Note: This selection from the archives concerns 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 host a show 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.
That 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 I 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. (It’s Texas, where the state motto is “shoot first and then hire a good lawyer”.) 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.) Finally, Driver #3 made it across as well, although not before his right-rear tire barked off the curb because he apparently didn’t understand turning anymore than he did braking.
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. (I was also mildly concerned that maybe I was required by law to take photos. I didn’t want to eventually end up in a court trial where some redneck lawyer hollers out “you failed to document the scene of the crime!” Then the snarky side of me would rebut with “did you take pictures when you bought that horrid tie?” And then I would go to jail and have to bunk with somebody named Bonesaw.)
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. (I knew right then he was a Republican.)
She put her hands on her hips. “This is ALL your fault. I know. I work for an insurance company.”
I immediately got out my phone and sent a group “thank you” text to all known gods and deities. None of them answered, because they were busy with more important things like global warming and famine and religious hypocrisy involving photo-ops with Bibles, but it’s the thought that counts.
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 county 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. Property taxes too high? Click 9 to think about making better choices in the next city council election.
What the hell? This was going nowhere.
I hung up and called 9-1-1. (I know, I probably shouldn’t have tied up the emergency line, but I panicked. It was a very intense situation.) A dispatcher answered, and then my phone immediately dropped the call, because my life simply can’t get from point A to point B without detours and potholes.
Terrific. Now there were going to be screaming ambulances and fire trucks racing to the scene of the non-event, due to the wonders of GPS phone-tracking and the possibility that I might have been brutally incapacitated before I could state my business . I immediately called back, and this time the line held. I apologized if this wasn’t the right thing to do, but there had been a car accident, and I was trying to report it, and people were flipping me off, and I might have wet myself at some point, and I was really, really on the edge right now.
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, triggering more honking and flipping. (I’m on the sidewalk, you twits. What is wrong with people these days?) 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 and-”
“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. He said the officer would just tell us to exchange info and leave, so we should just do that instead of waiting for him. Then he slipped and babbled something like “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 gentleman. 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, and his authoritative biceps certainly caught my eye. 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 one of those yellow-paged legal pads in my car at some point back in the day, so I had plenty of paper 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 whatever process had allowed him to operate a motor vehicle in the first place.
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 with people who aren’t on my friends list, and the trauma ratchets up when near-death is a factor. Oh well, at least those policy numbers were crystal clear. Assuming they were real. Something told me that Gassy was probably familiar with shady documentation, legal loopholes and the best ways to get out of the country in a hurry.
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 and do a status check on the beer supply in the fridge. Because Daddy needed one, big time…
Previously published. Considerable changes made for this post. For the record, this incident happened many years ago, so I’m fine now, no need for supportive comments concerning my recovery. Driver #3 ended up paying for everybody, the gassy bastard. And I’m actually still driving the same car, which I’ve had for 14 years now. The repairs proved to be minor and there have been no lingering issues, other than the fact that I occasionally hear it whimpering when I pull up to a stoplight…