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Worst Month Evar

April 20 2005 03:08 AM ET (Permalink) (Comment)

You know, it's funny. I was originally planning to spend the first week of April dialoguing about the same week of April in 1994. The calendar of 1994 and 2005 match those days, and they were memorable enough to me that I figured it'd be worth talking about. Long and short: best concert of my life Sunday, April 3rd, 1994, seeing Pearl Jam at the Fox in Atlanta, a hallmark show of their career; one of the worst days of my life Friday, April 8th, 1994, finding out that Kurt Cobain was dead.

Instead, the same week of 2005 turns out to be better and worse. Go figure.

The impact is surprisingly light. I comment to friends later that I've taken way worse hits playing Ultimate. In fact, I took a way worse hit the night before playing Goaltimate. The disc was thrown at a high rate of speed directly at my head, leaving me with a nice thick lump at the contact point that stuck around for a few days.

Immediately after the impact, I'm in my car in a total state of disbelief. I look up, and notice a number of people on the corner to my left staring at the mayhem that has just ensued.

I look to my left, and see the other car, facing me. After the impact, he spun out.

Figuring that I need to clear the intersection, and pleased to find that my car still drives, I pull around, point to the witnesses that I'm not leaving the scene, and pull into the parking lot on the corner. From there, I see the damage in full view: the other car has a nice large canyon running from the driver door back to the gas cap. On the surface, the other car looks driveable, but the left rear tire is blown.

Within seconds, a man in a white pickup stops, pulls a fluorescent yellow jersey with "SHERIFF" written across it out of his truck, and starts redirecting traffic. I spot somebody getting out of the other car on the passenger side, who I eventually identify as the driver.

We chat briefly. He's fine, no injuries. I'm fine, no injuries. I mumble about what he wants to do, and he's easygoing about it, saying that he'd rather leave it to our insurance companies. (Strangely, in all of the commotion, and given that I haven't been involved in an accident in fourteen years, we never get around to exchanging information. I honestly don't know the guy's name.)

I inspect my car, and it doesn't look all that bad. The impact was at a forty-five degree angle to the corner of the car, so the left headlight is munged. The bumper's out of whack, and part of it is split off the car. I took a similar hit (solo) thirteen years earlier in my old car, and it ended up being a $1000 repair, so I'm looking for a silver lining.

An officer arrives, and ask us for our information. A few minutes later, another officer arrives. Turns out the first one just happened to be driving by. He hands the duties off to the second one and leaves. The guy directing traffic turns out to be an officer from another county, who also just happened to be there. Very odd.

After offering our statements, I'm thinking that we're both at fault. Then it hits me: according to the letter of the law, as the person turning, it's my responsibility to make sure the intersection is clear before entering. Even if we both ran the light (possible, though not definite), the accident is entirely my fault. My fears are confirmed when the officer approaches and cites me for failing to yield.

My brain explodes. Seriously, it took me months to slide away enough cash to buy a new computer, and here I am "responsible" for what could be an expensive accident. I start shaking, realizing that all of the plans I've made in the last few days, all of the excitement about the various projects and recording ideas that I was eager to pursue with the new computer are now out the window. I know that I can't justify buying $100 of recording software if I'm going to have to spend one or two thousand on this.

My father arrives to help me out, and we inspect my car before heading home. Some parts are touching the ground, including part of the bumper, which I just tear off and throw in my trunk. On further inspection, the power steering container is touching one of the belts, so Dad pulls a couple of rubber cables out of his trunk that I use to hold it back. As I'm about ready to hop in and drive home, Dad notices that one of the belts at the bottom near the front is touching metal. We agree: this car needs to stay put.

I get up early the next morning and do the necessary: call my insurance company, find a place to take the car, and arrange for pick-up.

Back at the parking lot, it's obvious that the car can't be towed from where it's sitting. When the truck arrives, I hop into the car and drive it out of the space. The scraping noise seems much louder than it did the night before. The tow truck driver opts to drive the car onto the bed of the truck, and I can't help but laugh: the left headlamp is basically nuked, yet the bulb still works. (It actually concerns me slightly - rain from that morning has collected in a nice puddle inside the nuked headlamp, and I'd really not like the electrical system to short out.)

And so begins a nice long weekend of no transportation. My parents go out of town, and offer me the use of Dad's car for me to make my scheduled Spring League game on Saturday, but I'm still too freaked out to go. I eventually run an errand that night, and it's easily one of the most uncomfortable drives I've ever taken. It's not just the discomfort of driving Dad's car (always uncomfortable), but I find myself completely overanalyzing every move I make.

Anyway, as the weekend ends, I'm eager to hear how soon my car will be repaired so that I can go on with life.

Little did I realize that this wasn't the end of the worst month evar.

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