Monday, March 31, 2014

A blind guy walks into a crosswalk

Yeah, I know that sounds like the start of a funny joke, however, that was the start of just a typical Friday for me.  So I was headed to work after a busy morning giving a presentation to a class at Wheelock College, my alma mater.  I was feeling great, feeling like I was once again a contributing member of society…not just a tool used to wipe noses, provide nourishment to my baby and wash dishes.  Not that those things are not important but sometimes I need to feel like my identity is more than just someone’s mother.  So I am cruising along on this bright and sunshiny day, stop at Burger King to get some lunch, singing along with the radio and really just feeling good about life.  Then, you guessed it….A blind man enters a crosswalk and it all went to sh*t!!

So, yes, literally a blind man enters the crosswalk.  I was the 3rd car from the crosswalk.  A Range Rover was immediately in front of the crosswalk, then a smaller sedan and then me in my minivan.  Oh, and of course this was just not any minivan…this was my BRAND NEW minivan.  I had it for less than 2 weeks at this point.  Long story kind of long, but, it was time for us to trade in our original minivan.  The rest of the family wanted a Honda Pilot.  The Pilots are sharp looking cars that happen to be way cooler than a minivan.  I would love one also, but, unfortunately they do not meet the needs of our lifestyle at this point.  Now it is not that we have an actual “lifestyle” that is cool or glamorous but we have 3 kids in big, bulky car seats.  The Pilot is not practical for us.  It was really difficult getting the girls in and out and there was no storage to speak of.  Chuck and the girls were set on the Pilot that they even spent half an hour (in a snow storm!) trying to configure the seats in such a way that they could get in and out on their own.  Emmie and I watched this comedy unfold in the warmth of the dealership.  They claimed to have set them up in such a way that it was functional, but as soon as they opened the back and the stroller came crashing out I turned to the salesman and said we will take a new minivan in whatever color you have on the lot.  Would I like a test drive he asked?  Nope, I am well versed in the minivan ways, just get the paperwork ready and bring it around.  If looks could kill I would have been dead 3 times over when the rest of my familia walked back in.  I swear to all that is holy even the baby was giving me the stink eye.  So we head home in the minivan and surprisingly everyone is happy.  It was an upgraded version with all sorts of bells and whistles so the girls thought it was super cool.  Though they did make me promise that the next car we get is a Pilot.
So back to the story.  The Range Rover sees the blind man and stops in plenty of time.  He does not need to slam on his brakes, he comes to a complete stop in such a way that me, 2 cars behind can see him stop and stop safely as well.  The car between us, yeah, not so much.  She plows right into the Range Rover.  She had to have been texting or something to not see a huge car stop right in front of her.  Her airbags deploy and her car is totaled.  All 3 of us were in the left lane.  I immediately try and get over to the right lane so I can get out of the way.  Just as I start to move the girl jumps out of her car.  She is standing on the median, she must not have put her car in park because it starts rolling backwards.  I start beeping my horn to get her attention.  She finally sees what is happening and kind of jumps in her car half way.  So she has one leg in the car and one out as she is running alongside it.  If she weren’t about to slam into my car it would have been kind of funny…you know kind of like one of those mad-cap scenes in a totally cheesy, predictable comedy.  There was nothing funny about this!  Sure as I am typing this her car slams into my brand new car.  I am pretty sure everyone in a 50 mile radios heard some pretty salty language come out of me.  I finally pull over, get out and head to the scene of the crime.  When I get there and say that I was from the minivan she just hit she had no idea what I was talking about.  Now, I give her the benefit of the doubt since she did just get hit in the head by the airbags but as our interactions went on it became obvious that her social skills and level of understanding was dubious at best.  I tell her that my car was less than 2 weeks old to which she replies, “yeah, I know mine is only 2 years old”…um, OK, not that same thing AT ALL, but whatever.  I ask if she has insurance, she didn’t know…she needed to call her dad.  Thankfully she did!  So Mr. Range Rover comes strolling over.  Handsome guy, decked out in an expensive looking suit.  He lets us know he has called the police already.  Great.  So what does the girl do?  Walk away.  She took a little stroll down the street talking to herself.  OK, we all cope with stress in different ways.  So as I start asking for everyone’s info Mr. Range Rover hands over his business card.  Of course he is an attorney.  So the girl says now word of a lie, TO THE GUY SHE JUST SLAMMED IN TO, “so since you are an attorney will you be able to help me if I get in trouble for this?”  At this point I am seriously starting to look around for a hidden camera.  This has to be a joke…a blind guy, an attorney, a girl that I am starting to suspect has some pre-existing "issues", a car crash and me.  So it takes over an hour for the police to come.  In that time the girl saunters up and down the street several times, which is a VERY  busy 4 lane road I should add.  I am making calls to Chuck, work and my insurance company on a phone that is slightly and I mean ever so slightly better than 2 tin cans and a string (this whole incident shamed me into getting a new phone…I will write about that another time!)  Since my car was brand new there was nothing inside.  All I could scrounge up was a pen that had no ink, but did leave a pretty good indent in the one scrap of paper I could find.  If worse came to worse I figured I could retrieve the information by doing a primitive crayon rubbing and accessing it that way.  Now, had this accident happened in my old van not only would I have my choice of writing utensil I would have enough food scraps, blankets, random mittens and half full juice boxes to keep us all alive for several weeks.  Oh, did I mention it was 4 degrees that day with a wind-chill of -12?  I did happen to have some business cards on me due to the fact I had given the presentation earlier in the morning.  She takes it and sees that I work for one of the local medical centers.  She then says to me, “ Oh, I work at  ( a local social service agency)” and then stares at me as if to say, so since we both work in the helping field we should be besties.  This whole thing is getting more and more bizarre…

So the police show up.  The officer is a woman who is probably 90 pounds WITH all her gear on.  Don’t get me wrong…she looked as if she could take all 3 of us blindfolded with one hand tied behind her back.  That is why I bit my tongue so hard when she asked if the blind guy was around so she could talk to him.  It took everything I had not to say, “Why? It is not like he saw anything”, but I didn’t not want to finish the day off sitting in a jail cell for being a wise ass so I asserted my right to remain silent.   She takes all our info and our statements and sends the attorney on his way…he was late for court.  Oh, not before the girl asks the two of us if this were all her fault.  In my head all I could hear was Steve Urkel saying, “Did I do that?”  Again, I scan my surrounding but no camera.  An ambulance pulls up and takes the girl to be checked out.  The officer told me she felt as though she may be a bit disoriented.  Um, yah think?  Though I really think that may be her baseline.  She was a sweet girl and I did feel bad for her.  I just kept telling her that we were all OK, no one got hurt and we will straighten it all out later.  Though I really wanted to scream at her because she had to be texting or talking on the phone.  There was no way she could have slammed into the Range Rover if she were not driving distracted.  That is a huge pet peeve of mine.  I don’t text to begin with and I only talk on the phone if I am pulled over…just not worth the risk.  OK, I will get off my soapbox now.  So somehow I am the last one at the accident scene.  Two hours after my minivan was violated I finally was able to head home.  As I walk through the door the girls pounce…is the car OK?  Can you still drive it?  Not one ounce of compassion towards me, no, hey mom you OK?  Did you get hurt mom?  Nope…all the cared about was the minivan that they didn’t want to begin with anyway!!
So all night I sit and stew over the fact that Chuck and I can never have anything nice.  We try to but either the kids or the cats ruin it within the first 24 hours.  I guess we should count our blessings and rejoice in the fact that we did have a shiny new car for 13 whole days.

So the next day I am over it and take Anna and the baby out for a while.  We head to Target.  We run into my brother and his daughter.  I am telling him all about the previous day’s high jinks when I sh*t you not, my license plate number is called over the loud speaker!  I immediately panic and think I left the baby in the car on this freezing cold day.  Nope, she is quietly sitting in her stroller right in front of me.  Then I think that I must have left the car running…it has a push button start and I still wasn’t used to pushing the button to turn it off.  So me, my brother and the kids head over to the courtesy desk.  Then I am hit with panic…was it stolen?  Was it hit again?  A pimply, faced teenage security guard comes walking over to me.  I ask if I left it running, nope.  I asked if it were stolen…nope.  I ask if it were hit again?  YEP!  My brother, THE POLICE OFFICER, bursts out laughing!  Really Dave?  I hope that he handles crisis situations at work better than he did with me.  So as he is laughing and laughing exclaiming, rightly so I might add, "that you cannot make this sh*t up!!  Everything always happens to you!”… as we listen to him giggle at my expense,  the baby and I head out to the parking lot with the Teen Target security guard to check out the damage.  I am sure this poor boy's virgin ears had heard expressions and things come out of my mouth that he never thought in his wildest dreams were even possible.  In the longest run on sentence I used the work F-*-C-K as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun and probably even a mother effing preposition!
Fortunately this one part of the story has a happy ending.  My car was not hit a second time.  Apparently, a Target “guest” saw a blue truck pull out of the spot next to me, saw the damage and the blue paint scrapes and assumed it had been caused by the truck.  They reported it to the Target Security team.  Even though it caused my blood pressure to sky rocket to just under stroke level, I thought that was really considerate of them.  So as I sit and type this, my minivan is in the shop, hopefully being restored to its full glory and I will, hopefully, be a minivan mom again by tomorrow evening!!

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