Add this to the list of weird things that have happened to me.
I was running my dog outside before a work-from-home meeting (that part is not unusual), when my shoes crunched across something unexpected in the driveway.
Glass. Thick brown shards of it extending from my puppy’s poo pail across the width of my car’s back bumper.
My mind ran the gamut in about 15 seconds – had someone thrown beer bottles against my garage door? Had the outside light shattered? Had there been glass in my driveway yesterday and I drove over it?
I scanned every nearby surface until my gaze froze at the shattered edge of my car’s back window.
No Ordinary Shatter
This was no ordinary shatter, if a car window shattering is ever ordinary. This looked like there had been a percussive boom inside my car. The lip edge of my rear window was curled outward and flanked with broken glass. There was no single point of blast, no rock-through-the-hole center. Instead, there was a maze of spider veins and a series of chipped layers all across the window that were reminiscent of sharp flakes of shale. Add to this picture the fact that my car was backed – backed! – against the garage door. Another car closer to the road was untouched.
I was flummoxed.
There was no sign of anything heavy falling off the roof – where would it have gone?
Could something inside my car have exploded? There was nothing in there but a half-full bottle of frozen water and my dog’s towels.
I called the police because I needed a witness to my perplexity.
The attending officer agreed it didn’t look malicious.
“But what caused it?” I asked.
“Weird things happen,” he said with a shrug.
I imagine an officer working the beat has witnessed weirder things than a car window shattering for no apparent reason. For me, however, this was right up there. Maybe not quite Unexplained Flying Objects weird, but close.
His best explanation was some kind of air pressure caused the window to shatter. When we shut the car doors, the quiet slam caused half the window to shower into my car.
“See?” he said. As though this were a perfectly predictable response.
I waved him on his way and called my insurance agent.
“What’s your best guess as to what caused the broken window?” she asked.
“Umm… air pressure,” I hedged, as I tried to explain the miraculous shattering.
“Has it been cold there and have you used your defroster lately?” she asked.
“25°F and yes, yesterday.”
“That happens,” she answered, keyboard clicking in the background.
That happens? I’ve been driving nearly 30 years in sub-freezing temperatures, sometimes in places where plugging in your car to keep the engine block from freezing is a thing. And I have never heard of your window spontaneously shattering while parked in your driveway.
But I wasn’t about to argue with the nice lady filing my claim.
The call ended with a referral to a local glass shop and a promise that the repairs would be covered in full. I may be vacuuming glass dust from my trunk for weeks, but one step at a time. Currently my car’s tail is shrouded in black garbage bags, and no one better run up the driveway barefooted. Which, given the weather, is probably unlikely.
Weird, right? Have you ever heard of a car window shattering at 25°F a day after using the defroster?
If you’re like me, now you have.
Here are the lessons I draw from this little tale.
- Weird things happen. Sometimes they make good stories.
- I tried googling percussive boom to see if it was a legitimate phrase. Google suggested I might actually be trying to search for Percussive Boomwhackers, which is a musical instrument in the plosive aerophone and idiophone family. I don’t know what most of those words mean, but I suspect the sound my car made when the glass shattered is very similar to a Boomwhacker so I kept the phrase.
- Things shatter: windows, relationships, us. Sometimes the breaking comes from an external blow. Sometimes it comes from our own internal pressure cooker. Sometimes we have no idea what happened; we just see the pieces. But all this mess – me, you, that dude down the street – the repair for all of it is paid in full. We may still have to have the repair work done. We may need some protection in the meantime because it can be vulnerable to be shattered. But if we are willing to take the necessary steps, the offering is on the table. When we take the first step – it doesn’t even have to be the step, it can just be a step – God reveals the second step. Repair work proceeds step-by-inch-by-step.
In a tiny twist of dramatic irony, I stopped by the mailbox on our evening walk. There, in an oversized white envelope, was my annual car insurance bill.
If ever there was a clarion call to action, this might be it.
I think I’ll pay it.
This post was first posted to inspireafire.com. Wishing you a shatterproof day today 🙂