Saturday, March 26, 2011

What do I need to do, tie cans to my back bumper?

Got rear-ended once again, at the Somerville Circle -- AGAIN -- while heading back from a lovely birthday party (well done, C). I swear to you, at exactly the same spot I last got hit at this circle a few years back. I slowed down to check for oncoming Rt. 28 traffic, and bam! Because apparently slowing down at these things is so passe.

Granted the Somerville Circle is at least the eighth circle of hell, right there with the Lambertville Circle and other Horrible Places to Drive Through in New Jersey (other spots: the Turnpike at the 8A merge, Rts. 4 and 17 during rush hour or Christmas shopping season, the "spaghetti bowl" in Wayne where a bunch of highways converge for no rhyme or reason, the Parkway, oh, anytime). The nice cop who came to take our reports admitted as much: "It's the traffic circle. This happens a lot." In fact we had to wait a while for him to show because the department was already dealing with another accident further down the same road. Fortunately we had goodie bags to keep us busy while we waited. Unfortunately, the Chinese yo-yos did not survive the encounter. Ah well.

The last time I got rear-ended there, it was such a small bump and so clearly no damage that the other driver and I shrugged it off and left. This time, a harder BUMP. I didn't see damage but I did see the imprint of her license plate on my bumper, plus I was livid that someone had hit my car with my children in it, so after jumping out and having a minor hissy fit at the other driver (who, to be fair, also had a small child on board), I called the cops.

I'm assuming he wrote her up or whatever, though I haven't checked yet. The car seems OK (the imprint, or what we were referring to as the car's tramp stamp, seems to have washed off in the rain), and frankly it's so old that angsting over its appearance is a little bit overkill.

But these still aren't the only times I've been rear-ended. Once on my way to work, and again no damage, but the other driver -- who was already freaked about the job interview he was heading to -- was nice enough to give me his info just in case I noticed something later. I didn't.

Once again on my way to work, this time right after dropping kiddo off at day care, this time bad enough to require repair work. Idiot girl was driving parent's car, wasn't paying attention, didn't notice the light was red, blamed the sun for being in her eyes. So wear sunglasses, genius.

And most memorably, one whale of a smashing-into in South Jersey, about a week after we'd confirmed I was pregnant with kiddo. I mean the car (DH's, that time) was undrivable. I'd been applying makeup before we got to our friends' house, and the compact flew out of my hands. (I found it later under the back seat.) After I caught my breath, I jumped out of the car and yelled, "I'm bleeping pregnant, you bleeping bleep bleep!" at the idiot teenager until DH convinced me to get back in the car. The kid cowered in his (smashed-up) car and called out, "Sorry!" "Bleep you!" I said. Not my most mature moment, but considering the kid had fake insurance and we never did get that deductible back, I don't regret it. Bleeping kid.

I just don't get it. Is there some irresistible force of attraction between chronically distracted drivers and my car's rear end? Did someone glue some magnets down there when I wasn't looking? Should I get a big bumper sticker that says "DON'T HIT ME"?

Some would say the problem is that New Jersey drivers can't drive. Except that they can't drive in Florida, New York, D.C. or Boston either. Or anyplace else I've been, ever. Except Nantucket, because there just aren't as many drivers -- island -- and you can't really gun it on cobblestone streets anyway.

So I don't know. I'm glad our family's latest car misadventure was so much less serious than the last one. But none of this convinces me I should ever like cars.

Now a hovercraft, that would be cool.

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