The little green squiggly thing that we bought at the dollar store for Elena has a little multicoloured led inside of it that goes off whenever you shake it. It is made out of the same, tough, rubbery material that they make thick surgical gloves out of. And, if it were a surgical glove, it would be one worn by a doctor with about two dozen thin tentacles that someone blew into and tied off at the end. Elena thinks it’s one of the coolest things of the world. When we got into the car accident tonight, it was the first thing she grabbed for when I dashed her out of the car.
We had been travelling along, listening to Rush. She was banging her head like a good little rocker, her eyes squinched shut and her fists pumping. The station was Q107 and the song was Tom Sawyer. I remember that because my wife is not a huge fan of Rush and I remember thinking that it would be funny to tell her that Elena was rocking out to them.
“Rock out, Daddy,” she said. “Rock out.”
I remember telling her that Daddy would rock out when he got home. I thought we could get home in time soon enough to listen to some music and maybe re-read “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street” – a Dr. Seuss book that I bought for her at Chapters this past weekend.
And then I saw the guy pulling out of the side street. He looked away from me, to the other side of the street, to see if there was traffic. He was not looking at me, in the direction of direct, on coming traffic. He drifted forward and I slowed down and laid on the horn. He then shot forward and I tried to get around him so he would not hit me head on.
“Get him away from Elena,” I thought. “Get away.”
He slammed into the car hard enough to spin me around one hundred and eighty degrees. I didn’t say a word. I just tried to control the spin as best I could. The deflating passenger side rear tire helped that. I jammed the brakes and the car stoppped.
“Uh, oh, Daddy, you got a flat tire,” Elena said. She could hear the sound of air hissing out, too.
I burst out of my door and looked at the guy who hit me. He had already backed out of the intersection – he was going fast enough that he was almost all of the way through it by the time he stopped – and approached me, saying over and over again that he was sorry for hitting me.
“I don’t care about me,” I said. “My daughter.”
Elena was fine. I grabbed her out of her seat and checked her over a halk dozen times, not even sure that my heart was beating. A dear lady from the other side of the street – a dear lady that I was very harsh with at first merely because the whole situation had caught me off guard – cautioned me not to yell and not to swear.
All I could say was “my daughter”.
She reminded me that was exactly why I should not yet and should not swear. She was right, and it calmed me down a bit.
The guy asked me what he wanted to do about this whole thing.
“I want to get my daughter out of here for starters,” I said. “Then we can talk.”
“Listen, I don’t have any insurance,” the guy said. “So maybe we can work something out between us. Just between us.”
“Let me get my daughter out of here and we will talk about this.”
“Okay,” he said. “Thanks, man. I’m just going to go over to my friend’s house, okay?”
I did not touch him but I did deepen my voice and get a little loud with him.
“Sir, if I you move from this spot, I will dial 911 right now, do you understand me? If I cannot see you, I am dialling 911. Are we clear?”
“Yes, sir,” he said. “I’m just going to go over here.”
“No, you are not,” I said. “You are staying right here.”
I called my in laws and asked them to come and help. My mother in law thought that I was calling to give her a hard time for what she gave Elena was dinner – because she thought that she might have spit it up because it didn’t agree with her. She had bits of fruit plus some bumbleberry pie, all of which Elena told me she liked very, very much.
I yelled over to the lady – the very nice and remarkably patient and fantastic citizen of Newmarket – that the guy didn’t have insurance and I didn’t know what to do. She, apparently, knew more than me. While I waited for my inlaws to come and get Elena, she called the police. She is the one who took these photos in this post and emailed them to me. She is truly, truly awesome.
My mother in law took Elena away and me and my father in law waited for the police to show up. Over and over again the guy asked me not to report this and I didn’t give him and answer.
The police showed up and took my statement. It was pretty straightforward. The one officer had to ask me twice which direction I was originally travelling in. He was amazed I got hit so hard. I told them about the no insurance thing and, strangely enough, more officers appeared.
The police charged him with a whole mess of highway traffic act offences, not the least of which was a minimum $5000 dollar fine for operating a vehicle without insurance and a need to appear in court – a need to appear such that if he doesn’t a bench warrant gets issued for his arrest. There were more charges and more things, but the officer did not appear to be very forthcoming and I figured he had enough to deal with without having a curious manchild wanting to know everything.
My dad, who is the real owner of the BMW I was driving, just made sure that me and Elena were okay and laughed the car off. It wasn’t the first car I had wrecked on him but he hoped that it would be the last. I figure that I have wrecked every car he has given me, and he has given me all but one of the cars I have driven. The 84 Mustang that I wrecked – twice. Once on the Don Valley Parkway the second time being rear ended in Scarborough ; but it wasn’t really a rear end and I can tell that story later. There was the collection of Ford Tempos and Mercury Topazes that I wrecked, the most memorable of which was the one that was standard, was made up of a variety of coloured body panels, and it’s steering wheel had to be held at about 100 degrees to the right in order to drive straight. To those in teh know, that’s called dogpadding – because you drive like an old dog walks, front legs not in line with the back legs. There was Black Betty – the 84 Monte Carlo that I locked myself in it’s trunk ; another long story. There was the Nissan pickup that was so much fun for me and my now-wife-then-girlfriend would drive and listen for all of the new noises it would make – the best noise of which was the change in air pressure on the highway on and off ramps would cause the roof to pop in and out like a soda can. The 94 BMW 528i that I just managed to wreck was just one more – but he hoped it would be the last ; though that is no guarantee.
My middle brother wanted to come into town and beat the crap out of the guy. Literally. And it wasn’t because he hit me. All my brother could say was that “someone hit my niece and I’m gonna hit them back” – a sentiment that I appreciated but wasn’t really necessary. I tried to explain to him that Elena thought it was nothing more than a flat tire, CAA was picking up the tab for the tow, Dad was getting a rental car until the insurance adjuster declared that the BMW was a write-off (and Lord, is it ever a write-off), and I could drive Mom’s car until that was settled. The guy who hit me was the guy to worry about. He hadn’t had insurance for over two years and he made two bad choices. One was to not renew his license and the other was choosing not to care about it. He was operating on borrowed time as it was. What if he had of hit someone else who could not recover as well? What if he had of hitten an old lady on her way to see her grandkids? What if he had of hit a family on their way to visit friends? Nope, he had to hit me, who, in the grand scheme of things, was merely inconvienced for the night and would be put out for another week or two at most. No, I explained, everything was fine.
“I still wanna kick his ass,” my brother said.
My wife was concerned about Elena and me. But she wanted a piece of the driver of the truck. Really, really badly. I don’t want to speak for my wife and what it is she would do to him, but she can be mean sometimes and when she is, you are better off with not getting in her way when she is feeling mean.
But, the best part of it all, is when I was at my inlaws, and my father-in-law had grabbed me a beer and gone upstairs to see my mother-in-law, who was preparing me something to eat (because I hadn’t had much of anything to eat – except for the gum I bought at the nearby convenience store ; gum that served as a substitute for the cigarette I wanted so very badly – and the can of Red Bull I needed to keep me focussed), and Elena wanted to sit in the leather recliner next to me. I sipped my beer and had half an eye on Jeapordy and she just looked at me.
“Daddy,” she said. “ I want to play a game. You want to play a game?”
“Sure,” I said, and put down my beer.
And she whipped the green, squiggly flashy thing at me. And I whipped it back at her. And she whipped it back at me. I caught it and tossed it behind her. She looked at me with mock suprise, asking me where it went, and if I could see it. I replied no, and she would tuck her hand behind her, pause a moment, then whip it back at me. Beer and jeapordy were forgotten and we were just tossing around this green, dollar store, squiggly flashy thing back and forth, back and forth, laughing the whole time.
Then she stopped.
“Daddy,” she said. “You got a great big smile and yo face. Are you feeling better?”
I shit you not people. Two and a half years old this past Sunday, and she is worried about me.
“Yeah, Beans,” I answered. “I’m excellent. How bout you?”
“I’m sorry about yout flat tire,” she said. “Is it my fault?”
“What?” I launched out of the chair to sit in front of her and look directly into her eyes, the way I do when I try to explain something to her.
“A man made a couple of bad choices today, Beans. And he hit our car. But we’re both okay and everything is going to be alright and this has nothing to do with you. Okay?”
“Yeah. Okay, Daddy. You-you-you want to play with me?”
We went back to tossing the green, dollar store, squiggly flashy thing back and forth until my mother-in-law came down with a plate full of food to make me feel better. Me and Elena shared it while I watched BBC news updates with half an eye.