Either/Or…Part 2
I Can Live with a Dent

In my previous essay, I discussed Soren Kierkegaard’s book, Either/Or. This essay is Part 2. Nonetheless, this true story will take me a bit of time to explain. First, I’m Scottish. You might say that I am cheap, but I’d prefer the term, frugal. I don’t like throwing money around nor do I like bragging about the billions of dollars that I have in offshore bank accounts.

An example of my frugality is my car. It is used mostly for activities like shopping or taking Ginger to the vet. I have a VW Jetta that is eleven years old and has nearly a quarter million miles on it. So, it is beater car, but it runs. I hope it runs for another handful of years.

However, I had to get a new air conditioning unit installed several weeks ago. Therefore, I parked my car on the street, which gave the installers free use of the driveway for their truck and van. During the day, a neighbor from across the street came to my front door to explain that she had inadvertently backed out of her driveway without seeing my car and ran into it. I told her to relax, and I would talk to my State Farm agent, Bob Moreth. His office is located 7570 E 109th Ave., Crown Point, IN. Interestingly, she had a State Farm agent too.

Since the dent on the backdoor of the driver’s side didn’t affect driving the car, I wasn’t concerned. I took the car to Rob Pryde who works at Carstar, which repairs and paints cars involved in accidents. The shop is located at 1020 E. Summit St. Crown Point, IN. He took pictures of the entire car, but the following photos are of the dented door.

If you look carefully, you can see Rob taking the photo in the reflection of the window and the door. I’m the one with the yellow shirt reflected on the dented door. He wrote up the estimate and gave me a copy. However, I was still teaching, which tied me up a great deal. Additionally, I went to Indianapolis to visit my two grandsons and spent some time with them. Before I drove back home to pick up Ginger, who was at a kennel’s daycare facility, I said goodbye to my grandsons. However, their father had just come home from work. As he walked to my car, we chatted until he noticed the dent in the door. I explained about my neighbor backing into it on the street, and that the accident wasn’t any big deal.

Then I got to what really did bother me. I said that I wished that I could just take the money and not repair the dent. Getting a new door on a beater car didn’t make sense to me. I would rather give my family in Myanmar the money. My son-in-law said that I could do precisely that. Take the money, leave the dent, and when I see my family in a couple for months, I could give them the money. He told me about having an old truck that was in a hailstorm. It wasn’t worth wasting money fixing a lot of small dings from the hail. He simply took his insurance check and drove the truck until he got a new truck. I told him that I had never been involved in an accident and didn’t know that I could merely take the check and repair my car.

I drove back to Crown Point and called my agent. However, the office was closed but my call was forwarded to a claims adjuster by the name of Porshea. I explained the dent in the door and asked whether it was okay not to repair the dent and just give it to my family in Myanmar. In the process, I explained meeting a tour guide, Moh Moh six years ago. She was my tour guide around Inle Lake. I met her husband along with her three young daughters. It wasn’t long before that family was a part of my family. Two years ago, I returned during winter break for a visit and will be returning again in December.

Porshea was very interested about my feelings for my family. I told her to go to my website and read about them in my articles section. She said that she would go home after work and spend time going through my webpage. She did precisely that. The next day, she called Bob Moreth’s secretary and told her about our discussion the previous evening.

The issue that fascinated me was how three employees of State Farm responded to my love for my family in Myanmar. Bob Moreth and his secretary have known me for years. However, Porshea and I have never met. Nevertheless, each of them, in their own unique ways, wanted to assist me caring for my family.