Note: I recently had the supreme joy of being Car #2 in a 3-car meeting of metal. My thoughts on the matter, some more relevant than others…
1. I didn’t get to finish my date with Ryan Seacrest.
Mainly because he just happens to be on my favored radio station during my normal commute home, I was listening to Ryan once again attempt to stir up excitement about the upcoming Top 5 Songs of the Day. I rarely agree with the voted-on choices, but I do get a slight thrill when the billions of teenagers clicking on his website actually rally around an older song of some merit instead of the latest rap song about taking your clothes off for no reason.
It’s the small things in life that satisfy me.
Anyway, Ryan was personally inviting me to try the latest acne product while I sat at a stoplight, staring at the red orb and using my mental powers to turn it green, when, suddenly, something was unceremoniously shoved up my ass.
This certainly got my attention. Ryan was put on hold, and I never found out the Top 5 for that day. This keeps me awake at night.
2. The sinking feeling that something completely annoying has just taken place.
Due to my many years of public schooling, I quickly surmised that someone had just rammed my car from behind, thus causing me to rudely violate the driver in front of me. I glanced in the rearview mirror and spied a totally-surprised face. I looked through the front windshield and into that driver’s rearview, and spied a totally-pissed-off face. She was MAD. I just hoped that she understood the laws of physics and realized that I was an innocent lamb in the great scheme of things.
We all hopped out of our cars. Driver #1 appeared ready to castrate Driver #3. (Yay!) Driver #3 appeared shifty, suspicious and gassy. (Aw, hell. He was one of those.) Over the roar of traffic in the other lanes, we made hand motions that we should all pull off the main road into a convenient entrance to a business that appeared to be closed. We all hopped back into our cars. (Just breathe. So far, so good.)
3. People suck.
Clearly, there had just been an accident, but you wouldn’t know it from the rude offspring of the devil who were racing past us on all sides. We were in the left lane of two lanes heading south. We had to get in the right lane and then into that parking area. Just a few feet away, basically. But it took five minutes before Driver #1 could even zip across, and she barely made it, narrowly avoiding getting flattened by one of those annoying minivans with the stick-figure families stenciled on the back window.
My turn. I was presented with a non-stop stream of racing cars in the right lane, not a gap in sight. (97% of the drivers were on their cell phones and had no idea they were driving past an accident. Or operating a motor vehicle.) I even got out of my car, and started motioning for people to stop and let me over.
One of the drivers actually flipped me off.
Really? I got back in my car before somebody pulled a gun. Hours later, I floored it into a reasonable gap, with plenty of room, and still got an angry honk from a Soccer Mom. (Look, I’m not the one who told you to have all those kids. Don’t take your life frustrations out on me.) Eventually, Driver #3 made it across as well. This was starting to be SO not worth it.
4. Small gifts arrive in surprising packages.
We got out of our cars once again. Driver #1 immediately began using her phone to take pictures of the damage. Okay, that looked like a good plan. I followed suit, not really knowing what I should capture but not wanting to be left out of the fun.
Snappage done, Driver #1 then requested insurance verification forms. I happily handed mine to her. She held out her hand to Driver #3. He refused (See? I knew he was shifty.), saying he would give the info to me, because he hit me, but not to her, because I’m responsible for her.
She put her hands on her hips. “This is ALL your fault. I know. I work for an insurance agency.
I immediately got out my phone and sent a group “thank you” text to all known gods and deities.
5. Grace CAN happen under fire.
Driver #1 then insisted that we call the police because Shifty wasn’t playing nice. (Good idea!) Then she glanced at her phone, sighed, and asked me to call, because her battery was dying. (Uh oh. I hate calling people. Especially the police.)
But I sucked it up, and dialed 3-1-1, the number you’re supposed to use in Dallas for non-emergencies. (Nobody was bleeding, right?) I was presented with a recording, wherein it was explained that if I wished to arrange for trash pick-up, I should press 3. If there was an issue with my city sewage, number 4 was the desired option.
What the hell? This was going nowhere.
I hung up and called 9-1-1. A dispatcher answered, and then my phone immediately dropped the call.
Terrific. Now there were going to be screaming ambulances and fire trucks racing to the scene of the non-event. I called back, and this time the line held. I apologized if this wasn’t the right thing to do, but there had been an accident, and I was trying to report it.
The dispatcher was an angel. (Thank you, anonymous person with the 9-1-1 service in Irving, Texas.) She politely began taking all the information, which turned out to be quite a lot. I gave makes and models for all the cars, I gave tag numbers, I even had to run down the road and identify the closest intersection. The other two drivers started to squirm a bit, because I talked for a very long time. Good. Let them think I somehow had the inside track here, even though I had no idea what I was doing.
Then the dispatcher asked if an officer was really necessary. Without injury, there was no need. “Well, we have one gentleman who refuses to share his information with everybody.”
“I’ll have somebody there in minutes.”
6. The truth always comes out.
When I informed the others that an officer was on the way, Driver #3 paled considerably, and then said the officer would just tell us to exchange info and leave, so we should just do that instead of wait for him. Then he slipped and uttered that “the last time it took them 40 minutes to get here”. The last time? Bastard. This obviously wasn’t his first time at the rodeo.
7. And then there was more truth.
While we waited, with Driver #1 pacing up and down and glaring at Driver #3 and his stupid death-car, #3 pulled me to the side. “If you can just get an estimate, I can write you a check.”
Oh? So you don’t want your insurance company to know about this? Little bit of trouble there, mister? With my outside voice, I appeared to be sympathetic. With my inside voice, I did a high-five and a double-herky. He’s got a responsibility history, and hopefully this would all come down on him, even though, technically, I could be held accountable for hitting Driver #1. One of those idiotic, dumb-ass laws that make no sense. (How in the world are you supposed to stop your car from hitting someone in front of you when you just got reamed by a Mazda breaking the sound barrier? Teleportation?)
8. Authority figures can be quite pleasing, even outside of sexual role-playing.
A squad car pulled up, and out hopped a fine-looking gentlemen. He immediately took control of the situation, explaining what we needed to do and how. When Driver #3 weakly balked at sharing his info, Police Man basically got in his face. EVERYONE will share everything. And I’ll watch while you do it.
I hearted this Police Man immensely. Glancing to my side, I noticed that Driver #1 appeared to be aroused as well. Back off, sister. He’s mine.
9. Penmanship can fail you at critical times.
For whatever reason, I had thrown a memo pad in my car at some point back in the day, so I had plenty of pages with which to capture details. I wrote down everything that I could, even pointless things like “Driver #1 is wearing a lime-green top that could be tracked by orbiting satellites”, “Driver #3 has the ugliest shoes known to mankind”and “need to check out that sushi restaurant I can see across the street, the parking lot is packed, must be pretty good or it’s a crack house”.
I actually had a moment of kindness with Driver #3, letting him borrow some of my empty pages, even though I already hated him. As expected, he took them without even saying thank you, because his soul was clearly defective, along with his braking abilities.
But as we were gathering things up, I flipped through my notes and realized that half the things I had scrawled were totally unreadable. It looked like I had suffered a series of seizures during the recon mission. Hell, maybe I had. I don’t react well in social situations where near-death is a factor. Oh well, at least those policy numbers were crystal clear. Assuming they were real.
10. In the end, fakeness prevails.
The Police Man finally drove away, giving off a little blip of his siren before pulling out into traffic. Not sure why he did that, but Driver #1 appeared to have a small orgasm when he did this, so it’s all good.
Then we all shook hands, and I expressed hope that the rest of the day would be fine indeed for all of us. I didn’t mean it, especially for Driver #3 with his shiftiness and offensive footwear, but 90% of the people in my life have no idea what I actually think about them, so why buck the trend?
It took another thirty minutes before one of the harridan Soccer Moms finally let me out of the parking lot so I could drive home…
(Originally posted in “The Sound and the Fury” on 06/11/11. Revised and edited with extra flair for this post.)