It was the middle of the night and I was lying in bed.
It was a previous life, a previous house.
I was dating Learner Dad but definitely home alone that night.
For some reason, I’d left my car parked on the street instead of in the driveway.
And that ‘crunch’ was the unmistakable sound of someone smashing my side mirror as they manoeuvred their way down our narrow street.
I listened intently.
All was silent for a bit.
Then they revved their engine and went on their way.
No knock. No note.
They hadn’t even got out to check the damage.
I got out of bed to do just that.
There was glass all over the road.
Angry, I went back to bed with clenched fists but eventually fell asleep again.
The next morning, I woke early to the sound of a truck grumbling its way up the street.
Clearly it too had smashed into what was left of my side mirror.
I heard a door slam, then footsteps on my driveway before a knock at the door.
I opened it to find a clearly embarrassed middle-aged man wearing a uniform belonging to a well-known Tasmanian company.
“Sorry love, I’ve just crashed into the side mirror of your car,” he apologised. “These roads are too bloody narrow for trucks like ours.”
“No worries,” I replied slowly. “My car’s not in the best nick anyway.”
“Well my company will obviously pay for the damage,” he said.
I paused, then: “OK”.
We looked at each other.
Oh right, he didn’t know I’d already seen the mess.
“I better come out and have a look then,” I said, feigning dread.
As I pretended to see the damage for the first time (actually the mirror was in worse shape after its second hit), I thought about what I was doing.
Or was I?
What was there to gain from coming clean?
He still would have hit the mirror, even if the other car hadn’t.
The repair bill wasn’t coming out of his pocket.
And it sure as hell shouldn’t come out of mine.
He seemed ok about it and, besides, I’d have to be the nicest crash ‘victim’ he’d ever come across.
I guess the fact I am even sharing this story shows that what could have been gained from coming clean to that man was a clear conscience.
Though he didn’t seem too worried at the time, for all I knew that accident could have been the dealbreaker in deciding who to let go when times got tough for the company.
About a year later, I was driving down a small street when a car literally stopped dead in front of me.
The driver whacked it into reverse and drove straight back into my car as I sat there.
An elderly lady emerged, frightened, upset, confused, and eventually in torrents of tears.
The damage seemed minor, so I told her it wasn’t her fault and let her go.
A couple of hours later, the whole front of my car started to fall off.
Maybe that was my karma.
Or maybe she was just a good actress, like me.