Old people are my kryptonite

Yesterday this 84-year-old guy in a Murano crosses over 2 lanes into my car.   I slammed on my brakes when I realized he was coming at me, but I wasn’t quick enough & he bashed in the area over my passenger side front tire.

This is the 2nd accident I’ve ever been in.   The first was when some teenager from out of state ran a red light & clipped the back end of my car.   I was in college at the time, & she & her girlfriends begged me not to call whoever’s dad it was that owned the car.   She wrote me a check, which bounced, & moved back home to wherever it was she lived.   I ended up contacting her parents, who wrote me a new check, but it was such a headache.   I learned, from that incident, that one must always make a police report.

When we pulled over, the driver of the other car – we shall call him Mr. K – got out & after surveying the minimal damage to his car (a dent, 2 scratches) & the bashed in quarter panel of my car smilingly said, “I’ll take care of it.”   When I looked at him in confusion, he said that we didn’t need to call the insurance company or even the police; that he would just take care of his own damage & I would just take care of my own.   “Because, you see,” he said. “If we call the insurance company, you’ll be at fault because I had the right of way.   But we don’t need to do that, see?”   He & his wife were ready to get back into their car & leave when I said, “I’m sorry; can you wait just a minute?   I need to call someone for advice.”   Because I really was confused.   I am just not experienced in stuff like this.

I had been at a red light, waiting to turn left onto Kalanianaole Highway.   Mr. K had been across the intersection from me, waiting to turn right.   We were both heading to Hawaii Kai.   On the green I had turned left & entered the left lane.   Mr. K had turned right, crossed over 2 lanes, & would have come sideways into my car if I didn’t hit my brakes.   This was completely out of the intersection at this point.

I spoke to a cop friend, who said it didn’t sound like it was my fault.   I then called 911 & half an hour later a young officer arrived.   During that half hour I chatted with Mr. & Mrs. K, who were extremely pleasant.   Mrs. K wanted to know why I wasn’t married, since I was such a pretty girl, & when I explained that I had caregiven for my grandparents she praised me over & over again.   Mr. K told me about his weekly bowling activities with an Okinawan group & about their daughter & her dog that loves to eat Okinawan sweet potato.

They were like a dear uncle & aunt.   There was a part of me that kept considering how quick Mr. K had been to offer to not call the police or the insurance companies, but old people really are my kryptonite.   Threaten me with children & I am ambivalent.   But old folks?   I love old folks.   Maybe it’s from being an oldest child & growing up always with adults rather than my peers.   I’ve always liked old folks.   There’s a wholesomeness to them in my mind.

When the officer asked if we were going to call our insurance companies, Mr. K beamed at me.   I felt terrible.   I was replaying the accident over in my mind, & I didn’t think I was at fault.   However, this nice old man was trying to do me a kindness, even if it wasn’t really.   “I honestly don’t know who was at fault,” I said carefully.   I looked at Mr. K & I crumpled.   “But I would feel so bad calling your insurance company.   So we’ll see.   I don’t know.”

We all got back into our cars, saying goodbye & how it was nice to have met each other, & I drove away feeling utterly sad.   I felt that I absolutely couldn’t pursue this sweet old couple for repair costs, yet I had had some unexpected expenditures this month (mostly at the veterinarian’s) & I was pretty low on funds.   I had also been screwed out of some tips as well as shifts by my Tuesday night job (which I quit).   I decided that I would take my car to a shop, & if the repair cost was low enough I would just pay it myself without bothering Mr. & Mrs. K.   If it was expensive I would send them a copy of the invoice & explain to them why the accident was actually Mr. K’s fault & leave it to their own judgment to assist me or not.    I thought to myself that this world is just so litigious & greedy that if I had a chance to be kind to someone else I would.   However, I couldn’t shake the feeling of depression over the entire incident.   It just still seemed unfair.   And my poor car was hurt.

This morning I received a call from Mr. K’s insurance company.

That’s just rich.   That guy’s car hardly had any damage but he decided to call his insurance company on me after that whole song & dance.   I should have known; I even told KK last night on the phone that I hoped that guy wasn’t actually bullshitting me, because his generation is the very one that has the least amount of conscience about screwing people over – to them, it’s survival.

Well, that’s it then.   I was going to let you off the hook Mr. K, but now you can go fuck yourself.   I even drew a diagram of the accident, which I submitted to the insurance company today.   Tomorrow I am taking my car to their appraiser.

At this point in time I don’t know why Mr. K called his insurance, actually.   Maybe he thinks that whoever calls insurance first gets the upper hand.   But frankly, he should have just let me go on & be a martyr.   I’m glad he called his insurance company because I felt really sad about martyrdom.   Now I don’t have to do it.


5/12/2010 Update: I saw Allstate’s estimator on 4/23, who wrote my repairs up at just under $500 & persistently expressed to me his interest in getting married & having a ton of kids & following God.   I didn’t want to tell him I am Agnostic.   Also, he wasn’t my type.   Anyway, today Melissa from Allstate called me to say that after taking Mr. K’s statement & looking at maps & whatnot, they think that the majority of fault is mine.   They said they would like to investigate further & asked me to contact my insurance, which I did.   I can’t decide which I’m more of right now – incredulously confused or annoyed.

5/24/2010 Update: After getting my statement, the GEICO rep was unable to get Mr. K’s statement or even a return call from Melissa at Allstate for a week.   Based on the information I gave her, she submitted her decision declining responsibility.   She did tell me that when she spoke with Mrs. K on the phone, Mrs. K had said that I was such a nice girl & that she didn’t know how the accident happened but if they were at fault they should just pay it.   And so now I feel bad about ranting about Mr. K.   See how weaksauce I am.


8 responses to “Old people are my kryptonite

  1. Lauren, you are in luck. I have a copy of the Hawaii Driver’s Manual. Under “Turns and Curves”, it says, “Get into the proper lane for a turn well in advance. Turn from the traffic lane nearest the direction of the turn AND INTO THE NEAREST TRAFFIC LANE AVAILABLE.” He was supposed to turn into the right hand lane and not the left hand lane. There is nothing that says you have to yield to the other driver if he is also turning to drive in the same direction, only if he is moving straight ahead. Case closed.

  2. Your intention was good,but sounds like they were trying to play you from the get go. That man is probably in danger of losing his right to drive. He’s been driving longer than you have, so he should know better. Shame, shame!
    Good luck! I have been using Bert at ABC . Small operation, good work, I think you will like him….he reminds me of an uncle…located btwn King and S Beretania, on Artesian, close to McCully’s Zippy’s

  3. he may try to play the angle that you tried to convince HIM that it was best not to involve insurance companies, so good thing you involved a cop. Drivers in general in hawaii have no idea how traffic really works , best to immediately involve people who do and let them decide. I hope it turns out well for you..

  4. I actually can’t stand old drivers. I think they are a danger to others, as well as themselves. They should be eradicated from the road. I’m not a fan of lying cons either. Go get an ambulance chaser to go after these punk geezers.

  5. Speaking from experience, always ALWAYS file a police report, no matter how nice the people may seem or whose fault it was. It’s all about CYA!

    And as for the MS paint art, it doesn’t suck. I think it illustrates what happened perfectly.

  6. I must agree with DE, ALWAYS file a report. I too, speak from experience. The MS paint diagram is ready to take to court if you ask me. You are totally in the right in this case, and i’m sure your insurance company will agree. I can picture you actually feeling real bad for days after the incident. So Lauren of you. But I also have an idea of how mad you got when you found out that the old fogey called his insurance company. Great writing again, and awesome pics as well.

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