October 24, 2004
A response to Sal's question, because he's a cool guy, and I can't seem to find his email address around here: It seems that the police officer who told me at the scene of the Focus massacre that she couldn't give the bastard who wrecked our car a speeding ticket "because [she] didn't see what happened" wrote in her report that I turned in front of an SUV that was speeding through a bus-stop around traffic and that the whole accident is my fault. If she saw what she apparently says she saw, she should have given me a ticket, too, according to her version of my part in the accident. She didn't take witness statements, even from the lady who approached us to tell us there was another accident at that intersection that week (who sounds like a person who watches the street and just might have seen something, you would think). The officer's beat was on the other side of town (literally). I think she wasn't supposed to be there. I'm totally filing a complaint. Maryland's laws governing traffice accidents just don't work. I thought about taking the old bastard to court, but -- even if he paid for our new car, too -- it would not be worth the drama of traveling back and forth to the East Coast, really. I just want it to be over-with, minus getting screwed with the insurance hikes. In other crappy driving news, we almost sent another old man to his grave today, as he unabashedly broke a traffic law and tested Mazda's 60-0 mph breaking distance. There is an intersection on Illinois Route 51 just south of Carbondale where the traffic on 51 has no stop sign (it's a highway), which is clearly posting for the entering traffic: "Cross-Traffic Does Not Stop." Some stupid Mattlock Jackass Too-Old-To-Drive-A-Car-With-A-V8 decides to test this particular law as I am cruising at 55-60 mph (the speed limit). Mazda did some weird things to the new "3" -- including installing a startlingly loud horn. I see that the idiot is thinking about going and not looking. I blow the foghorn on the tiny "3." He slowly pulls out onto the highway (mind you, he should be flooring it to get up to speed with the rest of traffic). Then, spying the silver hatchback coming directly for his driver's side door, he stops. Yes, he stops. Our $900 (extra) braking system comes in handy as a slam on the breaks and jerk our car around this moron. We're off in some stones, stopped and stunned, and what does he do? He leaves and keeps going. I have half of a mind to spin the car around and tail him to town and scream at him in my Baltimore accent in the parking lot of Wal-Mart or wherever the hell old men drive slowly to on Sundays. But we are on our way to a nice hike to Devil's Standtable down in the state park, and I am shaking enough that aggressive driving might not be a good idea. Anyway, my wife was pretty freaked out, and I was a little disturbed at the idea of what our car would have done to him, seeing as how there was only a piece of metal and some plastic between our car and his actual person. (I have a very good friend who lost a love by being hit in the side, and he almost died himself that night.) Then I thought about the fact that I am usually aware enough of people's stupidity (especially in their cars) to be on the look-out for it and that if I were not expecting him to do what he did, we'd both be in the hospital tonight, if he wasn't dead. So, the way I think of it, my awareness saved that guy's sorry ass today. That thought is good for helping the freaking out, but I'm still angry that people who are that incapable of driving are still allowed behind the wheel. And I'm still disturbed by the idea that you never see the one that gets you -- like when 68-year-olds speed through bus-stops in gigantic SUVs and then hide behind an incompetent police officer and a stupid law.