Earlier today, my dad backed his car out and found that it wouldn't move. He thought the car went on some sort of auto-lock mode, so he hit the gas pedal harder. Turns out the thing preventing his car from moving was...my car.
I surveyed the damage and found a sizable dent accompanied by scratches on my front bumper. I wondered if I should fix it. On one hand, it's pretty ugly. On the other hand, it's just a dent. On the third, odd hand that I don't actually have, it's an addition to a couple of other bumps and bruises the vehicle has endured.
I thought about it and thought about it and eventually put it in the back of my mind.
Then, after work I decided I had no food in the house and needed to make a pit stop at the grocery store. At the exact moment I walked up to my car after shopping, (as I struggled with the bag whose handles just broke off) (did I just personify a bag?), a large truck swiped the passenger side of my car.
The guy was extremely nice and apologized for hitting my car and for taking up my time. (This was much better than when a lady rear-ended me and then wouldn't look at me and was extremely rude and talking about me on the phone). (Or how about the time I rear-ended a deaf person and she wrote on a piece of paper "I'm just glad you're okay." Tear.)
I could have gotten upset and wallowed in self-pity. But then I remembered what I read in Randy Pausch's The Last Lecture. He explained a time when his wife had backed one of their cars into the other car. She hid both cars inside the garage until he got home from work and all day long, she fine-tuned her plan of how she was going to break the news to him. She made his favorite meal and towards the end of it, spilled the beans. His reaction was to wait until they finished eating dinner to go look at it. He told her as long as the cars were running, they were fine. She was shocked that they were going to drive around in dented cars, but he said "If your trashcan or wheelbarrow has a dent in it, you don't buy a new one. Maybe that's because we don't use trashcans and wheelbarrows to communicate our status or identity to others."
I'm still going to get my car fixed, especially because something about the door handle function isn't proper. But it was a good reminder: things are just things.