Saturday, September 18, 2004

Wanted: Patron Saint for the Accident-Prone

I pose a question to the world (at least in the web) - is there a patron saint for the accident prone? Is there a special prayer I should pray to keep myself, and my father's car, from harm?

I was sitting in World Topps Katipunan waiting for my friends when one of them called me up on my cellphone. She asked me to go to the parking lot because my car figured in an accident. What she was saying did not register on me, I told her that I parked my car already and that I was inside the restaurant. She calmly said that the poor innocent car got hit by someone's pickup truck as they were trying to park in that tiny parking lot.

That was my fourth car accident in a little over a year. The first was not my fault. A reckless driver hit the back of an owner-type jeep, causing it to topple over and land on the hood of my car, at the opposite lane of the flyover. Since it was raining and I was driving at 60kph while ascending the flyover, my car cushioned the flight of the owner jeep. Several brothers and my blood brother came to my rescue. In the end, I made that reckless driver pay me and the driver of the jeep in cold cash for all the damages sustained. Afterwards, I asked my father confessor to bless the car and to bless my driving. My car troubles did not end there.

The second accident was my fault. I wrote about it somewhere in this blog, archived on April 2004. My attitude upon getting out of the car was immediately to apologize to the family whose car I accidentally bumped into while I was reading a text message containing bad news. I admitted outright that I was driving while texting. Maybe I did that because my father confessor and Lingkod brothers and sisters were my passengers at that time. Or maybe I had gotten the hang of accident rules - how the guilty party should behave, how the aggrieved party should demand.

After these twin accidents, my friends from all over started calling me whenever they or their wives or boyfriends met car accidents. I became the authority on car insurance, police reports, affidavits, etc. Around this time my love story with the MMDA started too, but that's another sharing altogether. They loved to accost me and charge me with various offenses. Up to now I still can't recover from the series of encounters I had with their kind.

The third accident happened while I was riding my friend's car. As she was panicking, I calmly wrote down a statement which I made the other driver sign, admitting all liability on his part. I used my camera phone to take the necessary pictures. This was something I did not want to be an expert on, believe me, but I found myself knowing what to do and not needing help anymore, but being the one to extend help.

The latest accident which occurred a few hours ago irritated me because the kid (and I say this with the implied admission that teenagers now call me Ma'am and sometimes, like in this case, I think they should) who was driving a large pickup truck did not know how to respond to the situation. I heard no apology. He was trying to deny that he hit my car when I had around ten (10!) Lingkod brothers and sisters who witnessed the accident. They said to each other, "Patay ka, si Ella nabangga mo, sanay iyan."

The kid told me to move my car so we could see the damage. I told him to say "please". We inspected the damage. The kid, his friend, me, and the 10 Lingkod brothers and sisters. It was dark and my flashlight was running out of battery. I could not believe what was happening, so I told him I would get in touch with him the next morning after I inspect the damage further. Before leaving, however, I gave him a piece of my mind about his attitude. I told him that a driver who is at fault should take full responsibility. I told him he did not need to raise his voice at me. I told him that his demeanor so far showed no way to treat a lady. I sounded like a grandmother! But I so wanted to teach him a lesson. He looked like he could afford to pay the damages, if any. I did not want him to just pay and forget about it. In the end, he apologized profusely. Then we both entered World Topps.

Although I know that each accident brings lessons to all parties concerned, still I wish that my lessons would not damage the poor car. I cannot afford to buy a new car. I think the right front tire may have been misaligned. The bumper and side were scratched. What would my insurance agent say? That I'm accident-prone?

They say you are how you drive. I admit to having literally tripped and fallen all my life, but this applies only if I were driving. Now if the car was just parked there, innocently waiting for me to come back, why does it have to get hurt?

I know I need to pray about this. As my spiritual directress would ask, "What is the Lord telling you in this situation, Ella?" I have the answer, as always! And the answer is, "I have no idea".

No comments: