A Perfectly Good Day – Ruined!

 

The son recently collided with “What If?’
Somebody rear-ended him on his way home from work.

He left work at 7:30 AM.  Four or five blocks down the 4-lane, cross-town thoroughfare, he realized he’d forgotten his drink thermos at work, and went back to get it.  Back on the road again, he was soon humming along in the center lane, in light, 8 AM traffic.  Suddenly the car, two vehicles ahead, came to a complete stop, to make a left-turn across two lanes of oncoming traffic.  The car behind it slammed on its brakes, and the son managed an abrupt stop.  He just had time to look in the rear-view mirror to see a windshield way too close.

THUMP!!

Damn!

Now the What If kicked in.  What If I hadn’t gone back?  I’d be home, safe, having a snack.

The other driver works in the next city, 15 miles away.  He was also coming home after a midnight shift – a little tired, a little distracted, with perception, attention and reflexes a bit slowed.  The son lifted the tailgate, and used the big, flat storage surface as a writing desk to exchange information.  We both have the same insurance company, just different brokers.

Neither driver called the police, but someone must have.  Soon, a sport-brute, Police power-wagon pulled up behind them, and Officer Zygote turned on his flashers and climbed out.  The son said, “I felt like John Wayne in True Grit.  Hell, I’ve got work-boots older than this kid.  Is he really old enough to drive that thing?”

He spoke to the cop first.  They were just finishing when a steady drizzle began.  He and his co-worker passenger sat comfortable and dry in the back under the improvised awning, while the other two exchanged info in the rain.  It’s not the vehicle damage that’s the biggest piss-off.  The insurance company will pay to fix that.  It’s the lost time, and bureaucracy.

Already 30 minutes behind, the officer told them that they had to go to the Police Accident Reporting Center on the south edge of town.  The son dropped off his co-worker, and drove another 20 minutes to get there.  With COVID, you don’t just walk in and report.  There’s a sign on the door, instructing people to text an extension.  You are assigned a number, and wait your turn.  Thinking that there would be a delay, the son called home to report, and woke me.

He was immediately called in, and had to tell me that he’d call and explain later.  Cute, little, blond, female, Special Reporting Constable took his report, and slapped a Police sticker on the bumper.  She was impressed that he had all the necessary information at hand.  Car accidents do not bring out the best in people.  Many of them stumble in, not sure of their own name, much less the other driver’s, licence plates, insurance policy numbers, etc.

Now the clerical haze began to thicken.  First, the son re-called me, and explained.  When he arrived home, it was after 9:00 AM, so he called the actual insurance company.  Then he called the broker, and talked to the agent.  Then he called his passenger to tell him that he was now part of an official accident report, and might get a call from police and/or the insurance company.  Next, he chose one of the two authorized repair shops, called them, and drove over for an inspection and repair estimate.

Damn these all-electronic cars!!  Two of the three back-up proximity sensors don’t work.  The impact is barely visible to the naked eye, but the entire wrap-around bumper may have to be replaced.  A June-bug splat may take $2000/$3000 to fix.  We might never know the final cost.  The insurance company will pay, and the agents can argue it out.

On the way home from the body shop, the son heard a traffic report on the radio.  We have a report of a collision in the center, westbound lane, Victoria at Chestnut.  Property damage, but no report of injuries.  Be careful in that area.  The son said, “That was over an hour ago.  I’ve been home twice since then.  I always wanted to be on the radio, but not this way.”

Since the car would be in the shop for several days, he had to call a car-rental agency to arrange for a replacement.  He took a pain reliever and a muscle relaxant.  The wife told him to call the Chiropractor, who had an immediate opening, and took him in, but he had to later call the insurance company again, and speak to the Personal Claims clerk to get this, and continuing treatments, covered.

What if?  What if??  What If??!  Like the story of how a wasp in a car caused an accident and killed three passengers, such a tiny irritation has caused so much chaos and confusion.

***

We lost our handicapped parking permit.  We took it from our car, and put it in the rental.  When we returned the rental to the body shop, we both forgot to remove it.  A week later, some woman in a parking lot got pissy when we pulled into a handicap spot.  “Where’s the permit??”  The repair shop staff deny ever seeing it.  The young man from Enterprise, who retrieved and cleaned the rental, claims it wasn’t there.  Today, we begin the arduous bureaucratic, and possibly expensive, task of replacing it.

The Rest Of The Story

Llama

….so I says to him, if Bob can walk his albino python up and down the hall on a leash, why can’t I bring in my llama?? It’s an emotional-support animal too!

There’s a game where you and a friend (or a cell phone) are on an elevator with only a floor or two to go, and someone else gets on. You make some mind-boggling statement, like the one above, and then get off at your floor.

WE ALL WANT TO KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY!

Some of you, especially Americans, may have heard the great Paul Harvey’s radio broadcast of that name, where he tells ‘What Else Happened.’  He had a tale of a male British teen with a pure, sweet voice, who sang in the school choir.

One day, he was viciously elbowed in the face during a basketball game, and completely bit off almost an inch of his somewhat long tongue. A doctor sewed up the end of the rest, but told him that he would never sing again.  After he graduated, he became Mick Jagger – lead singer for The Rolling Stones – and that’s the reason for the Rolling Stone logo.

Back in the Stone Ages, when airplanes still had propellers, a young American man accompanied a Catholic bishop on a business trip to Chicago. As they neared O’Hare Airport, the plane was struck by lightning in a powerful storm, and a couple of the engines stopped.

The Captain came on the intercom and said that they might have to ditch. In the row behind the young man were a couple with an 8-year-old girl.  She began screaming and crying, further panicking other passengers.  The young man undid his seatbelt, and turned around, kneeling on his seat.  He began to make strange, funny faces at the little girl, until she, and surrounding passengers, were chuckling and laughing at him.

The engines restarted, they safely landed in Chicago, and Red Skelton went on to a very successful career in comedy.

I’ve had a couple of these cases where I was able to find out the whole story. During my late teens, my younger brother carried on a summer romance with a girl whose family owned a cottage on our beach.  She and her mother stayed all summer, and her father drove in every Friday night after work.

One time, she went home with him for the week. My brother looked forward to her return on Friday night.  When he arrived, she was shaken and sobbing.  Her father had run over and killed, an Indian on the highway through the adjoining reservation.

Later in the summer, I was hanging out with a lad that my Mother had warned me to stay away from. He told me the story of, earlier in the summer, going out to the Res (already risky) and getting drunk with a group of Indian teens – unpredictable, and far riskier.

They were walking beside the highway, facing traffic, when he stumbled into one of them. Instantly angry and irritated, the guy gave him a great shove, and he landed in the ditch.  The force of the push knocked the other drunken teen over backward….right into the path of the oncoming car.

I took my car to a mechanic for service. He also worked on the personal car of an Ontario Provincial Police officer.  His patrol area was down the big highway, almost to the airport on the edge of Toronto.  He told my tech a story.

One night, around 3 AM, he was sitting in a turn-around, with his radar gun aimed back up the road. At that time, the highway was almost empty.  Suddenly, a set of headlights appeared.  That in itself is unusual, because lights usually start as a distant glow, and increase.

The radar readout increases and gets more accurate as the vehicle gets nearer. The speed limit is 100KmH (about 62.25 American MPH)  He watched, stupefied….50 – 100 – 150 – 200 – 225 – 250 – 275 – 300.  Just as the blur passed him, the screen read 304KmH!

He thought about starting the cruiser….and then just shook his head.  He considered radioing for assistance, and shook it again.

About a month later, another friend of the mechanic dropped in for a visit. He owns the ‘Robin Masters’ Ferrari from Magnum P.I. because he’s a computer-tech genius.  He fixes big computer systems when they crash, and he’s on-call 24/7/365.  Calls can come at any time, and from Toronto to Taiwan.  Losses can be thousands of dollars per hour, so time is of the essence.

He was wakened about 2:00AM, with a computer-crash in Dubai. A chartered plane would be waiting at the Toronto airport.  Get there ASAP!!  He told his buddy that the highway was almost empty, so he really let’er out.  “It’s a good thing that there were no cops out that night, because I was really flying.  Musta been doin’ almost 300 K.”

And now you know ‘The Rest Of The Story.’

Come back in a couple of days, and I’ll tell you another fascinating story.   🙂