While sitting under my umbrella of insurance, considering my piece of the rock, it turned out that I was not in such good hands as I thought. There I was, sitting in a line of traffic admiring the flashing red lights on the barricades and marveling at how only four diesel engines could pull so many loaded coal cars.
I had just finished rereading War and Peace and was lost in thought about getting across the railroad track before my youngest child grew up and went off to college, when at last the train cleared the track. The line of cars in which I had been stuck started to move, albeit slowly, when I heard the scream of tires on pavement and the first crash from behind me. Missed again, was my first thought. It was then that I felt, as well as heard, the second crash.
My next thought was that I must be partially blinded by the sticky blood running across my face and chest. It took a minute to realize that it wasn’t blood. It was only Coke from the paper cup that I was holding. My reading glasses had been bradded onto my nose and then covered by Coke dripping from the head liner of the car and from my face.
My car was sitting about four feet further up the road that it had been, and the rear bumper and my neck had one more bend in it that when the day had started.
Holding a towel with some ice in it taken from the Coke cup, I got out of the car. I found out that I had become vehicle number three in a three-car accident.
A nice lady driving a borrowed car had somehow overlooked a line of cars, upward swinging cross arms and a departing mile-long coal train. She had run into another nice lady who had been parked several feet behind me before we all became so rudely introduced.
The police came and passed out written mementos to the two ladies. I called my insurance man and it was about then that all the fun began.
While the police had determined that I was not in any way to blame for not excusing myself and letting the ladies go first, I found out quickly that I was on the top of the criminal list for the other driver’s insurance adjustor. I called the other insurance company and had a 20-minute grilling over the telephone. I was asked everything except my mother’s maiden name and my shoe size. I could hear the computer terminal keys click as all of my heretofore personal data was sucked up in a computer brain to be used as evidence against me.
A few days later, I was called by a female voice that said she was Trixie or Bubbles or Bunny or some other harmless name. I found out later that she was to have all the compassion of an industrial-grade garbage grinder. Under the guise of helping me settle my claim, she demanded to know why I had gone to see a doctor when my car had just received a little bump and was drivable. When I told her it was for the neck pain and three-day-old headache, she made weird noises and said that “according to independent witnesses”, I had acted “comical” at the accident scene. I explained that rap in the head and a punch in the nose had left me at less than my best for making new acquaintances.
The subject was quickly changed to why I had gone to a chiropractor. I explained that I had never gone to one in my life but that under the circumstances, it seemed a reasonable thing to do. Miss Compassion said, “Do you know that you have selected a doctor with a ‘peculiar’ reputation?” I had only looked under “C” in the Yellow Pages, not under “P” for “peculiar”.
In the interest of setting the claim, Miss Compassion offered a small amount and let me know that as a representative of Mega Bucks Insurance, she was doing me a great favor, even though I somehow got the feeling that she thought I was a sniveling little weasel that had thrown myself in front of her insured, only to take undue advantage of the insurance company and ruin Miss Compassion’s day.
The “little bump” cost $820.20 to repair. I’m still waiting for Miss Compassion’s check for the car repairs to arrive. I’m so far beneath her, it must be taking a while for the mail to reach me.
P.S. It is time for me to renew my home, car, and business insurance. Do you think Miss Compassion will understand why I threw her company’s bid in the trash?
-by James R. May