Monday, November 20, 2006

"You Jumped Out of the Ether"

Car accidents suck.
I take the same route to pick up my son. Because his daycare is in Maple Grove, I get on 494 and take it all the way around to 94.
Sounds easy right?
The only problem is traffic. By the time I reach Rockford Road, the speed drops to 2 MPH. That's not an exaggeration.
On the 9th, I got off to a late start to get my son. The crew and I worked late to try and get the set for the show ready.
Traveling north bound, I was in the left lane doing my lovely 2 MPH. Suddenly, there was the screech of tires. Before I knew it, the screech got closer, the car rocked forward, and my head snapped back.
I was hit.
With quick reflexes (I was lucky), I grabbed my emergency brake. Didn't matter; the person who hit me pushed forward into the car in front of me.
Guy behind me: front end damage
Woman in front of me: slight (and I do mean slight) damage to spare tire cover
My car: front AND rear damage
Suffice to say, I was unhappy. Still, much like my last car accident, I was the first out of my car. I walked to the guy behind me.
"Are you all right?" I asked.
He stared at me sheepishly. "Yes. You?"
"Depends on how much money you have," I said.
"What?" he replied.
"I'm fine, but you hit me. I'll need your insurance info. I'm going to check on the woman you pushed me into."
With that, I walked to the other car.
"Are you all right?" I asked.
"My car!" the woman screamed. "Look what you did to my car!"
I had no idea what the woman was pointing at and why she was screaming. I stepped closer.
I found a small scratch on the top side of her spare tire cover. It was nothing compared to the tire imprint on the front of my car.
She continued to freak out.
"Ma'am? I'll need your insurance," I said.
At this point, I walked back to my car to get my insurance.
There's something funny about a group car accident in how people react with one another. If it's one person's fault, that person will have a hard time looking in the eyes of everyone else.
In this case, the guy who hit me kept his eyes either looking straight up or looking straight down.
"Do we need to call the cops?" I asked.
"No," the woman said.
"No one's hurt, right?" the guy interjected.
"Plus," the woman added, "It's rush hour. I don't want to be here for another hour."
It was agreed. No cops.
I tried to call my wife, but couldn't get through.
The worst part wasn't the car accident or the fact that my neck was hurting. It was knowing that I was going to be very late to pick up my son.
"I just can't believe it," the guy kept saying. "You jumped out of the ether. I never saw you."
It was such a strange description. To jump out of the ether. The truth, he would admit later to the insurance company, was that he was on his cell phone and wasn't paying attention. He was in the middle lane and almost hit a car there. While talking to the person on the phone and looking over at the car he almost hit, he looked back to see mine and started to break, but it was too late.
$3,500 worth of damage to my car later, I'm riding around in a rental car sans truck (which would have helped in transporting wood for building platforms.
The kicker? The guy who hit me is a born and bred Minnesotan. You can talk all you want about how the bad drivers here are not from the state, but it was the Minnesotan who hit me...not the other way around.
Of course, that would only be my first car accident of that week. The second would come on the following Saturday...but that's a story for another time.


dennis said...

You should have called the Police. My brother hit a car from behind and dinged the bumber, thats all and did not call the police and when the Insurance adjuster paid out, it was a whopping $4000. When he asked why, he was handed a photo of the car he rear ended and it showed heavy damage to the side. needless to say, he fired his Insurance Company.

Arthur Willoughby said...

Out of the ether...must be a Douglas Adams fan.

Jason said...

Ether. A timeless excuse. Weird. Damn Minnesotans.