Crazy B*tch (Memoirs of a Lemon Lover in Recovery)
Chapter 31—A Veritable Pain in the Neck
At first, I argued with my chiropractor about my injuries. This woman merely tapped the corner of my bumper with the corner of hers—how on earth could I be so sore, and so mired by migraines. My car barely showed signs of collision, and while the paint job held up considerably well, the wee crack of the plastic in my bumper was the tip of the ice berg. I would find out later that mere tap would be a nine hundred dollar repair job.
I was never really a happy or attentive student in physics. My chiropractor knew this, and did the math for me. In a nutshell, my body was injured because I had the equivalent of one thousand tons hurled at me, while my neck was craned at an unnatural angle. According to physics, my injuries might have been slightly less if I had had a piano dropped on me. I know math doesn’t lie, but it was still a struggle for me to get my head around it. Perhaps once the migraines subsided, I would be better able to process things.
It was pretty easy to feel overwhelmed, I was finding. It wasn’t just the physical injuries, but also the whole schmozle with the police. I followed protocol best as I knew how. I reported the events of the accident to the police, and then I reported to the car insurance company. The car insurance company happily assessed the damage on the car. I saw the crack on my bumper and reasoned that it was to be expected especially given the frigid temperatures that day. However, apparently bumpers have springs—springs designed to absorb impact. My neck spasmed at the irony of that information. To repair this spring, and cracked surface would be at least nine hundred dollars. I could pay now and seek reimbursement after the accident case was settled, or I could wait until everything was settled.
As surprising as the cost of repairs were, I have to say that last bit was even more surprising. What did they mean “case settled”. What “case”? I was struck by a crazy woman—I was the victim—it was so plain and simple. My agent shrugged and gave me a few numbers for some of the traffic lawyers she knew. I was advised that if I hadn’t already, I likely would soon be served with papers. Papers? How my head didn’t explode in that moment remains a mystery. It throbbed as if it should have, or would at any moment, but sadly I was in for more misery before that could happen.
That very evening, just after supper time, two police officers were at my door. They had papers that gave them liberty to inspect and photograph the damages on my vehicle. They also inquired if I was willing to make a statement without a lawyer present. I agreed, provided my parents could stay as witnesses. One officer went outside to check and photograph my car while the other stayed with me.
The officer taking my statement hauled out a scaled version of the street where the accident took place, he also had to-scale models of both cars. He asked me to recount events, as I remembered them, using the models. He requested that I take my time, and I did, thus ensuring he was able to accurately record my side of the events verbatim. When I got to the part about first noticing a brown and yellow vehicle, the officer abruptly interjected, “What?! What do you mean ‘brown and yellow’?” I explained to him that I had noticed yellow paint on her brown car, and that it looked like the reflective yellow paint used to paint lanes, guardrails and parkade ramps. The officer’s eyebrows rose so high on his head, it looked like he had two sets of bangs. Apparently the crazy lady’s allegations against me did not include sufficient amount of personal disclosure.
I went on to describe the nature of our collision, and when I disclosed that I was stationary and remained such throughout the collision and points after, the officer, again, seemed surprised and sought clarification. “You had your signal on, but did not enter the lane at any time prior to the collision, or during the collision?” I confirmed that I did not move my vehicle until after the crazy women sped off. The officer scratched his head and offered a puzzled “hrumph”. He questioned me several different ways, likely trying to find inconsistencies, or points where truth might have been embellished. I really couldn’t blame him, the whole thing was bizarre enough that even I didn’t quite believe it in the moment either. By the time the other officer was done inspecting my car, my statement was complete. I did not waiver on the details of the accident in any way. The officers examined the photos of my car, and discussed how it seemed consistent with my rendition of events.
Then, I heard the officer who took my statement say “…brown AND yellow—centre line yellow—do you have the claimant’s photos on you?” As they were ruffling through the papers, one word echoed through my mind: “claimant”. I filled out a police report mere hours after the collision, how on earth did that nut-job manage to twist things around so much that she became the claimant (and I, by default, accused or defendant)? I decided to root through my own paper work and offer the officers the details of my own report to the police.
The officer I dealt with that day was a surly piece of work, so naturally she did not freely offer any kind of information regarding report numbers. However, while she was outside photographing my car, I asked another officer if I could have Officer Cranky’s name and badge number. The other officer, probably a rookie, very happily looked up the information and discreetly gave it to me before I left that day. In this moment, I was thanking my lucky stars I had the foresight to ensure I had that information.
I offered this data to the officers, and they looked genuinely surprised. I found out then that they had searched to see if I had reported the accident, and found nothing. I also found out that they were charged with the task of serving me with a citation that had, among the charges, failing to report an accident. I could feel Not Sane Elsa starting to work up a simmer. Sane Elsa took a deep breath, cleared her throat and asked the officers to repeat themselves.
Through clenched teeth and restrained tears, I implored the officers to follow up with Officer Cranky. I know the world was filled with injustices, but to have a crazy woman hit me, verbally berate me, and then convince the authorities that I wronged her, seemed to be an excessive version of “insult to injury”. There must be record somewhere (she took pictures for crying out loud) of my police report.
The officers then asked if I would recount for them my experience of reporting the accident. Against my will, a huge sob-like sigh escaped my lips. Both officers seemed to fidget with the discomfort that guilty feelings sometimes bring. I realized that they in their wildest predictions did not foresee things playing out this way. They truly thought this would be a quick and simple call. I hoped my recount of what happened when I reported the accident would only further play to their empathy, and not frustrate or alienate them.
Again, as the officers listened, their eyebrows raised up to their respective receding hair lines. One of “theirs” behaved in a manner that was relatively unprofessional, and they couldn’t even apologize without first verifying my story. The officer who inspected my car seemed to recognize the officer’s name and badge number, “Oh, her—hmmph!” It was odd, but I felt both encouraged, and discouraged by that response.
The officers did not serve me with any citations that evening, but they were emphatic: it was too early to get my hopes up. They had a lot verify, and I should probably call a lawyer.