My roommate asked me to drive her to the airport at 5:00 PM. I hesitated and asked her how much a cab would cost, then regretted having asked. I knew I would drive her, even though I really didn’t want to. I had only recently arrived back in California, and I wasn’t sure I remembered how to get to the airport. Also, it was dark, and I try to avoid driving in the dark if I can.
On the way to the airport it became apparent that my roommate frequently confuses “left” and “right,” so there were moments when I straddled a centre line while she held up her fingers and thumbs in L shapes. The traffic on the highways was, as California traffic often is, frenzied. It’s a race to the finish.
Thankfully, we arrived at the airport on time and I double-parked while she unloaded her bags. Then I set off for the return journey to our apartment. In the process, I found myself in the wrong lane and entering a freeway heading in the wrong direction instead of on the surface streets going in the right direction.
I took the first exit off the freeway and had to do some mental gymnastics to guess where I needed to go to get back to where I wanted to be. Miraculously, I made the right choices, and was comfortably headed in the right direction when I stopped at traffic lights. It was a large intersection, and the lights were slow, so I had been waiting for several seconds—maybe even a minute or so—when I was hit.
It was a booming thud that I felt between my shoulder blades. The car jolted forward even though I had my foot on the brake. Thankfully, I didn’t hit the car in front of me.
It took me several seconds before I realized what had happened, and I put on my hazard lights. As I got out of my car other drivers honked their horns at me because, obviously, I was making them lose the race. The driver of the car that hit me also got out of his car and we agreed that we should move over to the side of the road to exchange information.
There was nowhere to park on the street, so we pulled into someone’s driveway. I got out of my car and tried very hard to think logically. I knew I had to get insurance information, so that is what I asked for. The other driver gave me a piece of paper that was an email receipt for insurance which, while not actually being an insurance certificate, was close enough for me. I rummaged around in my purse to find paper and pen with which to copy the information. I completely forgot that I could have taken a photo with my cell phone.
In the process of searching through my purse in the dark, I managed to drop things and feel foolish. The other driver was very apologetic about the accident and kindly picked up all the things I dropped. He didn’t ask me for my insurance information, but he did take a picture of the damage. At that point, I remembered my cell phone and took a picture of the front of his car. We parted ways with me having obtained some of his information and he having none of mine.
Later, I called my sister to tell her what had happened. As I explained it all I realized that I was angry, but not at the other driver. I wasn’t even mad at the too-fast traffic or at myself for taking the wrong road. I was mad at my roommate. It was her fault. She shouldn’t have asked me to drive her to the airport!