Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Crash Test Dummy

So, uh, I was in an accident last night. I’m okay, though I’m resting at home because my neck and my back really hurt. Thank God no one else was injured, all of the cars involved were drivable, and nobody’s airbags went off. (Though I’m still not sure if that’s a good thing.)

The whole thing happened as I was driving home from having dinner with future Mr. Cityelf at his office, where he was working late on a big project. I took La Cienega north from Jefferson, which I normally wouldn’t do, and was about to make a left on Venice. I don’t know why I decided to make a left instead of going straight, given that there are like eight lanes of traffic there with no left turn signal and poor lighting.

I hit somebody. I turned left and hit a car that I thought was turning right but was actually going straight. I honestly couldn’t tell you if the light was green or yellow, whether I hit my brakes, or how fast I was going. (Obviously, not that fast, since my airbags didn’t deploy and nobody died.)

I was absolutely terrified. I saw it about to happen and I remember thinking, “What the fuck? That car wasn’t there a second ago…” Then impact. Then the sound of a second impact, which I didn’t see. I pulled into the strip mall at the corner Venice and La Cienega, where two hookers ran up to me to see if I was okay. It was a little unnerving, considering what had just happened.

Seeing my gigantic sweatshirt and pajama pants (it was late, okay?), one of the hookers said, “Uh-oh, girl. Are you pregnant?” No. No, I am not pregnant, but thank you for making this situation worse by letting me know how fat I am. Luckily, one of the girls was distracted by a john whistling out of his truck (parked next to my car, of course), so I only had to deal with one chatty hooker as I navigated my way over to the second car, a big Lexus with crushed doors on the driver’s side.

The timing of the traffic lights made it hard to get over to the opposite corner of the intersection, but I finally got there. A man was already trying to help the second driver; the third driver involved had pulled her car into a commercial driveway nearby. I ran up to the first driver, a nurse still in her scrubs who looked completely in shock. I cannot even tell you how awful I felt. I knelt down beside her car and said, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” at which point she burst into tears and clutched my hand. I called her daughter for her and tried to comfort her as best I could. Her daughter lived right up the street and arrived almost right away.

I thought I should check on the third driver, who was standing with her cell phone next to her Jaguar with a big scratch on the rear panel. She was trying to reach her husband, but she couldn't find him. (When future Mr. Cityelf showed up at the scene, she smiled at me wistfully and said, “Oh, it’s so nice of your husband to come over here.”) She was a beautiful actress-type and incredibly nice and patient, given the circumstances.

Anyhow, the paramedics eventually came and put the first driver in their ambulance to check on her. Around this time, a homeless woman smelling of beer came up and started harassing us for money. Normally, I'm a soft touch, but give me a break! Asking for money from people who were JUST IN A FUCKING CAR ACCIDENT? Not cool. She kept asking until I finally told her I would give her a dollar to shut up and go away. She agreed, but as soon as I gave her a dollar, she hit up the daughter of the first driver: "How about you? Another dollar?" I had to stamp at her like she was a pigeon to make her leave.

The paramedics said that the first driver wasn't injured, but her blood pressure was elevated and they wanted to take her into the hospital just to check her out. (I thought I couldn’t feel any worse, but that took me down another notch.) They instructed the third driver and me to go ahead and leave, since the police would meet the first driver at the hospital but likely not come to the accident site. As soon as I made it back to my car, the police did indeed show up, so I had another journey across the crazy intersection and another thirty minutes of paperwork. I have to give props to LAPD, though; they were very kind and sympathetic.

We finally made it home around 11 o’clock. Watching the Daily Show cheered me up, but I did cry a little. I felt like such a jackass for hitting that other car, even though it’s not as if I was driving recklessly or trying to cut somebody off in traffic. Future Mr. Cityelf just held me and said, “That’s why they call them accidents.” Despite some bad luck, I guess I’m still a very lucky girl.

No comments: