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Vogon had a craving for fried chicken tonight, so we went out to Popeye's and got hit turning into their parking lot.

Vogon usually doesn't like to go out during rush hour, but it was pushing 1900 when we left. The restaurant is a few blocks away and there was nothing out of the ordinary when we got to the turn lane to turn across oncoming lanes into their parking lot. There was an SUV sitting in the turn lane facing us to turn into the entrance of an apartment complex across the street from Popeye's. We didn't have a protected turn lane like theirs and the stoplight half a block up was red, so Vogon turned across the oncoming lanes. There was a car squarely in the blind spot created by the SUV. I *sensed* Vogon flooring the accelerator, but the air conditioner (the high today was 95, with the heat index topped out at 104 mid-afternoon) sucks horsepower so we couldn't clear the car.

The car struck us in the right rear quarter panel and we either pulled a 360 or fishtailed as he tried to correct our course -- I don't know because the impact knocked my glasses off. I remember seeing my watch but not being able to read it. As soon as I could refocus my eyes (probably a few seconds later), I pulled my cell phone out of my purse and dialed 911. I remember marveling at the display saying "dialing emergency response number" instead of "dialing [phone book entry name or phone number if not a phone book entry]". I don't remember the dispatcher saying her name, which I expected, but she sounded just like Dee, our across-the-street neighbor when we lived in Blackstone. I remember my head feeling like it'd been shaken and stuttering trying to make myself focus enough to tell the dispatcher that there'd been a car accident, where we were, that no-one was hurt (while I was dialing, Vogon either got out and talked to the people in the other car or they got out -- I heard an unfamilar voice saying "no one's hurt!"), but our car wouldn't start and we were blocking a lane of traffic. The dispatcher told me that there was an officer on the way and thank you for calling, I could hang up now. My cell phone says I made the phone call at 1839 with a duration of 1m38s.

I remember Vogon telling me to get out of the car, to get Laurel out and sit on the grass above the sidewalk. I still hadn't found my glasses, feeling around the floor and between my seat and the center console. When I turned around to unbuckle Laurel, my sunglasses were sitting on the back seat next to her seat buckle. Shaky, possibly shocky, still seeing slightly double, my primitive brain still immediately opened my bag and pulled out the camera. Vogon must have gotten Laurel out while I went through the motions -- overall shot, close shot head-on, from the left, from the right, macro shots.

I put my bag down on the grass and gave Laurel a mint as I thought I should give Vogon something with sugar because his blood sugar must be low (hypoglycemia). Vogon and the other driver exchanged information. She was wearing a name tag that made me think she worked in a store (he said later it was a bank). Laurel asked for dried cranberries, so I found them in my purse and gave her the whole snack-size ziplock bag. Vogon handed me some folded cash and told me to take Laurel inside and buy dinner. It occurred to me to take pictures of her car as well, but I don't like approaching and talking to people I don't know so I watched Laurel. At one point we popped inside to ask if they had a phone book since the number for the shop Vogon usually has work done on his car at was in his phone (and not mine), which he left at home. I sat on the grass next to Laurel and did my best to keep her on the grass and off the sidewalk.

We waited outside until the officer arrived and went inside because Vogon's look said we should, but I couldn't decide what to order so we waited until he came in a few minutes later. After getting our food, I still wasn't hungry since I couldn't see as clearly as I'm used to so I mostly looked out the window while we waited for the tow truck. At one point, Vogon said he could think of a lot better ways to get a hundred dollar evening meal -- hence the entry title.

When the tow truck finally arrived, Vogon went out to talk to the driver while I packed up our leftovers and topped off Laurel's and my drinks. We sat on the grass on the opposite side of the driveway entrance from where we'd been before and Laurel played with her kiddie meal toy, alternately quacking and clucking. (I initially misidentified the figure as a duck, but it was a chicken in a skirted swimsuit.)

As the car was pulled up onto the flatbed, the police officer asked me if there was anyone we could call for a ride home. I told him I didn't know and asked Vogon when he returned from giving information to the tow truck driver. The only friend of his whose phone number I have (in my phone or Palm) is a coworker that lives up in Little Elm, which is a good drive from north Dallas, especially when we were barely five blocks from home. The officer said he could give us a ride home and as we got into the car, told Vogon his license was suspended. In response to his surprise (the accident wasn't either driver's fault, they simply couldn't see each other until it was too late), the officer said something about an SR-22 fee, that he could have lost his license if he'd been pulled over and had his license run, adding that he'd see what he could do to give him more information on it.

It was very strange riding home in a police car, especially with Laurel just in a shoulder belt between Vogon and I. I was fascinated by the LCD display on the center console in front, which appeared to be running 32-bit ZTerm for Windows. (I tried not to stare.) He dropped us off out front and we walked up from there, getting home just after 2010.

The situation leave Vogon walking to/from work until the car's repaired; luckily he's only a mile and a half from his workplace thanks to his adage that living more than a five-minute drive from work is a waste of fuel. It'll probably also mean he won't be coming home for lunch for awhile, which is a downer for both of us -- he likes to come home and see me, I like going anywhere with him. (I have that zen of dog thing where I don't care whether we're going to Panama or around the block, it's fun to ride in the car.)

The other downside of the situation is that it's more fodder for my nightmares. The major non-monetary reason I stopped driving after I stopped working (I know stay-at-home parenting is a full-time job, but it's not "working" to me since I draw neither pay nor health benefits) is because I'm so anxious behind the wheel it's not worth it for me. I have a constant fear that since I'm short, I won't be able to see oncoming vehicles when I have to turn across traffic. I catch my breath every time we come home from the west because we turn across traffic, albeit on a lightly-traveled road (esp. in comparison to the road when we approach from the east!) with a fairly clear view of oncoming traffic and a traffic light a half block uphill from the turn. Tonight my fear of what I can't see when we turn across traffic happened and although nobody's hurt (Vogon's car sustained light damage to the rear quarter panel, bumper and I think the fuel cutoff tripped since the impact was just below and toward the front of the car from the fuel door; the other car has a slightly crinkled hood and possibly some other front-end damage), I don't know if I'll be able to fall asleep tonight without a melatonin or other chemical aid because I don't want to wake up with nightmares. It'll probably be awhile before I want to ride in anyone's car again too, although that's not as big of a problem since there's so much within walking distance here and the flight to Colorado is on the 25th.

I'm going to upload the June 2004 photos and a few other updated files to oddharmonic.org since I got them done today and then try to sleep. Vogon asked me earlier if I wanted to watch Brother Bear (which we rented on Friday), but my shaky "no" brought him out of the study long enough to tell me that everything was okay because we were in a safe car that he knows how to handle. Intellectually I know he's right, but I'm still shaking and can't feel like I can concentrate long enough to watch a movie. I'm sorry.

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
lil_sass
Jul. 13th, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC)
Glad you are all okay. I know a car accident can leave you rattled for a bit. It will get better.
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 08:12 am (UTC)
Thanks. The melatonin didn't help me fall asleep -- a first for me -- but I finally stayed asleep after I put my glasses on. I should make a mental note of that for the next time I need that trick, though I worry it'll be filed next to "wash all towels in separate load, extra bleach" for quite some time.
aproctor
Jul. 13th, 2004 08:33 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 08:14 am (UTC)
Thank you.
king_chiron
Jul. 13th, 2004 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh no, I'm really sorry to hear about this, I'm just glad no one was seriously hurt. *hugs*
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 08:39 am (UTC)
I'm glad too. I implicitly trust Vogon's driving skills and Laurel has a really good car seat, so I'm glad those were both good decisions I've made.

Funny thing about the car seat: I bought it without Himself's approval when Laurel and I moved to Colorado ahead of him last year. He mocked me for spending so much on one when he found out about it, but it's so much easier to use than the seat it replaced it's paid for itself a few times over for me.
ker_esq
Jul. 13th, 2004 09:04 pm (UTC)
ugh.
as long as everyone is okay, everything will be okay. though there's nothing that makes you feel more helpless then a car accident.
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 09:14 am (UTC)
Yeah. I think I should get those elastic straps that keep glasses on since that's what bothers me the most -- not being able to see.
revme
Jul. 13th, 2004 09:29 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're OK, but I know what it was like. Despite my car accident being probably even more minor than yours, I'd been skittish around cars and such for several months afterwards. Even now, I'm a little bit, but I'm a bit better now. I'm like, no longer paranoid around intersections or being in the outermost lane or anything.
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 10:20 am (UTC)
I was paranoid about riding in cars before this, so I just have to remind myself that this too shall pass. (Remember my post about the drive back to Denver from mountain_hiker' birthday party last year? I covered my eyes every time Karak changed lanes or turned.) And fall asleep with my glasses on for awhile, since I couldn't stay asleep last night because I'd wake up and be upset because I couldn't see. You'd think I'd be used to it by now.
rainingvodka
Jul. 13th, 2004 09:36 pm (UTC)
*hugs* i suppose it's too much to hope for that it knocked yer sinues into submission any? =)

<3
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 10:28 am (UTC)
Actually, my sinuses have been a lot better since I've been here. I don't know whether it's the climate, regularly using SinoFresh nasal spray, or what, but I've seriously only had one sinus flareup this month and a single Tavist settled it. *hugs back*
babyinga
Jul. 13th, 2004 09:56 pm (UTC)
Oh honey there are no words to make your jitters go away. I'm just thankful nobody was hurt. I can tell you that over time you will be less skittish. As a child I endured a drunk father behind the wheel numerous times. I went through the windshield twice. I was in a terrible accident with Mike shortly after Micheal was born. I was in an accident with Jordan and myself only. I've come through those just fine. I will say that my experiences with my father left me unwilling to drive until I was 18 almost 19. Even then I drove only because it was an emergency and there was no choice. Now I have to drive. I find my anxiety less when I do the driving myself.

The SR-22 is an unusual thing. The only SR-22 I have heard of is the insurance. It is called SR-22 insurance and is usually only necessary for those convited of DWI/DUI. I know this due to my father. I also know it is costly in a major way! I hope this is not the case. Hopefully it is something minor and can be cleared quickly.

I'm more curious as to Laurel's reaction to the whole experience?

vogonpoet
Jul. 14th, 2004 07:35 am (UTC)
In Texas an SR-22 is a form that is filed with the state proving that you have insurance. I used to tend to let it lapse and used to tend to get pulled over right after that (a very dumb thing to do, but... at the time it didn't seem to be that big of a deal). It is reasonably inexpensive, here (something like $25-50) to file, and is done when you get your insurance. The thing that gets me is that I have a letter that says that my license was reinstated (2 days after it got suspended for letting the insurance lapse) and that I had to pay the $100 reinstatement fee before they would issue a NEW license (that won't be required until 2006 for me, since I have a 6-year license, so I figured I had plenty of time). What surprises me is that they send you the letter when it is clearly NOT true! I suppose it shouldn't surprise me; this isn't the first time that the government has lied to me, nor is it the first time that they have been unable to get their stuff straight. They actually had it on their records that I hadn't registered my car for two years, when I clearly had not only the registration which said it expired May 2004, but my proof of payment with me at all times specifically BECAUSE they can't seem to get their stuff straight. The lady looked at it very strangely when I went in person to get it registered this year rather than doing it online or via mail.

Point is, if it is at all possible, it is much better to just not drive in Texas because in Texas government is where ya go if McDonald's won't hire ya. Thus, my rule of not driving more than 5 miles to work.

And, Laurel didn't really seem to have any reaction at all. She cried for a moment because of the surprise, but otherwise she was playing 10 minutes later inside the Popeye's (so loudly in fact that we had to shush her several times, as usual). She is incredibly resilient, thankfully. Thank goodness she was strapped down in her seat, even though we were hit in the very, very back and we weren't hit very hard. All in all, it was probably one of the very best impact scenarios.
babyinga
Jul. 14th, 2004 04:45 pm (UTC)
I figured it was a difference in the states. SC the SR-22 is the DUI/DWI insurance thing. The lapse in insurance is a F-1 form. Or something like that.

In NC if you lapse in insurance they take your tag for 30 days no questions asked. Once the $30 is up you pay a sizeable fee. I learned that the hard way when my daughter was born premature and did not pay. Like bills were the first thing on my mind. *shrug*

NC suspended my husband's license for 6 months due to a ticket he got in Florida. Funny thing is he had a Florida license. But because he used his NC address for them to mail him the ticket NC had the ability to take his license. He did a court hearing via mail and got it back by paying a $25 fine. He now has a GA license and our car is registered in GA. I am going in as soon as my birth certificate arrives and getting a GA license to replace my NC license. I am ready to break all ties with that dang state! They are a bigger rip off state than TX I think.

It amazes me how resiliant children are. My 4 year old is a good one to prove that! Melissa can tell you about her experience last year.

I was grateful to hear that nobody was injured and the worst of the experience is getting a car fixed which is easier than a person. =)
vogonpoet
Jul. 15th, 2004 07:28 am (UTC)
I have no idea what the DUI form is here, thank gawd. And, I only have to file the stupid SR-22 for 2 years, so it isn't that bad. It's just that they have so many rules and regulations. It seems to me that, other than speed limits and signs and such, there should just be one rule: "Don't drive like an idiot." But, I suppose that's too complex. {sigh}

I am surprised that NC can take a license that it didn't issue. But, I guess that kinda makes sense if you're living there. I think you have something like 60 days to replace your license in Texas with a Texas license. After that they ping you REALLY hard (fine of something like $500).

They make you present a birth certificate? I'd think that the NC license is proof enough. LOL I don't even know where my birth certificate is -- haven't seen it for many years.

And, the total on the car ended up being something like $2100, cash out of pocket. {wince} So much for the savings and the new camera I was planning to buy.
babyinga
Jul. 15th, 2004 08:20 pm (UTC)
The entire country would be better off with such a simple rule. Then again like you said it would be considered more complex than the billions we have and few understand.

Technically I should have a GA license but nobody has said anything so I have not bothered. Being military I rarely even look at my Driver's License. For that matter I barely know my social security number. I too was surprised to learn I needed my birth certificate which was lost in our move to GA from NC. When I switched my FL license to a NC I just needed my license and another form of id. I used my military id.

I would have never guessed the total to fix the car. The description Melissa gave made it seem fairly slight. Then again fixing a car can be fickle. I got in a wreck in 96 and the damage to my car was estimated at $300 when in reality it cost me $40! My FIL ran over my car in 2001 and I figured the cost to fix it at about $1500 and it was closer to $4000. Go figure.
saarlander
Jul. 16th, 2004 04:33 pm (UTC)
colorado SR22
I vaguely remember SR22 insurance in Colorado being the kind that insurance companies had to provide to everyone due to the mandatory insurance laws. SR22 was the stuff that you got if everyone refused to insure you, but by law you had to have insurance......

Mental note: Never ever ever register anything in NC. Specially not when you know people in GA.
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 11:52 am (UTC)
Thank you.

When I asked her what happened yesterday, Laurel says the car got a boo-boo and had to go to a shop to get fixed, then adds she got a chicken (the toy from her kids' meal).
babyinga
Jul. 14th, 2004 04:47 pm (UTC)
LOL that's too funny. Kira's comment about her accident now is that "Grandmomma can't drive too well". Kids say the funniest things.
karaksindru
Jul. 14th, 2004 12:09 am (UTC)
*hugs you tight and whispers soothing words*

Glad to hear everyone is well. Sucks about Vogon's car though ...
oddharmonic
Jul. 14th, 2004 11:55 am (UTC)
Remember how I covered my eyes at every turn or lane change on the drive home from mountain_hiker' birthday party last year? Or how much I disliked the drive to MicroCenter when I was between glasses? That's what I feel like right now, except that I can see perfectly well when I don't feel like I'm about to pass out from exhaustion. I just gave Laurel a sippy cup with Benadryl added to it since I know she didn't sleep well either and I am not in the mood for another round of cleaning her after she poops herself, not today.

Vogon's car will be fine; the damage is fairly light and I don't think it'll be too long to fix.
radixx
Jul. 14th, 2004 12:15 pm (UTC)
Yet more good wishes that none of you were hurt! And if it's any consolation, I didn't drive until I was 28. Basically out of fear of causing an accident.
greeneyed_devil
Jul. 14th, 2004 05:51 pm (UTC)
Glad you're okay!
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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oddharmonic
Melissa, starry-eyed soy-lovin' Expatriated Zulu

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