So there I was, having a typical work week Thursday, driving a friend to a company-sponsored kickball game in the middle of the afternoon.
Typical as used in this sentence actually means “in no way typical.”
That word is tricky sometimes.
Anyway, so I’m tooling down the road with my buddy in tow, and we come to a light that has just changed from green to yellow to red. I slide into the right-hand-turn-only lane, because the park I need to get to is on the right (sensible) and I assume (stupid) that the car in front of me is actually going to go (asinine).
I’ve slowed to about three miles per hour.
I’ve turned my head to the left to see what traffic I have to contend with to make my right-hand turn.
My friend in the passenger seat says “Whoa!”
And I thump the bumper in front of me.
Jarring, but not forceful. Enough to know that we’ll be late to the kickball game.
So I put it in park and climb out of the car to survey the damage, and I’m met by the rudest woman I’ve ever encountered during an accident situation. I’ve been in quite a few over the years – always the one to have been hit, never the one doing the hitting…so, in essence, the bumped and not the bumper. My initial reaction has always been, “Are you okay?” because I’m actually concerned about the person who initiated the accident, as much as I’m sure they’re concerned about me. And I’ve been right in every instance.
Cars are secondary; humans come first.
In this case? Not so much.
The first words out of her mouth were, “Well, didn’t you see me?”
I knew what I was dealing with at that point.
Holy shit! Was that you in that gigantic blue fiberglass bubble in front of me? It’s like you appeared out of nowhere—AT A DEAD STOP. “Yes…and I thought you were going to make the turn,” I told her.
“How could I with all that traffic coming?” she countered.
We surveyed the damage, me biting my tongue as much as possible. She had scratches on her bumper – no dent, no buckle, no impression whatsoever…scratches only. She brushed them with her hand and told me, just in case I thought I was going to get off scot-free, “Well, this is going to have to be cleaned up.”
Not fixed or hammered out or replaced.
Just cleaned up.
Then I looked at my car, and the grand indentation left behind by the impact. It was substantial. “There’s this, too,” I said, if only to round out the conversation.
And then this ridiculous woman said, “Well, I’m not responsible for that!”
And so, I lost my manners…possibly not the right thing to do, considering my position in the whole situation. But seeing the little sticker on her car, a logo from one of the larger cult-astic mega-churches in our area, and hearing the superiority in her tone that belied the teachings of said mega-church, I felt a little more condescension than I had expected. “Nobody said you were, ma’am,” was my response. “Let’s exchange information…” So I can get the hell out of your superior presence and kick a fucking ball at innocent people, lady.
I dug my insurance card out of my wallet as she met me at the passenger door with a piece of green paper and her phone. “Here,” she said handing me the paper. “And do you have a pen? I don’t…I wasn’t expecting this to happen.”
Wrong thing to say to someone who writes sarcasm for a living.
Okay…not for a living, per se. But you get what I mean.
“No? Funny…I wasn’t expecting it either. People don’t usually expect to have car accidents.” But hey – I carry a pen in my car even on days when I’m not expecting it, so let me WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING THAT YOU’RE GOING TO NEED.
“I was just on my way to deliver my rent check,” she explained. Oh? Had I known that I certainly wouldn’t have ACCIDENTALLY KNOCKED INTO YOUR CAR AT THREE FUCKING MILES PER HOUR. Maybe think about putting a sticker for that on your bumper instead of the one for your church: DON’T CRASH INTO ME – I MIGHT BE DELIVERING MY RENT CHECK!
Then, as things cooled, I got to hear about the other accident she was in…the one that caused whiplash. So of course, my first thought was that she’s hinting at her own whiplash in this incident. “Well, at least NOBODY WAS HURT THIS TIME,” I said, loudly enough for my friend – and now witness – to hear.
And then it was over. She got back in her car and presumably saved her residency and all the orphans who live there by delivering her rent check mostly on-time, and I got into my car and drove to the park for kickball…by which time, most of my co-workers already knew about the accident. Turns out they’d passed us as we stood discussing the finer points of rubbing paint scratches off of a bumper and our pen-carrying tendencies (or non-carrying tendencies, as the less-responsible of us are prone to.)
Needless to say, I kicked the shit out of that ball.
And my team won.
Plus, there were double chocolate-chocolate chip cookies and Doritos at the snack table.
The moral of all this babbling?
Thursdays can really be a mixed bag, so make sure you carry a pen.