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My Friday

27 October 2008

I smashed into another car on Friday. It was raining, the roads were slick, and when the woman in front of me stopped behind a left-turner, my tires skidded despite a heavy foot on the brake.

Not a fun experience.

When I approached her window and mimed turning into a nearby parking lot to exchange information, she shook her head at me. This confused me. She didn’t want to exchange info? I was in back, so I’m responsible for the accident, and she didn’t want to exchange info? She spoke, but her window was up. She lowered her window after I made the traditional “I can’t hear you” motion, and she whispered, “Get a banguba.”

“Get a what?”

“Get a banguba.”

“I’m sorry, I still don’t understand you. What would you like me to get?”

“A banguba!”

“An … ambulance?”


Shit. Shit o shit o shit. I didn’t have my cell phone. I ran to the auto parts store nearby, and noticed that their CLOSED sign was up. There were people in there, so I banged on the door. They looked up, but made no move towards me. Goldarn it. I banged some more, and made the traditional “I need to use your phone motion”, then I pushed on the door. It was open! It seems they had forgotten to change the sign to OPEN, so they were confused why I wasn’t coming in. I thought they were closed, so hadn’t even tried the door at first.

They called 911, I mentioned I didn’t want to seem to harrass the other driver, so one of them went out there to speak to her, and I waited inside (it was raining, remember) with them until I heard the sirens approaching.

First, the firefighters showed up (they always get there first). Then, the ambulance got there. Finally, the police car arrived. In each case, they looked at her car, they looked at my car, and asked if I was the one who needed their help. Her car was not damaged. Later I thought I may have seen a bit of paint on her bumper. On the other hand, my bumper was cracked, my hood curled up in the front, and my right front headlight hung off like an eyeball dangling from a socket. Nobody’s airbags deployed.

The first responders are professionals, so they spoke to me too, made sure I was OK, helped me keep it together (I was keeping it together, but my voice wavered, and I was on the verge of tears). One of them stayed by me while the others helped the other driver. He warned me that they would probably put her in one of those neck braces, and it would look terrible, but it was better to be safe than sorry — I shouldn’t freak out by what I saw.

The police officer was a nice guy; he told me the roads felt slippery to him, too; he asked for my papers, and suggested I wait in my car so I wouldn’t have to get wet. He explained to me that the ambulance was taking her to the hospital to be checked out for whiplash, no broken bones or anything.

When I got home I called the Consort, and he came home to hug me. I called the insurance and got that ball rolling. The person doing intake asked me if I had received a citation as well as the accident report from the officer. I hadn’t, but until that moment I hadn’t even considered that my problems could have been compounded by a ticket. (I wasn’t exactly thinking at all, I just tried to get home without getting into another accident; no left turns, no left turns!) The insurance contact person who followed up told me that when they pay out for damages, they have the other party sign a waiver, so that by taking the settlement they waived all rights to sue either me or the Consort. That was a relief, in all honesty. When everything that could be done had been done, when a body shop appointment had been made, I crashed (in the emotional sense). I shivered and felt cold. I cried, settled down, then would begin crying again.

I took an aspirin, ran a hot bath, and did nothing else for the rest of the afternoon.

Mostly, I was mad at myself. There’s never a “good” time to have an accident, but we still would be doing better if we didn’t have to pay out a deductible right now.

The car’s in the shop until probably Friday. I’ve rented a car for the first part of the week so I can get the girls to and from Halloween errands, fencing class, and music lessons. I still have to go pick up Trixie’s “tuned up” clarinet from the music shop, which is where I was off to on Friday.

I’m hoping this week turns out to be a quiet one, you know?

26 Comments leave one →
  1. 27 October 2008 8:08 pm

    Ouch. Passing you some hot chocolate (it’s nice with coconut rum in it, I’ve found)

  2. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    27 October 2008 8:14 pm


    *warms hands around mug*

    Coconut rum? I bet the Consort would like that. I like a sprinkle of cinnamon in mine.

  3. 27 October 2008 8:28 pm

    Oh golly…

    I’m glad your’re OK.

    You’re right- there’s never a good time for an accident. My first one I ever was in was two days before last Christmas- a pickup truck ran a stop light while I was flying down the highway.. Fortunately I hit his very rear on his side.. no weight there.. He spun like a top, I hardly felt anything… Nobody were hurt at all. WHEW.

    Still a pain in the butt tho…

    Glad you’re OK.


  4. Rob permalink
    28 October 2008 2:50 am

    Oh dear! Not a nice experience.

  5. 28 October 2008 7:21 am

    Oh rotten luck. At least no one was seriously hurt.

  6. 28 October 2008 7:57 am

    Oh gosh, I’m sorry to hear about this. It’s sad that hearing that “they won’t be able to sue you if they take the settlement” news is a huge cause for relief–I hate that this is such a lawsuit-happy time when you can’t count on people being honest and decent about these things.

    When I moved to Pennsylvania several years ago and was looking to transfer my car registration and insurance to this state, I was shocked by how high the rates are around here. One agent explained to me, “It’s because of the lawsuits in this state. Just the other day, one of my 16-year-old clients was in a very minor fender-bender. No one was hurt, and the damage was minimal. But the three teenager friends who were in the car with him at the time are all suing him. They said, ‘Oh, it’s nothing personl. We just want some money from your insurance company.'” Gah…

  7. 28 October 2008 8:23 am

    A banguba? WTF?

    Glad you were unhurt.

    And what’s this about coconut rum?

  8. cowgirl permalink
    28 October 2008 8:42 am

    that stinks– but so glad you were not hurt!!!

  9. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    28 October 2008 9:00 am

    Marsha, that poor client! I don’t know if I would consider those people my “friends” any more — it’s not like getting money from someone’s insurance doesn’t impact their insurance rates, etc. I don’t think Iowa is particularly litigious, but to have a person in a minor fender bender ask to have an ambulance called, and whisper and all that, implied a, hmmm, hedging of one’s bets, perhaps? Like I said, my airbag didn’t deploy — this wasn’t a two-moving-car crash, her car was stopped and mine was, uhhh, in the process of stopping.

  10. 28 October 2008 11:11 am

    Yeah, that’s the first thing that came to my cynical-when-it-comes-to-insurance-related-matters mind when I read your account of the accident.

  11. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    28 October 2008 11:16 am

    And that’s what was scaring the shit out of me. I’ve got two girls moving towards college age (OK, 12 and 14, but on an academic’s and freelancer’s salary, you start thinking about these things). I even wondered if a quickie divorce would insulate the Consort and the girls, if things moved in a lawsuiterly direction.

  12. 28 October 2008 3:47 pm

    Frankly, that woman had better be hurt, or else it’s outrageous of her to pull a stunt like that.

    I’m so sorry for you, it’s a really upsetting thing to happen, whatever the outcome.

  13. 28 October 2008 3:59 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry that this happened to you, Imperatrix! And I’m glad that you’re okay. Yes, it is all shiver- and crying-inducing. I’m sending some hugs your way right this very minute.

  14. Split Sister permalink
    28 October 2008 5:17 pm

    Oh wow. Why didn’t you mention this on Saturday? Here I was going on and on about the poster I was making Glad you’re okay, and that you didn’t’ get a ticket, that bodes well. Still, paying out a deductible stinks, but at least that should be the extend of it. An ambulance indeed. What a jerk.

  15. Cateling permalink
    28 October 2008 9:37 pm

    Oh, I’m so sorry you were in an accident, but so glad you are unhurt. I would bet cash money that the lady you hit is an attorney or close family member of an attorney.

  16. 29 October 2008 4:53 am

    So, have you heard? How is she?

  17. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    29 October 2008 10:47 am

    Z: Well, that’s the American way, you know. It’s not pretty, but some people want to get all their ducks in a row for litigation.

    Katharine: Thank you!

    SS: Well, I noted it on Facebook, and I don’t really want to spend my life saying the same bad news over and over, you know?

    Cate: You’re probably right, but my insurance isn’t talking.

    Kathy: I called the insurance guy this morning, and he said they will be meeting with the other person today (meeting with them. !!!!!). He says there was no life-threatening issues, and that I wouldn’t be surpassing the policy’s bodily injury limits. But it was clear he didn’t feel he needed to give me details. I’m pretty much out of the conversation at this point; which is the point of insurance, I suppose.

  18. 29 October 2008 4:05 pm

    Wait–“A quickie divorce”? I have news for you, chickie–it’s gonna take a lot more than the danger of a little legal trouble to get that done! You’re stuck with me, regardless of how many cars you bump into! (and hopefully that applies in reverse, since your record is still better than mine on that score….)

  19. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    29 October 2008 10:16 pm

    Aw, Consort, you’re my sweetie.

  20. 30 October 2008 6:35 am

    I felt your pain while reading your post describing the accident. Glad you’re okay–cars can be replaced, but people cannot.

  21. 30 October 2008 9:26 am

    I’m so glad you are okay. I hope that other person isn’t trying to take you for a ride. I’ve only be in one tiny accident before where my boyfriends car skidded across some ice at 20 km an hour and tapped the car in front of us – but enough to crack their tail light. That was the only damage but the woman in the car started in about how she “thought she was going to die” and tried to sue his family. Nothing happened thankfully.

    (And I hear you about University worries. Moira isn’t even 7 months old and we are already putting money aside for her education because, let’s face it, we aren’t ever going to be rich so we want to give her a fighting chance to not get into too much debt.)

  22. simonk permalink
    30 October 2008 1:41 pm

    Only just reading this; so glad to hear you’re ok! The last thing anyone needs at the moment is a lawsuit hanging over their heads!!

  23. 30 October 2008 1:59 pm

    *Gulps emotionally* I’ve abruptly fallen for your Consort. What a sweet thing to say.

  24. 31 October 2008 2:11 am

    Oh Lordy, now I understand your FB status. Oh dear. Poor you. I hope you’re feeling a little better by now.

  25. 1 November 2008 3:19 pm

    I’ve only just read this. I’m so glad you’re OK.

    Thinking of you xx

  26. Peaceable Imperatrix permalink*
    1 November 2008 5:44 pm

    Thanks, B! I’ve been scarce lately. I’ll visit soon!

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