I had me a little car accident today, little in the sense that I hit a little car with my big truck.
Zoe and I were tooling down the street on our way home and this stupid little white Honda CRX kept getting in my way. You know how traffic sort of has a flow to it, with everyone going pretty much the same speed and holding that speed until there’s a reason to either speed up or slow down? You can turn to look at your passenger, say, and your Driving Brain sort of keeps track of where the cars around you are moving even as you’re not looking at them, and when you turn back to the road, voila, they’re all right where they’re supposed to be? Well, this stupid nipplehead in the CRX kept being in the wrong place.
Motherfucker was driving slow, and for no apparent reason, and with no apparent pattern. Once she was three car lengths ahead of me in the lane to my left and I went to change lanes and slide in behind her. I hit my turn signal, checked my side mirror, looked over my left shoulder, and started my drift over in behind her — and the dumb bitch was suddenly right where I was trying to be! She slowed down for no apparent reason — the car in front of her kept moving along just as it should have — and as a result I damn near changed lanes into her. I have no idea what she was doing but in the span of time it took to take my eyes off her to check my blind spot — BAM, she was right fucking there! I remember I even said something to Zoe about it, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t use Kids Are Around language.
So I finally managed to slide safely in behind her and we’re tooling along and Zoe and I are talking about whatever and I looked over to the left at a store across the street–
And when I looked back front again this stupid cow was stopped dead right in front of me. The car in front of her had his brakes on but hadn’t stopped, and there were probably four car lengths between her and him — car lengths I really wish she had filled with, oh, maybe her own fucking car.
I slammed on the brakes and braced the wheel and just held on. I wasn’t going very fast, maybe only 35 or 40, but it was plenty fast when the car I was barreling down on wasn’t moving at all. I remember thinking I should be pumping my brakes and then thinking I didn’t freakin’ have time to pump my brakes because I needed every little bit of braking I could get before I hit her. And then I started thinking I was going to make it, it was going to be reallyreally close but I was going to make it. And then the wheels locked up and I started skidding and I knew I wasn’t going to make it.
And WHAM! I hit her.
I looked over at Zoe. She looked over at me, wide-eyed but okay. Okay, I thought, we’re okay. But that little toy car I just hit, that can’t be okay.
I got out expecting to see an accordion, with the rear end of the car folded up around its hood. Surprisingly, it looked okay. No visible damage at all, really, just a small 2-inch crease on the bumper on either side of the license plate. I was shocked.
The woman driving it was shocked too. She was frozen behind the wheel, shaking, hyperventilating. I bit back the urge to rip her a new one for stopping for no fucking apparent fucking reason and instead tried to be Solicitous Mr. Nice Guy. I mean, hey, I hit her, even if it was her fault it’s really my fault, and besides, being a dick would pretty much guarantee an insurance claim. Plus, she needed a shave — she had the beginnings of a beard under her chin like a billy-goat and it freaked me out.
So I played nice guy. I pointed out where she could pull her car to the curb and blocked traffic so she could get over there. I helped her out of her car, urged her to “just breathe, take it easy, it’s going to be okay” and suggested maybe she should sit on the curb until she calmed down a little, I wrote down my info for her, I reassured her, I tried to make her feel better. I treated her like I’d want someone to treat Beth if she were in an accident.
Bottom line: she seemed to be okay, she said nothing hurt and she said she felt fine. Of course, you don’t feel whiplash or find expensive body damage or whatever until the next day when you’ve verified the other person’s insurance, but her car looked okay and she seemed okay and maybe this will go away without insurance getting involved. We’ll see. The car is 14 years old, so it was probably totalled just by her turning the ignition, so if anything it’ll be a medical claim. I just hope she’s cool about it and keeps feeling healthy.
On our end Zoe’s fine, I’m fine, the truck’s fine, everything’s fine. The only hint that we had an accident is a scuff of white paint on my front bumper from her car. But why would I expect anything more? I drive a Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60 and I hit a Honda CRX Matchbox toy. I’m surprised the CRX survived at all.
As I told Zoe when we got back in the truck to leave, “That’s why we drive a Land Cruiser: so if we have an accident, we’re the ones who walk away.”