Yesterday was not my day. I was rear-ended in traffic, for the second time in three months. As if that weren’t coincidental enough, consider this: I have been hit by other drivers no less than seven times in the last seventeen years. Adding to the absurdity of this number are the almost unbelievable stories that go along with most of them. (I emphatically assure you, however, that they are true.) I am a walking example of Murphy’s Law, as it applies to motor vehicles.
For example, when I was eighteen, I was traveling down the narrow, recently paved country road on which I lived. As I came around a sharp curve, I noticed there was a large truck speeding toward me in my lane. I swerved into the ditch to try to avoid hitting him, but he was too far in my lane; a collision was inevitable. I was so shaken up (as this sort of thing hadn’t yet jaded me) that I let the driver convince me that, since I had hit him, the accident would be my fault; luckily, he was such a nice guy, he said he wouldn’t call the police since his truck wasn’t damaged too badly. What a guy. Shaken, I drove home, where my mother told me nicely what an idiot I was for falling for that line of bullshit, and we called the police. It turns out the guy also lived on this road, apparently had several outstanding arrest warrants, and he was drunk when the accident happened (he was dead drunk an hour after the accident, passed out in his floor). I had to pick him out of a police photo line-up so they could add a DUI to his charges.
Another time, I was stopped at a stop sign when I was rear-ended by a girl I had gone to school with. She had a passenger in the car. No one was hurt, the cars were only slightly bumped and bruised, and so after the police made their report, we went on our merry way. A couple of days later, I got a letter from an ambulance-chasing slimeball personal injury lawyer, offering to sue the other driver for me. What a guy. I threw the letter away, not even considering this a remotely legitimate reaction to the wreck, even though the other driver was, indeed, at fault. A few days after that, I got another letter from the same ambulance-chasing slimeball personal injury lawyer, informing me that the passenger of the other car had retained his services & that she would be suing me for “loss of consortium” on her part; I was being charged in the suit with “negligence in stopping.” Are you kidding me? I was stopped at a stop sign, moron! I had to answer ten pages of questions regarding my personal life and driving record and the accident in question, and I had to drive to Atlanta to give a deposition. After all that pain in my ass, the other party dropped the suit. Surprise, surprise (since they had no grounds for anything anyway).
Still another time (Yes, there are more!), a girl hit me as I was pulling out of a parking lot. The police were summoned, insurance cards were checked, reports were made, phone numbers were exchanged. She told us she “knew a good body shop who would give us a good deal.” What a gal. We went with her suggestion even though we wanted a different body shop. After the work was done, we found out that the girl’s insurance had been canceled for non-payment of premiums the day before she had hit me, which she had conveniently not told either us or the officer. When we confronted her & asked that she pay for the work, she agreed and said she would. She then filed for bankruptcy rather than pay anything. So, in the end, we had work done by a body shop we never would have chosen, and we had to pay for it ourselves.
If I’ve learned anything from all these driving experiences is that whatever’s going to happen will happen. (Also, if the person at fault offers to do something nice, do not believe them.) I AM still searching for that invisible target on my car, though. I’m painting over that sucker.