Sunday, March 9, 2008

Asphalt Beach

I was standing on a side street waiting for Bug to pick me up from work. It was fairly nippy, 25 degrees and a little breezy. Dirty street snow was piled high everywhere, as we were just getting over our 2 feet of snowfall over the weekend.

Bug and I made eye contact as he was waiting at the intersection. It seemed like a long time before I saw the car creep forward to make the left turn. Then I saw pieces of the car flying through the air and heard a loud CRUNCH.

I didn't move my eyes off Bug as he spun several times in my direction from the impact, which was just 20 or so yards away. I ran across the side street to him without thinking about the oncoming traffic. The cross-traffic light where I had been waiting had already turned green. When I got to him, the car stopped spinning as it hit the sturdy stoplight post head-on. A dizzy sensation came over me for a brief second, as I was in a similar accident just a little over 3 years ago.

A van ran a red light going probably 45-50 mph to go on a highway onramp while I drove forward on the green. I spun across 3 of 6 lanes of one-way traffic into downtown during morning rush hour. I remember fumbling to get out of the car. I didn't care if there was moving traffic. Between the impact, the spinning, and the tight seatbelt, I couldn't breathe! All I could think of was that I wanted to get the hell out of my car before it blew up. I looked up to see the van drive onto the onramp and realized everything was a little blurry.

My glasses. My favorite pair of glasses were gone.

Drivers were talking to me, I couldn't understand what they were saying. People were angry and beeping at me to move. My car was completely perpendicular to the direction I was driving, facing Downtown, and fit in one of the lanes. It was as if I was driving along the road to go to town and just stopped...except for the damage that was only visible once you drove by. The impact was in the rear passenger side, right on the gas tank. Broken axle among other parts. Total loss.

I looked everywhere in the car and on the street for my glasses. They were nowhere to be found.

When I reached Bug, I saw that he was frustrated. Then I gasped at what I saw before me. My car with its wheel bent in at a 45 degree angle. The entire passenger front-end was crushed. Pieces of the lamp strewn along the street and into the snow banks. I looked up to see Bug quickly running over to see if the other driver was okay. All the other guy did was yell at him that he cut him off. Annoying. The car that was driving next to the car that crashed into Bug was stopped for the light.

It was as if a bubble in reality had popped. The frigidity returned.

The police where I work were quick at the scene and were able to direct traffic within 2 stoplight changes. Ambulance was there within 5 minutes. When the district police came, they were very professional. Of course, with only me available as a witness by the time police came, as everyone else had driven off, we were left with no witnesses. Did the usual calls. Tow truck ETA was 90 minutes.

My insurance company took care of getting us a rental car, but because it was afterhours, she arranged to have me picked up from home and taken to the rental car agency first thing the next morning. USAA is the best.

Two hours later, the tow truck still hadn't shown up. Bug was getting extremely agitated. I spoke with the AAA operator to follow-up on the tow truck and was told it was going to be another 2 hours. Bug took the phone from me and handled things.

Five minutes later, a truck came by and hauled our car away. It was interesting to watch as my undrivable car was cinched up with a chain onto the platform. I had always wondered how wrecked cars were hoisted and transported.

Glad that Bug is okay, shell-shocked, but okay.

- Cassaendra

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