Twenty-Fourteen was a great year overall. Twenty-Fifteen needs an attitude adjustment. I know I promised to write all the blogs I missed in 2014, and I actually have a great one that I am almost finished with, but 2015 is so loud right now that I’m unable to focus on the past.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015, the day after MLK holiday. Sunny dry conditions.
My work desk at home overlooks a residential street that borders a more commercial area. I live where the slate sidewalks end, and I spend my days watching College of Charleston kids ride by on skateboards and bikes. I observe my neighbors on their routine to and fro, with or without their children and dogs. There is the greyhound who wears a jacket when it is cold, and he seems to skip with delight when wearing the jacket, either from the cold or from the sheer pleasure of being stylish. I like to people watch, and I’ve never been able to resist attaching make believe characteristics to people I see every day but know nothing about.
4 pm, I’m sitting at my desk at home, furiously trying to finish a project before a 5 pm meeting. I hear tires squeal and a crash. I momentarily consider walking down stairs and investigating, but with my walking air cast boot (See Part II) and my impending deadline, I decide to fight the ADHD and stay at my desk. I finish my project and take Briscoe outside around 4:45, at which point I discover that not only was there a car wreck, the car wreck involved my parked car. I peer pressured Briscoe into hastily finishing her business, and I whisked her back upstairs. Briscoe did not appreciate her afternoon stroll being cut short, and headbutted my knee and pretended like she might bite me once we got back inside. I called Philippa to tell her I was unable to drive to our Florence Crittenton meeting, and she was nice enough to come pick me up.
Back out on the street, I see that the gold jeep liberty that hit my car is entirely stuffed with, including a piece of luggage spilling into the cab from the backseat, along with a tall boy aluminum can wrapped in a paper bag in the console. The airbag is visible on first glance, but the responding office told me that it was a pillow, as he pulled numerous curious objects from the front seats of the car. These objects included a panhandling sign that said – HOMELESS – OUT OF WORK – ANYTHING HELPS, numerous empty 24 ounce cans of Four Lokos and Icehouse, empty liquor bottles of what appeared to be gin or vodka, along with numerous needles and a black dish that was about the size of an ashtray. I took a few pictures because I have no self control and I’m an interested party.
The driver was still in the car when the police rolled up, and he was in the back of the cruiser by the time I got there. I literally could not, because I had somewhere to be, so I gave my driver’s license and insurance card to the responding officer, who promised to put the accident report and my driver’s license in my mail box, and I hopped in the car with Philippa.
After two hours of meetings, and then a decompression dinner with wine, I arrived home around 9 pm to find that there was no accident report or license in the mailbox. A few phone calls later, the responding officer tells me that he is at the hospital with the driver, that things are crazy, but that he will bring me my license and the accident report within the hour. 10 pm rolls around, and I start to get a little concerned. I texted my new police friend at 10:15, and he tells me he is on the way. 10:30 pm finds me on my front porch, in my pajamas, talking to a police officer about how the man who slammed into my car tried to hide his drugs where the sun doesn’t shine, and how they had to take him to the hospital for x-rays and extraction. The good news was that the driver hit the stop sign, and possibly a few other things, before he hit my car, and that this was his fourth DUI, so he would be in jail indefinitely. The other good news was that it was his girlfriend’s car, and that they thought she had insurance. The bad news that they had no current location on the girlfriend.
This was all a lot to process, and these sorts of things are always better left to worry about tomorrow. The following day I had my car looked at by various body shops, and I discovered that the name of the car owner was incorrect on the accident report. After an inordinate amount of back and fourth with Allstate, and a conversation with my new police friend, I learned the owner girlfriend’s actual name, and I discovered that yes, she did have insurance at some point in time, but that her policy was cancelled in October 2014 for non-payment.
My insurance claims man acted like the fact that the policy had been cancelled in October was the greatest news ever, because he was convinced that if the girlfriend DID have insurance, that allstate would deny the claim because the accident was in the commission of a crime. And if there was NO insurance, I could use my uninsured motorist coverage, with a $200 deductible, but if it was denied because it was in the commission of a crime, that I would be forced to use my collision insurance, which has a $1000 deductible. Just to be clear, my undergraduate degree is in Risk Management and Insurance, and I went to Law School, I am a member of two bar associates, including the state where this accident happened. All of this was news to me, along with sounding unreasonable, totally insane, and confusing. I pretty much just nodded and smiled and acted like I understood. South Carolina, if it is in fact true that my uninsured motorist coverage is not triggered in the scenario of my car being damaged by an insured crime committing moron whose coverage is invalidated by his crime, then I don’t understand the policy reasons for uninsured motorist coverage. Isn’t every uninsured motorist committing a crime? Isn’t having valid liability insurance required by law? If this is true, I call bullshit. If I had the time or the effort available I would do some case law research to discover the validity of my insurance company’s claim. However, since this loophole did not actually apply to me, and because I have a lot of ridiculousness to worry about right this second, I’m going to leave this question to the professionals.
Since this time, my car has been delivered to the repair shop, and I discovered that the driver’s girlfriend got a DUI in early January 2015, but since it was her first offense, she got out fairly quickly. I have spent a lot of time thinking about these people. One insurance person that I spoke to said that she would be FURIOUS if this happened to her. I thought this was interesting. Because I’m not furious. I’m really not even mad. I would be mad if I had to pay $1000 deductible, but I don’t. I’m disappointed that my fairly new car has lost value, but it’s a car, and that’s what insurance is for, right? More than anything, it just makes me sad. It makes me sad that this idiot would stand on a street corner, playing on the heart strings of the privileged but feel guilty about it, only to turn around and use the money to buy drugs and four loko and get behind the wheel and endanger the rest of us. At 4 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. But I’m even more sad for whoever is on the receiving end of the phone call they make from jail.
I remember one time in Athens, Christy and I were sitting outside of the Globe, eating hamburgers and enjoying our drink of choice (Christy was probably drinking rum and diet coke with no ice and I was probably drinking a tall paulaner), and she gave a panhandler $5, and I said, “Christy! You know he’s just going to go buy booze!” and she said, “Yeah, but that was what I was going to do with it, so whatever.” Christy had a really excellent point, and since that time I don’t begrudge a panhandler spending some of his money on booze. But I’m deeply troubled that incredibly intoxicated individuals are driving cars through my neighborhood at 4 pm on a Tuesday afternoon. 4 am on a Friday is one thing, 4 pm on a Tuesday is a whole different beast.
Next thing you know I’m going to be standing on my front porch with a shotgun yelling at kids to get the hell off my lawn.