So tonight I ran into another car. That is, I was driving and hit another car with my car. I didn't just punch a car or anything.
I was driving down Lancaster, a very commercial and ugly street here in Salem, and an SUV turned left out of the turn lane and right in front of me. As I slammed on my brakes, I remember thinking, "there's not enough room for him to do that." And I was right. Though I braked and swerved as much as I felt safe doing on that busy street, I still clipped their rear quarter panel right behind the wheel.
They continued on into the parking lot and I didn't want to block traffic so I pulled in behind them. This sucks but I know how to deal with it. What I don't know how to deal with is the fact that the SUV I hit then tore ass out of the parking lot and down a side street. I watched for a few seconds and then followed them. I also called 911 to report this very strange behavior. After I got the 911 operator (by the way, 911 operators in Oregon apparently answer the phone by saying, "Hello?" and then waiting a very long time for you to ask if you have, indeed, reached 911), I told her what happened and she had to ask me to clarify what I'd just said.
"You just stuck another vehicle?"
"And they drove away from the scene?"
"That's right, baby!" I didn't really call her baby, but I thought it. I also went on to tell her I was pursuing the jackass. She told me to stop. According to her, there's nothing wrong with being hit and leaving the scene of the accident. This seemed wrong to me, but I wasn't going to press the issue. She then asked me the make and model of the car and for the license plate number. I know none of these things. I am not the person you want to have as a witness at your trial, I'll tell you that.
I then just drove home. I was coming down from the adrenaline and I started feeling shaky and stiff. I'm feeling even more shaky and more stiff right now. I'm sure my muscles tensed up right before the collision. I know my sphincter clenched to the size of a purely theoretical particle.
After I got home, I called the police non-emergency number and went through the whole deal again. According to this operator, it is indeed wrong to leave the scene of an accident, even if you are the one that was hit. She also asked for the make, model, and license plate. I did no better for her than I had for the 911 operator. "it was an SUV; tan, maybe gray, possibly light blue?" And it's hard to get a license plate when a car is speeding away from you so fast you can make out the red shift. I gave her all my info and the info on our Saturn and she gave me a claim number to give to our insurance.
The good news is that I could drive the car after the accident. The bad news is the hood and the bumper and the right front quarter panel are toast. And who knows if there's been any damage to the frame or engine.
I just can't stop thinking about why they'd tear outta there. No insurance? Stolen vehicle? A kid driving mom and dad's car without permission?
All I know is the whole affair has left me sore and tired and not wanting to drive anywhere.
I was on my way to buy a Halloween costume, by the way.