Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I Have the Worst Luck with Cars, Part XIX: I Have the Right of Way!!

Well, thankfully, since our last vehicular adventure, nothing has really happened to Fancy (or to any cars around me), so I am going with Retro I Have the Worst Luck with Cars!

Back in college, I road my bike to and around campus pretty frequently because a) parking absolutely sucked and b) I didn't waste any precious gas. Plus, I only lived about two blocks away from school, so it wasn't like the exercise would kill me. Being a quasi-pedestrian also had its advantages, since all crosswalks were declared my domain; every car would have to yield to my every whim, or they should have, for safety purposes. I didn't wield my power without thought to the drivers, though; especially on days where I wasn't almost late to class or if I was just biking around for shits and giggles, I'd stop and let them go.

But on a particular day in March, I was trying to get to a meeting I'd set up with my adviser, who was notorious for just leaving his office if you were even a second late, and I had totally forgotten until the last minute, so I was trucking it. It was a good thing that class was already in session because I probably would have accidentally mowed down a few people walking on the sidewalk. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted this yellow Camaro that was taking its time going around the parking lot by one of the administrative buildings, so I figured that I had plenty of time and space so that neither of us would inconvenience the other. Maintaining my speed, I focused on the task at hand: get to the mass comm center so I could figure out what classes I would need to graduate in the next almost two years.

Then, I heard the sound of a revving engine. It was literally like the movies: everything slowed down and I locked eyes with the driver, who seemed weirdly aggressive. Then: SMASH. He had only been going about ten miles an hour, but when he hit my bike, he might as well have been going fifty. My bike smashed to the ground and skidded to a stop, while I tumbled to the ground and hit the not-so-soft curb. I was stunned for a few minutes, but then I realized that this guy had gotten out of his car and was yelling at me.

"Why don't you watch where you're going? If you dented my car, you are going to have to pay for the repairs! You stupid bitch, I can't believe this!"

My head jerked up; I was pissed. And then I unleashed what is possibly the scariest fury that I've ever delivered to any human being. I'm paraphrasing here, because my rage is what fueled my tirade, but you'll get the gist.

"Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, you simpering dolt, I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY. Second, you were the one who accelerated to beat me so you wouldn't have to stop your precious fucking car that's probably paid for by your fucking daddy. Third, I'll bet it doesn't even get you any extra pussy because you are completely and totally self-absorbed. Fourth, I am missing my appointment and I think I'll make you pay for the rest of my college career because I won't know how to graduate! Do you see my bike over there? You ran into me, so you will get to pay for my repairs on my bike, which hahahahaha HAS A WHEEL MISSING, and oh, my God, you don't have any dents on your fucking car. What is wrong with you??? What the fuck is actually wrong with you???"

This went on for a good ten minutes. I'm not exaggerating. It wasn't until I was done, huffing and puffing, that I realized this guy was completely drained of any blood in his face, and his poor girlfriend in the passenger seat was holding her head in her hands. I was surprised that nobody had come out to see what was going on. After all, a young woman was verbally blistering a young man who had just hit her with his car. Unbeknownst to me, a witness to the event had already called the campus police, and she came out after I finished "venting" to see if I was okay. I had a couple of soon-to-be bruises and several cuts, but the brunt of the damage was dealt to my bike, my poor, poor bike. A short time later, the officer arrived, irritated to have his busy day of driving around a fairly uneventful campus interrupted, wrote his report, and asked if I wanted to press charges.

The girlfriend of the driver said, "Of course she wants to press charges. Why wouldn't she?"

I was surprised because she hadn't said anything since the whole incident began. But there she was, standing up for me. It actually moved me quite a bit, but I'd never pressed charges on anyone before. My car had been broken into before and I'd reported it to police, but nothing ever came of those. This was completely new territory. So I looked at the guy and asked him, "Are you ever going to do this again?"

It felt like such a Mom Moment. He looked to be about my age, so it felt a little weird to be looking down on him like a parent and to have him look at me with this guilty expression, like he'd been caught with his hand down his pants in the middle of class. He shook his head and said, "Look, I'm sorry, okay? I just ..."

"Well, whatever, if you put my bike on your car and drive me down to mass comm and admit to my adviser that you hit me with your goddamn car, and then take me to the student clinic and tell them what you did, I won't press charges."

He nodded his head furiously, and by the end of the day, my adviser* had berated the kid for driving recklessly, the nurse had grimaced at him, and I'm pretty sure his girlfriend broke up with him soon afterward. Really, charging him with reckless driving wouldn't have done much worse, except be on his record. My injuries, such as they were, healed pretty quickly, and I still graduated on time. Plus, I worked on the dent on the bike, and the wheel was easy to reattach. I guess it's a safety feature or something. I don't know. Really, this could have been much worse - I could have been hit by a semi or burst into flames - but I managed to walk away essentially unscathed. Plus, I got to yell at a cocky frat boy. Still, to this day, whenever I see a yellow Camaro, I get both irrationally angry and amused.

* I couldn't believe he was actually there, because I was about 45 minutes late. I'm assuming he'd had another appointment scheduled.
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