Monday, October 16, 2006

No More Miss Nice Guy

Those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a long time may recall that a year ago (October 5th) a car ran over me on Broadway. Ok, not completely OVER me, but part way. (For summary of accident, scroll to bottom of post.)

When the driver realized she’d hit someone, she hurriedly backed up ten or fifteen feet. Unfortunately my bike had become stuck under her car, and I was stuck under the bike. Luckily I was protected from total skin and flesh loss by slippery clothes. Even so, not being an individual of 22-year-old, death-defying, Evil-Kenievil constitution, I did not spring up from the pavement, streak off on my bike with a “thanks-for-not-killing-me” wave, and feel fabulous the next day. I needed a little body work afterwards – as did my bike.

All was easily fixable in the next couple of weeks, and I sent the driver the bill. Considering what it could have been, I thought she’d be grateful it was so small -- only a little over a hundred dollars for everything. But I never heard back. And I know I had the right address because I checked it on her driver’s license.

I could have followed up with reminder notes and phone calls, but I never got around to it. And you know that rule when it comes to being paid back for something: the longer you wait the less likely it will happen. And the more time that went by, the less I felt like hounding after it. It was her job, not mine. She was the one being flakey, why should I let that bring tedium into my life?

I never reported the accident. I suspected she didn’t have driving insurance, and I didn’t report that either. Much as I disagree with driving without insurance, I also detest the squirrelly insurance industry, and I thought we could just work it out amongst ourselves. She was so nice, and seemingly even more traumatized than I was. I ended up consoling her for running over me. How screwed up is that?

I could have made life difficult for her, and I didn’t. That probably wasn’t even her first bu-bu. Maybe it was her fourth or fifth, and she couldn’t get insurance even if she wanted to. Thanks to me, she’s probably still out there, driving without insurance. So that's my contribution to the world.

And here’s Tasha's contribution to the world: Thanks to her, there’s one less Miss Nice Guy on the road today – because next time this happens, I’m not giving any breaks. I’m just going to do everything the standard way. Report the accident, and submit the names of everyone involved. You short on money? You got a trainload of problems? You got a hundred and one great excuses? Tell it to the hand.

Quick summary for those who want accident details: On my route home I travel East on Broadway. Since Broadway is one-way the wrong direction, I ride on the sidewalk for about 3 blocks before I get off it at the soonest opportunity. I have to cross a couple of side streets that feed onto Broadway. This one car was so busy looking left for an opening to jump into the flow of cars, that she never looked to her right to check out the sidewalk for pedestrians or cyclists.

After waiting at a complete stop with my feet on the ground for several seconds, I assumed she’s seen me, so I started through the intersection. You can deck yourself out with lights, you can wear a fluorescent lime-green jacket, but if the driver doesn’t turn their head your way, it won’t do any good. I knew we hadn’t made eye contact yet, but that was because it was raining a whole collection of mammals and I couldn’t see through her window at all. But with my lights on (even though it wasn’t dark yet), and my lurid jacket, I thought we were good. But no.


At 3:06 PM, Blogger vj said...

Do you have the names of any witnesses? You could probably still sue her. Mind you, I'm all for the forgive and forget stuff, but if she does have insurance, they'll pay--not her. And if she doesn't--well, she's already proved she's an asshat, right?

We all make mistakes, but the sort of mistake that causes physical injury is serious, and she is not responsible enough to cover your medical expenses or give you any sort of explanation? Sue her ass!

And, of course you apologized for her hitting you. You were in shock. And you're female, and we're trained to be floormats -- make everyone else happy. When I was doored three-hundred thousand years ago, I apologized to the woman who essentially lamed me for a summer -- the woman who may well have caused my leg to be amputated, there but for the grace of g-d.

Go get 'er, tiger!

At 4:41 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:31 PM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Thanks for the support. I so hate the whole suing mania, though. I was fine in a couple of weeks, really. A hundred and some dollars isn't enough to rile up in me the necessary amount of toxic suing energy. So I'm opting for the "let karma do it" approach.

I wouldn't say that I apologized to her for hitting me, though I admit I was probably nicer than I needed to be. As for the doormat theory? I think women tend toward empathy because (generally speaking) that's how they're made. And for that they end up getting called doormats because it doesn't work toward advancing us within the systems that have been set up by men.

But I love having empathy. I've seen people without it, and you couldn't pay me to trade places with them. It's a great asset to have, and I don't believe it's synonymous with doormat-ness.

So there's my 2 cents, vj, in exchange for your 2 cents. Thanks for writing in.


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