This week was JAM-PACKED. I went over a week without seeing my son during the Thanksgiving holiday, so I had lots of fun things planned for us this week. I also had tons of work, lots of laundry, and a Christmas list the length of my arm to shop for. (Oh, and $500 to give away on Sunday.) Tuesday morning I scooted out into the world after dropping Abe at school to get the oil changed in my car. When I arrived at the dealership, they told me I really didn’t need one for a while (I drive a Mini Cooper and they can go FAR longer in between oil changes) so they sent me home.
On the phone with Bear discussing some travel plans, I stopped at a red light and watched a woman across the street waiting to cross the busy intersection. Suddenly my car lurched forward for no particular reason at all and I screamed. “What?” Bear asked.
I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a young woman with a very mournful look on her face in the car behind me. Ooooooh, I thought. She hit me.
“I just got rear-ended,” I said, getting out of the car.
“Are you kidding me?!!?!?” he yelled, only with the “f” word.
“No, I gotta go.”
My bumper was partially pulled away from the body of my car, covered is dents and scratches. I approached the car behind me.
“I’m so sorry,” said the driver.
“Are you ok?” Her passenger leaned over and looked at me, also a young woman.
“I’m fine. Are you two ok?” I asked.
“Yeah,” both responded.
“I’m really sorry, can you just not call the cops?” she said.
That was clue #1 that this was about to get interesting.
So as I was calling the cops, a state trooper pulled up behind us. I’m going to call him Dick. (What? It’s a name.) He advised us both to pull into a parking lot nearby. I got back into my car and called Bear to say I was OK and Dick were there. The “f” words continued but when Dick walked up to my car I had to cut Bear off and hang up again. “License and insurance, please.”
I handed it to him and asked, “Does she have insurance?” I only asked this because the brief glimpse I got of her through her car window…well, let’s just say I made a snap judgement.
“I don’t know yet,” he responded. He was one of those state troopers who had that condescending swagger no matter how fast or slow he was walking. I watched him swagger up to her car as both women got out. The driver had a bird’s nest of hair on her head, a very thin, almost gaunt, frame, wearing a tube top and jeans. Her passenger…well. She had one leg.
I got out of my car and approached the other car hoping to find out if they had insurance when Dick sternly advised, “Ma’am, you need to stay by your car. If you’re nervous or worried, then it would be best for you to sit down.”
“Ooookaaaay,” I responded. I moved back to my car and rubbed my neck. I couldn’t tell if it hurt from whiplash or from the killer yoga workout I’d done the day before.
Eventually Dick took our information to his car, got in, rolled up the window, and from there I can only guess he downloaded old Atari games and played them for 20 minutes because what else could he be doing in there? I sat by my car as the driver and her passenger walked over. We’ll call the driver Tweak and the passenger Peg.
“You can sue me, you know,” Tweak shouted as she walked towards me.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“You can sue me. You can call Farrel and Farrel and sue me if you want to,” she exclaimed.
“I don’t want to sue you,” I responded. “I want my bumper fixed.”
“I know alllllll about accidents,” Peg then said.
“Ok,” I responded.
“You know, if you’re hurt, like rubbing your neck, you should call an ambulance. Like now,” Tweak said.
“I don’t need an ambulance,” I said.
“We didn’t even hit you that hard,” Peg said.
“Ok,” I responded.
“You’re probably not even that hurt,” Peg said.
“You should go to the hospital,” Tweak said.
This is when I entered the ACTUAL twilight zone.
“I hate hospitals,” Peg said to me, straight into my eyes.
“I’m sorry about your leg,” I said having NO idea why it was coming out of my mouth while it was. Maybe it was because I felt on some level I could relate, having broken a leg. Maybe I was nervous that two strangers appeared to be trying to trick me into suing them. Either way, I regretted it immediately.
“Oh, I’m fine. I don’t need two. I get around great,” she smiled, revealing that one missing tooth.
“Good, I’m glad to hear that.” I wasn’t.
“I’ve been without it for years,” she went on.
“How many now?” Tweak asked.
“Let’s see…four.” This means she had to do the math problem 2014 minus 2010…AND IT TOOK HER A MINUTE.
“Wow,” I said.
“But my accident was in 2007,” she said.
This made no sense to me. “They took your leg off three years after your accident?”
“Yeah, well, they might have taken it off sooner but I got pregnant.”
Of course, you did.
“And then after my son was born they were going to fix it but I got pregnant again.”
Of COURSE, you did.
“So once I had my second kid I was like, you know what? Just take the whole thing off.”
“Ok,” I responded.
“Erin?” Dick called from his car.
I walked straight over to his window and he handed my ID and my insurance card. He didn’t say anything else.
“What do I do?”
“Hang on,” he said, super annoyed that I had QUESTIONS.
Tweak and Peg lingered nearby, trying intently to listen.
“Ok, you just take this report and call your insurance. They’ll tell you what to do,” he said.
“MY insurance? Does she have insurance?” I asked, terrified that I was about to find out that I DEFINITELY should have bought the uninsured motorist policy.
“I. Don’t. Know,” he said. “Call your insurance company and they’ll tell you what to do.”
I started to walk back to my car when Tweak ran up to me all…tweaky. “Did he say I could go?”
“He didn’t say anything about you.”
“Do you think I can go?” she asked.
“I have no idea.”
“He didn’t say I should stay?”
“Does he have your license? You’ll probably want to get that back.”
“I don’t have a license.”
Of course you don’t.
“I mean, I have one but I lost it.”
“Well, I don’t know if you should stay.”
“He has my ID card,” Peg shouted. “We can’t go yet.”
“Do you think he’ll search my car?” Those were Tweak’s parting words to me.
I drove straight to my insurance company because they’re really nice there. I told them I was rear-ended and a woman who looked like my mom only older (you’re welcome, mom) gave me a hug and brought me into her office and helped me call Tweak’s insurance company.
As it turned out, it wasn’t her car. It was her mom’s. She lied to her mom and took off with the car. It took about a day to find her, but once they did, she confirmed the accident. Her mom’s insurance company called me and got me a rental car. The whole debacle took up two days of my very busy week, but I’m not hurt and my car is getting fixed. I’m alive and I’m fine. I’m not totally sure what my lesson in this was, so I’m hoping this was a rock-bottom for that young woman or a wake-up call or SOMETHING. Maybe I was just the vehicle (no pun intended) for her growth.
Or maybe shit just happens and now my whole week is thrown off. I don’t know the answer. All I know is I’m loving my Kia Soul.