For my job, some times I have to be in areas that are a little rough around the edges. I get really annoyed when people dismiss my areas as "dangerous" or "ghetto," because they have a lot of really great people in them, and being from a poor area of town shouldn't mean you are alienated from great opportunities. That little speech aside, the reality of the situation is that I wouldn't want to be alone in these areas after dark--and I definitely don't leave my ipod in plain site on the car seat.
This friday, I was dropping some papers off in what is widely regarded as one of the worst areas in town, due to objective measures such as the number of murders per capita. I was tired and in kind of a shitty mood, and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there and go back to my office to hide with headphones on at my desk, maybe take in a game of "Angry Birds" while pretending to be in the toilet. You know, a typical friday. I was leaving the building after having dropped off the papers. I jumped in my car, and I was annoyed the find that people were loitering and milling around the parking lot, making it difficult for me to just back out and be done with it. How were there so many people not at work at 2pm on a weekday?! I started inching out at about 2mph, looking carefully, and then I heard a tiny clunk like my car had hit something. Now, because I said there were people standing around with their dicks in their hands in the parking lot, you may think that I hit someone. That was actually not my first thought. The sound my car made was so tiny, I honestly just thought I had hit a curb. When I looked though, there was a gold car behind me. Fuuuuuuck.
When I got out of the car, I apologized, which I am told was my first mistake. I wasn't admitting guilt, because we were both moving and its a parking lot, but years of education on etiquette and pleasantries completely crumpled my concept of insurance savviness. This is why I could never sit in interrogation and be like, "get me a lawyer," as the punks on Law and Order do. I'd instead give them my blood type, a list of my fears, and every time I've ever lied about being the one who farted. I'm not good with guilt.
I then looked at the damage to her and my car. The side of my car is already dented to shit because somebody hit me in a parking lot (in the same lovely area of town) and drove off without even leaving a note. Thus, I was not concerned about my car. When I looked at her car, there was a maybe two inch faint paint scratch, not even a ding or a dent, on her driver's side fender. I was ready to just say, "Eh parking lot, there's no real damage, we'll just take care of our own and be done," when she looks at me and says, "Oh this is gonna be EXPENSIVE." I was caught off guard by this. Was she looking at the same tiny paint scratch?
I went to go get my insurance information, feeling like I did as a kid when I ate a cookie before dinner, realizing it was not serious but also very full of shame. Adding to my unease, I had stupidly left my insurance information in my other wallet. That's when shit got real. I come out offering my number and promising I'll get my insurance information as soon I can look it up back in the office, and this lady gets in my face like, "Do you even have insurance?" Um yeah, it's sort of required by law. She proceeded to write down my license plate number, ask for a photo idea, and DEMAND that she call the cell phone number I gave her while I held my phone up so she could see it wasn't fake. She basically all but screamed in my face that I was a scam artist. I almost asked if she needed a urine sample. I was so distracted with my crippling catholic guilt that I forgot to do any of the things that could have protected me, like taking a picture with my cell phone of the microscopic scratch to prevent her from taking a sledgehammer to her car later or even getting her insurance information instead of just her name and phone number. Epic fail. I just have a bad feeling this is going to be a shit storm.
And I'm sure it's not great that I acted like someone whose guilty would act.