You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The post in which I describe hitting a bicyclist with my car, which turns out to not be a comedy or a tragedy but a gigantic pain in the ass

I don't know how to write this except to do it in screenplay format.  And my screen play format sucks because I don't really know screen play format.  Bear with me.

Scene: 5pm, North Minneapolis (not the bad part).

I pick up Sena from Grandma's house and begin the process of driving to I-94 to go back to the south side of the city.

We proceed east on Dowling Avenue (through the bad part).  I am driving the speed limit and as I approach the intersection of Fremont Avenue, which has stoplights, I see something I normally see.

Teenagers dinking around on their bicycles.

Backstory:  At this corner is a little quicky mart where a lot of kids "hang out", so this intersection is always hopping.

I see the two boys ahead of me, swerving and cruising around on their bikes.  They are taking up most of the right lane.

I approach Fremont.  The light is still green, but the "don't walk" sign is flashing.

I get closer.  The light is still green.  I keep the corner of my eye on the boys, who are annoyingly close to my lane.

I think, "Dumbshit kids.  What are you doing?"

They apparently don't know either because at the last second the kid makes a wide curve, turning DIRECTLY into the path of my car.  I am fifty feet away from the intersection and the light is still green.  Somewhere in the deep dark part of my mind I saw this coming.  My foot is already twitching off the gas pedal.  Here it comes.

I don't remember what I said.  Or if I said anything.  I think I made a noise, but all I remember hearing is the absolute burning squeal of the tires on blacktop and then one millisecond later, a thud, crunk, and bash of metal being crumpled.

The kid disappears from my passenger side window.  He is down.

I put the car in park, terrified he is under my wheel.  But I don't move.  I don't want to move the car and make it worse.

Sena hasn't made a peep.

All of a sudden I see the kid pop back up, glazed unseeing eyes, a look on his face like he smelled something bad.

I put the car in park and rummage around in my bag for my phone.  Then I get out.

Me:  Are you alright?

Kid: Huh?

Me: Are you hurt?

He doesn't answer, but starts to walk away.

Me (pointing to the curb): Sit down.

He goes and sits on the curb.  I think he might be in shock.

Some idiot screams from a passing car:  Get their insurance!

Me (muttering):  Asshole.  Do you think I was going to drive off?

Then I realize that in the neighborhood I am in, people do drive off.

I see the front tire of the bike under the front wheel.  It is bent to shit.

A woman comes up next to me with a phone:  Are you calling?

Me (dialing 911): Yes.

Woman: Okay.  I saw it all.  I was coming the other way.

I call 911 and someone says a car is about a block away.  Two squads show up in less than two minutes.

I go back to the car to check on Sena.  She is staring at me with big eyes, but doesn't say anything.

Me: You okay, punkin?

Sena:  Mmmmraaaah.

I sit in the car and a cop comes up.  I roll down the window.

Cop:  Hi.  Are you okay?  Is the baby okay?

Me: Yes, we're fine.

Cop (looking around):  Well, I can guess what happened.  Cut right in front of you, huh?

Me: Yes.

Cop: Yep, see it all the time.  Had the green light?

Me: Yes.

Cop:  And not even close to the intersection.

Me: Nope.

We talk more and basically it is obvious that I didn't do anything wrong, but that the other stories he hears will probably be different.  After all, what kid is going to admit he was doing something that colossally stupid?  He has me back up off the bike (a nice Trek by the way) and pull over to the side to free up the traffic.

He takes my insurance and information and so do the medics who come to look at the boy.  He appears to be fine, scrape on his leg but nothing broken.  I am relieved.

Cop:  Call your insurance.  Here's the case number.  They'll want to know.  In case they sue.

Me: Sue?

Cop:  Yep.  That's what a lot of people do.

Me: Christ.

Cop: Yep.

Me: Do you know Sergeant _____?

Cop:  I know Officer _______.

Me: Yeah, that's what I meant.  I think he works this precinct.

For some reason whenever I think of titles, sergeant comes to mind, not lieutenant or major or captain.  I think I read too many Beetle Bailey cartoons as a kid.

Cop:  Yeah, I know _____.  We trained together.

Me: He's my cousin.

Cop:  Really? I have to tell him later.  I think he's working tonight.

After about twenty minutes I'm free to go.  I pull away.

Sena (looking at the crowd by the sidewalk and waving): Bye-bye! Bye-bye!  Bye-bye!

Bye-bye, indeed.

We get home.  I leave a message for Joe, my insurance agent.

Then I feed Sena dinner and think completely divergent thoughts:

I am relieved.
I am annoyed.
I am pissed.
I am grateful.
I am happy to be here.

1 comment:

Susan2115 said...

Glad to hear that you and Sena were not hurt and I know the biker was a complete idiot...but sounds like he is okay too. You know...shit happens, and you covered all your bases so that is good.