I could see, out of the corner of my eye, something big and white advancing on my little red car at an alarming rate. I surprised myself by blowing the horn in a long and insistent beep. ” See me!”, it said. “See me and feel like an idiot and stop!” She got the wrong order. She stopped when she hit me. She saw me and then felt like an idiot. The sound was that soft crunchy hollow sound of a cheap but loveable Hyundai yielding to a BMW sports vehicle. No contest. The fates chuckled as I got out and viewed the ruin of the most sturdy part of my car, a front fender that had been replaced six months earlier following a hit and run accident. The driver of the BMW jumped out. To add insult to injury she turned out to be young and beautiful. “Je suis diplomat”, she said. Logic went for a coffee break. Temper logged in. ” Being a diplomat can get you a good parking spot. It doesn’t mean you can barrel out of a lane and hit me. Park your car.” It was pretty urgent that we park as I was blocking Crescent street. Others behind her also wanted to use the lane as a short cut and the sound of their horns was making it hard for us to talk. Fortunately there were a few convenient snow banks around. She rolled her BMW up onto one like an elegant tank and I threw my red baby onto an ice patch. I was taking up two metered spots. My wheels spun and screamed like banshees when I tried to correct this. Oh, I had no change for a meter anyway and I was more interested in making sure my “diplomat” didn’t disappear. In fact she came over and showed me various cards, insurance policies and ID’s. I was scrabbling miserably in my glove compartment. Where was that collision form anyway?
“I must take my child to the day- care”. It seemed a rather random thing to throw into the mix. “What? Where is your child?”
“In the car.”
You mean the BMW with the motor running.?? OK we’re going to do this business in your car!”
It was a relief to move as it gave me a few extra moments to scrabble even more frantically as I searched for a current insurance policy. What was all this string doing in the glove compartment and there were a couple of photos that should be disposed of. Yeess, certainly they should be disposed of. Ah, found it!”
Her car was more comfortable and much cleaner than mine so I set to work to fill out the yellowed and and creased form. She got on speaker phone and had a couple of loud and long conversations in Chinese. I only know ” me ha” in Chinese but I can tell when someone is scolding and when they sound worried. I was tiring of my role as hard-bitten worldly old bag who tools around in a jalopy so when she asked if she could carry her child across the street to day-care, I agreed. I had a few minutes peace to fill in the form with its re-copying of long numbers (I’m a bit dyslexic in that area) . I liked the space for a little drawing on the bottom. When glamour-mom returned I showed her the space for her to add her comments, her version of what had happened. ” I will write that I could not see. There was a big truck so I drove out and hit your car”.
” You want to write that? You want to write that you could not see but that you still drove out and that as I was blowing the horn you hit me.” She took a look at my astonished face and hesitated.
“Maybe not. What do you think? ”
“Lady, you can write what you want or nothing at all but I would like to leave soon. “. I enjoyed calling her “Lady” like some New York cop but the charm of the whole situation was wearing off. She finally decided to write nothing. We signed the form. I gave her the messy carbon copy since I figured I had worked for the good copy and her solid vehicle had no damage anyway. I pondered the state of the world based on the example of “diplomatic” thinking I had just encountered as I drove home in a slow and wary mode.
I called my insurance company and was told by a smiling voice that being hit twice within three years would disqualify me from my safe driver rebate. I foolishly tried to answer with logic. Surely my driving was not less safe because others hit me when I was not even in the car or if they sailed out from blind spots and hit my car. The agent was quite amused. A little chuckle and, ” Oh, no, that’s not how things work,” She told me my premiums would go up too. By how much?, Oh, that was another insurance mystery. Even she couldn’t know that.
I went out to look at the fender. It’s not really so bad, is it? The little dent adds a certain rakish charm, no? It is a very old car and I did get a certain satisfaction in making the ” diplomat” feel uncomfortable. Perhaps that is enough? Dear readers, do me a favour and vote. Should I claim on the insurance or not?