The scariest moment in my life was three years ago. I was driving one of my best friends and her then crush to a hotel bar so that we could all hang out with some old high school friends. It was spring break of our senior year of college, so for the most part our futures were in place. Things were more secure for our impending recent grad-dom than they are now for those currently enrolled in school. There was nothing to worry about.
“And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
I remember the exact conversation we were having, about how Indian fathers like to add s to the end of random words, making everything plural. (Both of my companions are Indian.)
“Lilac-s is asleep in her room-s,” Then Crush imitated. We were all laughing.
Then Lilac said, in a voice out-of-this-world, “Oh my god…”
A flash of white filled the front windshield and I tried to turn left, slamming my foot on the brakes. We collided. My knee ran into the bottom of the dashboard and something in my neck kept my teeth from whacking straight into the steering wheel.
We all asked each other “Are you okay?” When it was clear that we were all intact, all “okay,” I asked “Where the fuck are the airbags?” They didn’t deploy, but at least we were all able to step out of the car and “assess the damage.”
Above is what was left of my 2002 Mercedes-Benz C230 Kompressor. Yes, I was that spoiled bitch in high school who had a fine-ass car. Now, I’m grateful that I am without a luxury that so sickeningly ties me with the likes of the annoying kids on Real Housewives.
My car collided with a white station wagon driven by an unlicensed and uninsured 19-year old mother. Her one-year old was in the backseat, and her 16-year old brother was sitting in the passenger seat.
The police were literally parked at the corner, ready to find speeders, when the white station wagon turned left on a red light, not even close to missing my car as I advanced at 40-45 MPH into the intersection. I was driving straight. My light was solid green. But just like you can take a horse to water but can’t force it to drink, you can drive by the rules, but you can’t keep other people from driving like fucking idiots.
We got out of the car and the police were instantly on site. They tended to the white station wagon first. The girl was shrieking. She and I had no verbal or physical contact. I saw her being taken away on a stretcher, able only to see her long curly black hair and fair skin. At some point my friends and I said to each other “Is that a baby crying?” The other car’s passengers disappeared as they were escorted to the emergency room.
I was yelled at for taking the picture above. The officer came at me saying, “Now is not the time to be taking pictures!” Excuse me, but every person who has actually gone through drivers’ training is told how to react in the face of an accident. I put the camera away, and though I tried to stay clear-minded, I know now that I definitely was not.
An officer questioned me and my guests about what had happened. No, I wasn’t talking on a cell phone. No, I know for sure it was a solid green light. When I looked at the dash I was going 40 or 45. Here is my license. Here is my insurance. Here is my registration. Yes, I tried to avoid the collision, but it just came out of nowhere. No, I don’t think I need to go to the hospital. I just need to sit. I feel a little shaky. No, I don’t know why the airbags didn’t go off – Isn’t that weird?
Everything about the crash was cut-and-dry. The girl was clearly in the wrong, I was clearly in the right, the officers saw everything, and this would all go into a pretty straightforward report.
Within the next 24 hours my knee had swollen up with fluid and I had scheduled an appointment with my physician. All the necessary calls to my insurance were made. I eventually got a painkilling prescription for what was a relatively innocuous battle wound. From there we’d just have to wait to hear from the police department and Mercedes – What was going to happen with the other party? And what was Mercedes’ response to the lack of airbags?
Days and weeks passed. The first response we heard from the parties of authority was that Mercedes had bought my car from the impound lot, eliminating any possibility of discovery or further research on the vehicle. We were sent a letter explaining that the collision did not occur at the threshold necessary to deploy any airbag activity. 40-45 MPH, and that’s not an airbag-worthy threshold? Wow. Insurance, at this point being barred from investigating the car, was stuck. We waited to hear from police.
Months passed. This accident occurred in March. In June it was revealed, after much prodding into city officials, that the police report had never been filed. Straightforward, eh? Of all the cases to lose sight of, the easy one went dismissed.
I graduated and moved to Seattle for the summer. Toward the end of my internship my knee started giving me troubles. My mom came up for a visit and told me that she finally obtained a copy of the police report. She left it at home in Fremont. I could see it when I was done in Seattle.
When I got hold of the file, I learned the girl’s name is Wendy Gomez. I learned her baby’s name, Anthony, her brother’s name, that she had no sort of record on herself. I learned that her address was in Newark. But days after the original accident date, she had already skipped town.
One night in September 2006, crazed, I Googled for this girl. She was easy to find. She is on MySpace with the personal URL “lilmamacita510.” Though she maintained the 510 area code, she now lives somewhere in San Jose. The happy birthday comments on her wall matched the date of the birthday listed on the police report. The baby she talks about in her About Me section has the same name as the one in the white station wagon. I know people are skeptical about finding people online, but you mistake me for a complete fool to not believe that I know it was this girl. I shared all of this with the city officials I knew, with our insurance reps, all the way into October. Nobody responded to my inquiries. Perhaps they’re all still clueless about what to do with social networking investigations.
Wendy Gomez has since changed her profile to private.
So there you go. This is why I will never buy another Mercedes-Benz (I will consider other European-engineered imports, because, let’s face it, the only thing that saved us was the weight of the German metal.), and this is where the acronym FYWG comes from. FUCK YOU, WENDY GOMEZ.
I’ve always been stern about being a good driver, but now I’m incredibly harsh on people who should not be allowed to drive. I’ve only been in a couple of friends’ cars to whose drivers I had to say: “I’m not riding with you. You need to figure that out. And not kill others in the process.” I have no patience for even the opportunity of that.
In case you’re curious, when you have an incident with an unlicensed and uninsured driver who skips town, your insurance covers a small percentage of what your settlement might have been. And often times, as was the case with me, that’s where it ends.
Mar. 30th, 2006 at 3:00 PM
definitely the scariest moment of my life
Hope you’re ok..time to find a new biggerstaff?…perhaps one that isn’t so…statutory
i am currently awaiting a call from dr. f. hopefully she will tell me that i will not suffer severe injuries from last night’s accident. of course i am ever grateful that i & everyone on my car is alive & generally well, but if she tells me i have to get a cast or that i have to limit myself to zero physical activity for the rest of the academic year, i will be severely depressed & unhappy.
i’ve never been so shaken. last night i came home & practical mayka e-mailed everyone that i was supposed to meet with today to let them know that no such meetings would be taking place. then crazed mayka stripped and crawled into bed. & hysterical mayka cried & screamed & wailed for what must have been 20-30 minutes. flashes of me alone without any significant other made me shriek out “there’s no one!” then a bit of rational mayka reminded me of the fact that i am surrounded by terrific friends. then dramatic mayka realized that i almost caused the loss of one of my most terrific friends. if i had not tried to turn & miss the white station wagon, lilac & i would have been gone, & that just made me wail more. even yogi knew something was up. he wouldn’t come near me when i got out of my mom’s car. he came upstairs to see what was making all that noise, & he would only come close enough to lick my fingers & back away.
i am in pain & i was at my worst, but in some ways my little catharsis served as a release. who knows what i haven’t cried about in the last year? i actually can’t recall when the last time was that i cried, which probably speaks volumes more about my mind & body’s need to let it all go.
i’m sure you’d like to ask, “what happened?” but how about you only ask me that question if we are friends enough to the point of you already having my phone number? there’s no glamour in rehashing this out to my own journal over & over again, & please don’t leave me sympathy comments. in the end, all most people basically want to know is how big the accident was. well, rest assured that it was a two-car collision. & for my own sense of redemption, it was completely the other driver’s fault.
right now i want offers from every school internship that i applied to. [i hear from them tomorrow.] i want to learn that my injury-healing will only require rest. i want to get back into school fully emotionally stable. & i want a nice, wonderful guy to protect me. i don’t think i have ever had one of those. not 100% not mine not ever. & i don’t think i want this stupid fucking crush. it is completely wrong that he even came up in my mind while i was in full-on hysterics.
advanced modern iii
“anything but a tango”
i at least attracted interview interest from each of the institutions i applied to. one even called my resume “remarkable.”
i got all As & one A- this quarter, so that’s pretty dope. 24 units, biatch.
i talked to my dad for the first time since february.
& i think i’ll figure out how to deal with my mom.
i should be okay.