I just had the most amazingly joyful day and naturally want to bottle the good feelings. Well, if not actually ‘bottle’ them, at least figure out the factors so maybe I can duplicate the experience.
So what could have caused this euphoria? The week started off yesterday on less than a high note. I moved the car in this dance New Yorkers do to avoid paying for a parking garage, ‘alternate side parking’. I got a great spot in the shade and in front of the only doorman building on the block. This is a score because it reduces the (unlikely but real) chance that someone will break into your car. The thought crossed my mind that it would be wise to move ahead to another spot, away from the doorman building and in the blasting sun. Though not ideal on a hot and humid day, there was a car double-parked way out into the street exactly opposite where I was parked which left only a narrow lane for traffic to get through between us.
I repressed the thought and, sitting in the driver's seat, started on my to-do list. A screech of metal alerted me to the very large demolition dump truck which had just made a five inch crease in the side of my car.
I blasted the horn and jumped out. The driver, way up high in his enormous truck, rolled down his window part way and stayed well back, hidden in the shadows. “Sorry.” he called down, not smiling. “Sorry?” I shouted up at him over the din of his monster engine. “Seriously? How about let’s exchange uhh —“ I was trying to think fast what exactly you exchange with someone who’s just creamed your car. “Insurance!” I remembered it, but a little late as he was already rolling up his window and nodding, moving his lips but he wasn't talking to me. Behind the reflection in the window, he appeared to be looking ahead down the block. I was irrelevant.
Meanwhile, the driver of the double-parked car across the street was having his own problems. One foot on the street, one foot in the car, he was in a shouting match with someone I couldn't see. The growing chorus of car horns blaring behind the dump truck made it clear that this truck had to move.
I shrugged, not all that flustered as our car isn’t new or even close to ‘like new’. I was feeling bullied, feeling powerless but what could I do? Start scaling the dump truck? I'd noticed the driver had muscles-- I'm sure he could crush me like a bug. And what if there were a second guy beside him but out of sight.
The doorman from the building behind me appeared at my side, a short man with a Spanish accent. “Is this okay with you??” I shrugged again. And then a “No!” burst from my mouth: his outrage cleared away my doubt. I dashed around to grab a pen as the car horns went silent and the big truck began to move but I scribbled down the name of the demolition company and (I think I got) the (mud encrusted) number on the license plate. Just back from the boondocks, it had never occurred to me to grab my phone, take his picture, or take a video of the way our vehicles were locked together, the damage he’d done.
On the advice of the Traffic Police woman who appeared soon after on foot, I called the precinct. No answer. I called back three times. A bored and annoyed person finally answered and told me to call non-emergency 911. It was hot. It was humid. Why am I sitting in the car over a little scrape when New York is a 'no-fault' state? My inner voice went on a tear: this'll raise our insurance. Why am I making a mountain out of a molehill? The police in New York City don't even have time to hunt down bag snatchers, it'll be hours before they show up! Apparently it was a quiet morning as within fifteen minutes a patrol car pulled up and took my ‘accident report’.
But that's not the end of the story.
Flashing forward to today, there was a great deal of honking out on the street. Looking out the window, I spied the name of the very same demo company on a huge truck. I scrambled down the stoop and rushed across the street to discover the same guy trapped in yet another double-parked situation. This time, he wasn’t so callous, his window was open and he smiled a sheepish: “Hi.” I'm glad that I happened to be wearing the same clothes: he recognized me immediately. Feeling neither hopeless nor helpless, I took my Wonder Woman stance (feet wide, hands on hips) and shouted up at him, victorious, even taunting with almost a smile: “Hey I filed an accident report! What’s your name! Yeah and what’s your LAST name?” He insisted on giving me his phone number too (still unverifed) and with some sheepish nodding and 'friendly' waving at me, pulled ahead as soon as the traffic could move.
There’s more to this story which I don’t have time to tell tonight as it’s already after midnight… I'll finish it up in the post tomorrow.