The suburbs giveth, the suburbs

The suburbs giveth, the suburbs taketh away

The snow on Tuesday night seemed to catch the borough of West Chester by surprise, and when I left for work yesterday morning, the streets still hadn’t been plowed or salted very well. Kate and I bought a Nissan Sentra last month, and I’ve inherited her old car: a 1995 Ford Escort that’s starting the graceful (I hope) decline into an elegant senescence.

After waiting until I was 21 to get my driver’s licence, and after eight years in New York City, I’m not an expert driver. Mostly, I guess I just don’t know the nuances of winter driving: roads that were wet but grippy the night before may have frozen solid as the temperature dropped overnight.

Which was, in fact, what was going through my head as I slipped slowly towards a “left turn only” sign at the corner of High and Miner street yesterday. I had plenty of time to think things over, as the Escort drifted diagonally, with an almost balletic grace, at five miles per hour. Would the curb stop me? Would I go through the sign and hit the tree behind it?

Well, the curb didn’t stop me; I drifted right up over the entrance ramp to the Methodist church. Fortunately, the sign did, and the only damage to the car is a five-inch gash in the bumper. After propping the sign back up against a tree, I talked to West Chester’s Officer Murphy, who was helpful and sympathetic, and I drove off to catch the next train to work. The gash isn’t all that bad, but it’s the accumulation of small dings that separate a dutiful station car from a miserable hooptie, so I’m going to get it fixed.

This morning at 6AM, I pulled into Chester County Auto Body, and got a quote that won’t break the bank. I can drop the car off any day starting Monday the third, and they’ll have it back with a new, re-painted aftermarket bumper on the same day — waiting in the parking lot with the keys in the ashtray, so that I can pick it up after work. Damn, I live in a great town.

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