I'm sure she was a very nice lady, but she worked some pretty odd shifts and had some impulse control problems. This does not make for a cautious, defensive driver.
Right after Liz was born, when we were living in our 'slightly less skanky than the downstairs one' upstairs apartment (see my post 'On Poverty'), we figured we were in an ok area. It wasn't GREAT- it was one of the small apartments by the old
Until one night, the phone rang at about 2 a.m.
When I answered it, a woman identified herself as Constable Whasserpickle, and told me my car had been involved in a hit and run. Because we have friends and family with some seriously warped senses of humor, I politely told her to go back to her beer & hung up the phone.
Now I was irritated. I picked up the phone, and in my very best 'I'm bigger than you and I have a stick' voice, told her that if she woke up either of our kids with her screwing around, she could come up here and put them back to sleep herself. At which point she (in her best 'I'm bigger than you and I have a stick AND a gun' voice) informed me that no, she really WAS Constable Whasserpickle, and my car really HAD been involved in a hit and run.
"That's impossible," I told her, "it's outside."
"Yeah." she said. "Yours was the 'hit' part."
Come ON!!! Why couldn't we just catch a break??? That Dodge Aries had cost us at LEAST $20 to buy from my aunt (Ok- she charged us $1- I'm a compulsive liar), and was the first car we'd owned together. And now you're telling me it was destroyed in full view of my front door???
I told Jason what had happened, and while he stood staring out the window, I dressed quickly and ran downstairs.
Constable Whasserpickle met me at the front door and walked me over to my car, which, to my INTENSE relief, had a broken taillight, and no other perceptible damage (good deal, too- we could only afford PL & PD). The mint condition classic Trans-Am behind me, however, which had been pushed into my car by the truck that had done all the damage, had fared much less well. It was still a Trans-Am. It was just....... shorter.
The truck that had inflicted all the pain on our poor, defenseless vehicles was sitting all catterwonky in the middle of the intersection down the street, with the paddywagon pulled up beside it.
I turned to my neighbor, the owner of the Trans-Am, to tell him how sorry I was about his car, when I noticed he was laughing.
Like he was leaning on his hood and tears were rolling down his cheeks.
And that's when I noticed the police officer chuckling. And then I saw the OTHER neighbor, handcuffed and on the ground, swearing like a drunken sailor with Tourette’s Syndrome.
Turns out, one of the guys who lived in the apartment building next door to us had rented some companionship for the evening. It seems that at the end of the night, he realized he had no money to pay the tab (remember- he lived in our neighborhood. I'm surprised she didn't ask for cash up front. Or at least do a credit check), and she decided to take his truck as.... collateral. She hit him over the head with a bottle of booze (which I can only assume was a 1787 Chateau Lafitte or a 1951 Grange Hermitage), grabbed the keys out of his pants’ pocket (which were apparently not on his person where they should have been), and took off out the door, kicking him in the nether regions as she went past.
Luckily, the woman's thought processes were so slowed by the evening’s consumption of fine wine, rare cheeses and innocent fun that our saintly neighbor had enough time to regain consciousness, dress himself, and (here's the best part) CALL 911, before she made it to the end of the block (ricocheting off other vehicles like the little metal ball in a pinball machine).
At this point she abandoned the effort in the middle of the intersection (perhaps she hadn’t taken driver’s ed classes at AMA), switched off the truck, crawled into the back, and fell asleep. When the cops got there, good neighbor was standing out front, angrier than hell at this violation of his civic right and personal property, and she was having a nice nap on a pile of painter's tarps in the bed of the truck.
Never let anyone tell you that you live in a bad neighborhood.
Make them prove it.