Friday, August 15, 2008

August 15, 2008

“So, can you believe that guy?” I said to Sonia, referring to the man who’d rear-ended me, as we dug in to our second order of nachos.

“He sounds like a real tool to me.” she responded.

“Whatever his deal is, he probably has some serious problems to just blow up at me like that. That’s all I know.” I said.

“Yeah, it sounds like he’s got more issues than People magazine.” Sonia joked.

We both laughed. I was glad to be able to de-stress after everything that had happened that day. It seems like I’ve had more than my share of negativity lately. I hope that things will start to look up soon.

After too much food and too few drinks, we both decided it was time to head home from the cantina because we both had early meetings the next day.

In the morning, when I was in my bathroom getting ready for work, I stood at the mirror staring at the lovely purplish-blue bump that covered a third of my forehead and wondered just how I was going to cover it up without looking like a clown. My head still ached a bit from having hit it on the steering wheel in my fender-bender the night before.

I wondered if Preparation-H might bring down the swelling a bit. I once read that models sometimes use it under their eyes to reduce puffiness. I don’t know if it’s true because you certainly can’t believe everything you see in print, but it’s not like it matters because I don’t have any Preparation-H lying around anyway.

As I was scrutinizing my face up close in the mirror, I also noticed that I am beginning to get crow’s feet around my eyes. When did that happen? And how, exactly, is it fair that I am getting wrinkles when I still get zits every month? You’d think you would get to give up one if you’re going to get the other. Not me; I get both. Color me lucky.

I did the best I could to camouflage the bruising and ran out the door, ten minutes late, as usual. When I got to the office, I saw that people were just starting to converge on the conference room. Thankfully I’m not the only one who runs late around here.

At the meeting, I found out that we’d just landed a new account for Cline’s Furniture. I love doing the ad layouts for furniture companies. I suspect it’s because I always loved playing with my dollhouse when I was a kid. My favorite part was laying out the rooms with furniture and rearranging the rooms as the mood struck me. I never did play with the dolls that much. And with my job, taking the images of furniture and placing them on the page reminds me of playing with that dollhouse, so these accounts never feel like work unless I’m under a tight deadline. Then everything feels like work. Fortunately, there isn’t a quick turn around on this project. I’ll have a bit of time to play.

At 2 o’clock, my cell phone rang. I looked at the screen: Kelly.

“That’s weird,” I thought. “She doesn’t usually call in the middle of the afternoon.”

“Hey, Kel.” I said, as I answered.

“Hey, Viv, how are you doing?”

“I’m good; what’s up?” I asked.

“I’m calling to see if you’d be able to watch Kaitlyn for me tomorrow night for a couple of hours.”

I flashed to my schedule for tomorrow evening: all clear.

“Sure thing. Do you have a hot date or something?” I teased.

“Hardly.” she replied. “I’ve got an appointment after work with a therapist.”

“So you finally asked your doctor for a referral?” I asked, relieved. She’d seemed especially depressed the past few months, and I was beginning to worry about her.

“Yeah,” she sighed. “I just left his office a few minutes ago. I called the therapist’s office, and she had a cancellation for tomorrow at 6, so she asked if I could come in then. Sorry for the short notice.”

“It’s quite all right, Kel. It’s not like I had a hot date planned, either. Besides,” I continued. “You know I love spending time with my favorite niece.”

“She’s your only niece, Vivian.” Kelly chuckled.

“True, but that doesn’t mean she still can’t be my favorite.”

After work, I stopped off at the dry cleaners, and as I walked across the parking lot back to my car, I remembered that I need to get my bumper reattached, as it is still sitting in my back seat. I’d do it myself, but I don’t think hot glue would cut it.

When I got home, I called my insurance company to report the accident and file a claim. What the claims adjuster said surprised me.

“Regardless of whether or not you stopped short, if you are rear-ended, the other party is 100% liable. The way the state law is written, the man who hit you, or rather his insurance company, is responsible for your damages.” she told me. “You’ll have to contact them and speak with an adjuster there.”

I thanked her and hung up.

“Great,” I thought. “Here we go.”

I despise making these types of phone calls. I know from past experience how quickly things can become adversarial. Trying to extract any money from an insurance company is like trying to separate black from a skunk. It’s going to be near impossible, and things could get really stinky, really fast.

I pulled out my copy of the police report from the accident and looked at the other driver’s information. I hadn’t even glanced at it after I folded it and stuck it in my purse after the accident yesterday.

Let’s see...the man’s name is Alexander B. Hayes.

“The third, no doubt.” I thought wryly.

His insurance company is...MFR4oGP and some spastic-looking scratches that appear to have been made by a drunken mongoose. What the hell? From the looks of it, the police officer who wrote this report was a doctor before she swore “to protect and serve”. Her handwriting is atrocious. I can’t make out the insurance company’s name to save my life.

“So, now what?” I asked, under my breath. “I suppose we call Mr. Hayes.”

He answered on the second ring.

“I’m so glad you called,” he said. “I was going to call you today myself, but I couldn’t make out your phone number on the police report, and when I looked you up, I saw you are unlisted.”

“Well, it’s actually because of the officer’s illegible handwriting that I’m calling.” I replied. “I can’t read your insurance company’s name. What is it, please?”

“It’s The Mercury Alliance Group.”

“Thank you.” I said, thinking that there’s no way I ever would have made that out from the gibberish that was written on the report.

“Listen, I want to apologize for the way I treated you yesterday.” he said. “I was out of line. I know this doesn’t excuse my behavior, but I lost my job yesterday, right before the accident as a matter of fact, and I took it out on you. Will you let me make it up to you? Perhaps I could take you out to dinner tomorrow night?” he asked, hopefully.

This certainly didn’t sound like the same guy who yelled at me in the street. He seemed much kinder, softer, so maybe the way he had acted was out of character for him. I thought over his offer, and I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I had a weird feeling about it. It was a moot point anyway because I’m watching Kaitlyn tomorrow.

“I don’t think so.” I told him. “Thanks for the offer, though.”

The next day, after work, I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some coloring books and crayons for Kaitlyn. She loves to draw, just like her aunt Vivian. Maybe she’ll follow in my footsteps. That would be cool, having a little protégé. Although, I don’t think she’ll be worrying about her career any time soon, seeing as she’s only 3.

I headed over to the hair accessories aisle, hoping to find some pretty barrettes or cute ponytail holders. Kaitlyn loves it when I do her hair for her, and we always come up with some funky styles. After we settle on something fun for her, she “helps” me do my hair the same way. My sister always gets a laugh out of our creations. And these days, I’ll act as goofy as I have to if it will make my sister laugh. She hasn’t laughed much lately. I really hope this therapy helps her. I can’t stand seeing her this way.

When I got up to my apartment, I saw a package leaning against my door.

“What’s that?” I wondered. “I didn’t order anything.”

I brought the box to my kitchen counter and opened it up. Inside was a gorgeous bouquet of flowers: Peruvian lilies, gerbera daisies, tulips, and some unusual, dainty, pale pink flowers that smell wonderful. It was one of the nicest bouquets I’d ever received.

I was searching my brain, trying to think of who would send me flowers when I saw a card.

“I wanted to apologize again for my behavior the other day. I hope you’ll reconsider my offer. Sincerely, Alex Hayes.”

So he goes by Alex. That’s certainly less pompous than Alexander B. Hayes.

I felt my resolve soften. The flowers are a nice gesture, above and beyond, really, for a stranger who rear-ended me. Maybe Alex really is a good guy who simply had a bad day. We all make mistakes, right?

I decided to give him a chance. I picked up the phone and dialed his number.


Lynn said...

I am enjoying this reading, thanks for sharing. You are great!

KBear said...

hm... that's.. weird.

only because I know that, while his insurance company would cover the cost because HE hit YOU, I also know (at least here anyways, Im from Ontario Canada) if you stop short for no reason, you can be held liable on the police report. so you're lucky.

I like the name kelly. mostly cause my mother named ME that:)

Gina said...

Love, love love the way this story is taking off!!

P.S. It is the same in my state (Florida). It doesn't matter if you have no tail lights, stop short, etc. the one who rear-ends is liable and gets the ticket.

Lynn said...

I work in insurance claims (commercial and health) and if you rear-end someone it is your fault whether they stopped short or what...Insurance considers that you were not driving at a safe distance from the other vehicle. The only thing I disagree with is the insurance company not wanting to pay. Most Good A+ insurance companies settle claims fast.

Qui suis-je? said...

1) I hope she didn't drive home after drinking her margaritas and

2) How's he affording all this stuff (flowers, dinner) if he just lost his job?

I can't wait to find out!

Charlotte said...

Saw your link on RedBook and I love your blog! I will definitely keep reading =) Your alternate diary of E post was lovely as well. Should convince Redbook to let you guestpost every once in awhile... haha. or just take it completely over...

mum said...

Another good one Cefarian. I know you said you will only commit to posting every other week, but I'm still gonna check back regularly for an update! You have the start of something good here!


Carmel Beauty said...

I am loving the story.

KBear said...

oh. so maybe it's just different everywhere.

cause i know here, while the person who rear-ended is liable, the police CAN slap the person who stopped with a ticket if it was for no good reason.

i know here too, on a two lane road (one lane south, one lane north) if you are making a left going either way onto another road, and the way is clear in front of you and you turn, and some random ass is PASSING a line of cars and hits you, it's your fault cause you went when the lane wasn't clear!!

I'm assuming it's totally different whereever you go then..

I just reread both entries. I love this blog!

Mary said...

I am so loving your blog...keep up the good work.

Courtney said...

ahhhhhhh post tomorrow!

can't wait! <33333
i love this blog!