistant were competent and caring. Neither asked me complicated questions when I couldn’t possibly answer. I was free to meditate on the lack of good dental-insurance plans in American society. Indeed, our free-choice system means I can choose between little or no coverage. I pay out-of-pocket, as I do for vision care. Monday’s bill came to $1,500. Factor such things into your retirement planning, folks.
Anyway, I left the dentist’s office hopeful my teeth would hold up for a couple of years. I walked over to my Mustang — and suddenly felt confused. The driver’s-side mirror looked odd. In fact, there was no mirror – just the frame hanging at an odd angle. The door had a dent and a scrape. I found the mirror and broken plastic on the ground.
Not again, I thought with a touch of despair. Three months ago, my lightly driven Mustang lost its innocence when a pickup driver sideswiped it in midtown Sacramento. He stuck around to exchange unpleasantries. I filed a claim with my insurance company, which paid more than $3,000 for repairs. I had to fork over $500 to cover my deductible.
This week, the offending party fled the scene – or maybe just shrugged and disappeared into a rat hole. I didn’t waste too much time indulging in revenge fantasies. Too many creeps have been given license to do and say lousy things these days. I choose not to be riled up every waking moment.
I drove home carefully, avoiding sudden lane changes. I called my insurance company. The representative was pleasant. I knew the routine and felt none of the anxiety I had the first time around. Within 90 minutes, I had delivered my car to the body shop and gotten a rental.
I sighed about the prospect of paying another $500 deductible and hoped my policy rate wouldn’t jump when renewal time arrived. Even though I was the victim in both mishaps, the insurer might assume I had bad karma. Long ago, a cold-hearted company canceled my homeowners insurance after burglars hit my house twice in a year.
Meanwhile, I feel an irrational resentment toward my Mustang. This cool car was supposed to bring me fun times, not headaches. I drove an aging Toyota Camry for years without suffering the dings and dents of outrageous fortune. My Irish side has long warned me against putting on the dog. Maybe a humble car is in my future.