I took a trip to the library to return the terrible books I’ve been reading, and I mean truly dreadful books. So dreadful, in fact, that I’m somewhat ashamed to tell you what they were, but for the sake of honesty I shall confess my literary sins. The first was Nick and Norah’s infinite playlist, which wasn’t so much bad as adolescent, but the two are practically the same thing. The second was Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks. I know, I hate myself too, but I had never read any Nicholas Sparks, and I thought “Maybe you’re cheating yourself out of an enjoyable summer read, because you always insist on being such a snob.”
It wasn’t enjoyable and my snobbery has come from years of disappointment of this very kind. Anyway, I went to the library, which consequently had nothing that I was looking for, and then proceeded to take the Van Winkle Expressway to St. Marks Hospital. Consequently, Van Winkle is one of the best names for a street I have ever heard.
Heather is in St. Marks, and I know that she is enormously fond of Jamba Juice, so I thought I’d take a detour, go to barnes and noble, see if they had anything that I was looking for, get a jamba juice for Heather, and return to the hospital.
Driving down the lovely residential 4800 south, listening to track number six of the soundtrack to “Once” and feeling good about life in general, when I peripherally see a car turning into me from the perpendicular street.
I slam on the brakes, which actually squeal a little bit, because I’m trying to swerve to avoid the other car, but it isn’t enough, and SMACK : I’m hit!. He pulls his car off to the side of the road, and I do the same, whilst unleashing a turrets like stream of profanity, but I take a few deep breaths, and get out of the car.
I assess the damage, and he walks over to me. He’s wearing a black t-shirt from which the sleeves have been removed. The fender is crumpled like green tin foil, and the tire is completely flat, bits of my hubcap are strewn about the road along with black skidmarks from my swerving.
“Where you pulling out of somewhere or something?” he asks.
“No!” I say snappishly, but then I draw it back in. I don’t want to be a jerk. “I was just driving down the street,”
“Really, cuz I didn’t see you,”
“Well, can I get your information,” I say trying to think what a grown up would do, and then realize with a sinking feeling that I am a grown-up, so why do I not know what to do.
“yeah,” he says and he goes to the car. “This isn’t even my car,” he tells me, “I’m not supposed to be driving, there’s a warrant out for my arrest, and my license is expired so I’m worried that if the cops come I’ll get arrested.” All this while he passes me the insurance information on his mom’s car, which I write down on a scrap piece of paper, and I take a moment to think “how very clever of you Jenna, to always have paper about,”
“Can I get your name and number?” I ask
“My name and number?”
“Well you already have the insurance information,”
“Well, you hit me,” I say, “I get that you don’t want me to call the cops, but you should pay for the damage on my car,”
He gives me his information and I wander away to call my parents. They do the usual parent panic thing, and then, “Well are the police there?”
“No, this guy is worried he’ll get arrested if the police come,”
“Well that’s his problem,” my dad tells me.
But when the guy with the arrest warrant finds out that I am calling the police then it might become my problem also. I’ve seen gritty realist drama’s, and I know about random violence happening to people who were just trying to do the right thing. It’s the middle of the day, but it’s a residential street and no one is around. I imagined it going down like this.
“Hi…so I am going to call the police, because it’s my parents car, and they want an official report and all that…so, sorry,”
“Oh, well then I will cut you and flee the scene…so, sorry,”
Of course that is not how it went down. Turns out the warrant is for his not paying tickets in the past, and not even a big deal, and when the police came they didn’t arrest him or anything, they just let him go and told him to take care of all that crap. They also gave him a hefty ticket for not having a drivers license and for not paying his ticket before. Then the policeman and my dad changed the tire and we took it to discount tires.
On the way to the tire store my dad remarks in a casual way, “It’s a good thing you were such a defensive driver. He could have easily smacked into your door and then you could have been really hurt,”
I hadn’t even thought of that.