I had to deal with an insurance claims adjuster recently.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It all began one fine June day when I moved into my little cottage on a lake in Connecticut. Existence was idyllic. I awoke and stepped out the back door for a quiet swim or took the canoe out for a paddle through the gently rising mists on the water.
This bucolic bliss was interrupted on a November morning when I jumped into the shower and . . . nothing. Not a drop!
After a hasty call to the local plumber, I was informed that just before winter each year, the town fathers lower the lake, which, in turn, drastically lowers the water table, through some quantum mechanics principle that I will never understand. All I knew was, I didn’t have any running water. And I wasn’t the only one around without it. No one had any. Of course, the realtor had had a convenient memory lapse when it came to this vital bit of information.
The bottom line was, if I wanted water during the winter, I had to have a well dug. I hired the well diggers, who brought in a drill while I was at work, and spent the next two days drilling, mashing my wisteria to a shadow of its former self, and maiming my marigolds.
At last, on the third day, I arrived home from work to find my horticulturally-sensitive drillers gone and a well cap about half the height of a fire hydrant in their place.
I flew to the house and turned on the first faucet I came to. Water! I danced! I shouted for joy! I called my mother!
After I calmed down, I decided I’d better put something fairly obvious over the top of the well cap, so that people wouldn’t trip over it. I thought that my old, leaky aluminum rowboat would work, and, as it turned out, was the perfect depth to completely cover the cap and remain flush with the ground.
That night we had a violent storm. The rain fell in walls, not in drops, and the wind was howling all night long.
The next drizzly morning, I bounced out of bed, euphoric at the prospect of a hot shower. Everything went as expected. Upon leaving for work, I even whistled a bar or two from “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.”
Three notes into it, the cheery tune died on my lips.
The entire hood of my Fiat Spider convertible was smashed beyond recognition, and the rowboat was on the front lawn.
Evidently, the wind had lifted the boat off the cap and bounced it off the hood of my car, before planting it squarely in my dahlias.
So, I submitted a claim to my insurance company. Two days later, I received a notice from them indicating that my claim had been denied. I picked up the phone.
“Good morning. I have a claim I need to discuss.”
“What is the policy number?”
“What the rest of the number?”
“Just “one.” I go back a long way with your company.”
“I should say so! One moment, and I’ll put you through to Mr. Watson.”
“Mr. Watson. May I help you?”
“Yes. This is Carson Buckingham. I want to know why you’ve denied my insurance claim.”
“I’m sorry, m’am. The person who originally handled your claim is no longer with us.”
“He died? Good.”
“No, no. He’s employed elsewhere.”
“Let’s hope it’s making license plates.”
“Yes, well, perhaps you could acquaint me with your problem.”
“The claim was for my Fiat. The hood is smashed and I have to get it fixed. My policy is all paid up, so I don’t understand why my claim was denied.”
“And exactly how did the accident occur?”
“It was hit by a flying rowboat.”
And, do you know, that bastard hung up on me!