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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

crash! boom! bang!


The first few days of being back at work has not been as horrible as I expected. Perhaps it's because I've begun to set boundaries for where anything work-related is allowed to affect me. Perhaps it's because I've slowly started to change my attitude towards my job.

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Anyway, late on Friday afternoon we were all exhausted after having suddenly had our noses back to the grindstone and twenty minutes before closing time the boss started packing up and told us to go home. I was really glad since a major storm had been approaching all afternoon and I was eager to get home and get the car under shelter, fearing hail.

I had to stop at the grocer to get some things and even though it was not too busy I ended up behind two senior citizens at the till who took their time unpacking their stuff. They even split the meagre merchandise into two piles and paid for those separately. As they finally loaded their trolley I could hear the rain starting to pelt down on the roof and my frayed nerves started fizzing.

Patience is cultivated. Asking for more of it results in an endless series of tests so that you can work on growing and harvesting.

Outside the rain became increasingly louder until it was deafening and the cashier and I had to shout to communicate. When I left the store it was coming down by the bucket and I couldn't even spot the car. People were huddled in the foyer, waiting for the storm to pass. I had a fair idea where I'd left the car and defiantly walked out into the deluge. Running wouldn't have made any difference; I was still thoroughly soaked when I reached it. Rivulets ran down my body and pooled onto the seat when I got in.

I loudly uttered a time-tested expletive as I tried in vain to use a dirty hanky to dry myself. There was nothing else for it; I started the car and reversed out of the parking, intending to get home as soon as possible. A driver two cars down had the same idea and was reversing out at the same time. I switched on the car's lights and the twat spotted me, pulling forward so that I could pass. I realised that I hadn't fastened my safety belt and paused to do that, still fuming at the moron in his huge 4x4 who'd almost driven into me. I hated the feeling of the belt across my soaked shirt but The One always reminds me to use it.

As the seatbelt clip clicked into place the car jerked backward. I looked up at and saw another guy that had turned a corner and driven right into me. The car rolled back a little and I hastily fastened the handbrake. I unfastened my seatbelt, unlocked the door and got out. The other driver got out as well and came round to my side. I was inspecting the damage when he started.

First he told me in no uncertain terms what his Chevrolet Aveo (number plate DW76BNGP) was worth. He raised his voice and said it wasn't even his car and that he was trying to sell it. He didn't give me a chance to respond and carried on, asking me what I was going to do to fix his fender. I suggested we move our cars out of the way since other cars were trying to get out but he refused. I said we should go to the police station to report the accident but he said no. It was still raining so I got back in the car, lowering the window so that I could still speak to him. That really enraged him and he plucked open the door. I managed to shut and lock it, keeping quiet as he raged on about how rude I was.

Meanwhile the rain stopped and the sun came out. The elderly couple from before appeared and serenely got into their car, identical to ours, driving off with a wave.

By this time I'd had enough of the verbal abuse by the cocky Nigerian who'd driven into me. I told him I'd see him at the police station, closed my window and drove off. Silverton Police station is only two blocks from where the accident happened and I was there within two minutes. I joined a long queue at the counter and phoned The One to tell him what had happened. My Nigerian friend didn't show up and I wondered.

I waited my turn but when I reached the officer and explained why I was there he told me that I would have to wait since he was going off duty in ten minutes and would not be able to complete the report before he had to leave. I asked if I could come back later instead of waiting and he said that would be fine.

Driving home I tried to emulate the way The One drives, with great success.

Together we inspected the damage. Thankfully only the front bumper, grille and number plate had suffered damage. We were able to bend a protruding part of the plastic(!) bumper into place and the damage was barely noticeable.

Working on Saturday morning, I only had a chance to go to the police station again after that. I joined another long queue but this time when it was my turn I was quickly assisted by a Sergeant Hlope who helped me to complete the required forms and we were done in no time.

Now, I'm not very well versed in how vehicle insurance works but I lodged a claim with our insurance company. They required me to take the car in for an assessment, which I did this afternoon. Apparently it will take three days for Auto & General to decide how much repairs will cost. If that amount is less than our excessive excess payment, they will close the claim and we can repair the car at our own cost.

Driving home from the assessor, the very same elderly couple drove past me. They didn't wave this time.

Written by I




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