About three weeks ago, I stopped traffic in New York–not in the Marilyn Monroe way. More like in the bumper-to-bumper-fender-bender kind of way. Except this was more than a fender bender and unfortunately also my fault. My crime? I sneezed in heavy traffic when I was supposed to brake. My penalty? The cost of repairing one very smashed up Honda Accord–$6,547.
Yes, insurnace will cover most of that, but I do have to come up with a $1,000 deductible, and we have yet to get our Honda back from the garage doing the repairs. It took one week alone just to get a tow truck to retrieve the car from the Port Authority pound. While I’m on the subject of the Port Authority–let me say something about Port Authority cops during the midst of an accident on the George Washington Bridge–they rock! Gatekeepers of the Bridge, these are also the same guys who pitched in with the 9/11 rescue. I rear-ended someone on the bridge, smashed my car, and they had me and my car whisked off that bridge in less than 20 minutes. They also retrieved Anna’s car seat, refrained from ticketing me even though I only had an expired insurance card on hand, and gave me a ride home. Now, that’s some fine police work. So yes, the Port Authority did make it difficult to retrieve my car, but when push came to shove–and I shoved the crap out of the car in front of me–those guys (and gals!) came through. As they escorted me off the Bridge, me riding in the back seat of the cop car, we listend to Guns -n- Roses. I think it was “Welcome to the Jungle,” which would’ve been appropriate, but I can’t be sure.
Interesting thing about my accident–it occurred around the state border between New Jersey and New York. I was literally hundreds of feet above the Hudson inching my way home with the rest of the worker bees when the accident occurred. So when Allstate asked me what state did the accident occur in, I had to pause, and ultimately I said, “I don’t know. I think it was New York.” That’s right–I blamed it on the Empire State. New Jersey already has the highest auto insurance rates and worse driving record in the nation. I wasn’t about to add to that.
In the end, I had one very damaged Honda, a bruised nose, some air bag burns on my arms, and a weird ringing feeling in my right heel (my so-called braking foot that failed to brake). I’ve never been in an accident before in which the air bags deployed, and let me tell you, air bag deployment feels like a punch in the face. I couldn’t tell if I was being protected or punished for failing to brake in time.
Thankfully, Anna wasn’t with me, and cars can be fixed. The Honda is in Vehicular ICU for the remainder of the week, but the prognosis is a full recovery. The damage wasn’t a total, and soon our routine will return to what it was before June 19 at 6:10 pm. Meanwhile, I’ve been driving around a Ford Taurus rental, which feels like a cruise ship and turns like one too. Traffic in New York and New Jersey never abates, no matter what hour, and I always get a twinge of nervousness when I feel a sneeze coming on during the rush hour trudge. I can’t afford to dent a rental. A six-thousand dollar sneeze was pricey enough–that’s one expensive nasal expulsion no matter what your socioeconomic status may be. No one wants to pay for that kind of congestion.