Every time we get a new car — and thankfully, that doesn’t happen often — it’s just a matter of time before I back into something with it. It could be a fence post, a mail box or the edge of a pump at the gas station — but at some point an inanimate object will manage to run afoul of the back end of my car within a short time of me owning it. Usually the backing up misadventure happens during the first year but this time I managed to break all my previous records — we had only had our new SUV about six weeks before I damaged it. It wasn’t a huge deal and the crack was easily fixed at the body shop but who knew that some car parts are made of plastic, of all things? Nevertheless, I felt horrible that I might have harmed the special new relationship I was developing with this vehicle, right at the time that the two of us were beginning to seriously bond with one another — but a good friend brought me back down to earth when I told her about it. Rejecting the misfortune with a dismissive wave of her hand, she scoffed, “Phooey. It’s just a car. Nothing but a hunk of metal.” And plastic, I actually could have added. But the good news is that it’s happened. It’s over. And the car will be safe with me driving it, for the rest of the time I own it.