So yesterday, on the way back from Stop & Shop, the kid in front of me in the small blue car thought the guy coming from our left on Farm Hill Road was going to turn right onto Russell Street, which we were on. If the guy on the left had done so, he would have passed our left sides, moving in the opposite direction from us on Russell Street, and the kid and I would have made our cool right turns onto Farm Hill Road. Simple maneuver, right? Not.
Unfortunately, the guy on our left had his right turn signal on, indicating he'd be making the turn and staying out of our way, but then at the last moment for some reason he decided to continue going straight on Farm Hill Road, across our path, so the kid in front of me stopped suddenly, right after he had made a false start forward. I was, thus, "suckered" into moving forward and not being able to stop my 1998 Subaru Outback Station Wagon, color maroon, about 156,500 miles on the odometer, from rear-ending the young guy's little blue car.
See photos at end of this blog post showing the damage to the cars, the roped-up repair of the other guy's car, and the scene of the crime.
I was quite surprised that there was any impact at all. My mind was on the dancing I planned to do that evening, after the Pilates class I planned to go to at Vinnie's Jump and Jive on Main Street. Jeff Hush and Lucia de Leon were giving the class. Lucy (she typically calls herself either Lucy or Lu) had called me earlier in the afternoon, while I was sunning myself on the rock I love on the east side of Miller's Pond in Durham, to tell me she and Jeff and their Indonesian woman musician friend would be going with me to the documentary movie at the Freeman East Asian Studies Center that evening about the Mongolian music group "AnDe" which I saw perform live last Friday night at Crowell Concert Hall at Wesleyan before I went dancing at the Mezzo patio and disco.
I may also have been thinking more about the telephone call I got right after I got out of the water at Miller's Pond, before Lucy's call, from the new State's Attorney for the Judicial District of Waterbury, Connecticut. Maureen Platt Tinicum returned my call earlier in the day about where I should send the check for Tim Liston's retirement bash at the Inn at Middletown in early November. "Where are you Bob right now, the cell seems a bit weak." I told Maureen, whom I (if memory serves) had beaten at a DWI jury trial years ago when she was just one of the new young lower court prosecutors here in Middletown at the G.A. 9 courthouse.
Maureen was recently appointed to the very prestigious position of head prosecutor for the very urban, gritty, and often politically corrupt town of Waterbury, where Gov. John Rowland is from (he went to jail for a year for corruptly selling out his gubernatorial office) and where former Mayor Giordano was convicted of having sex with minor female children, under age 10, of a prostitute he knew when he was in private criminal law practice before he became mayor, IN the mayor's City Hall office, on he carpeted floor while Mother watched. Maureen is not a tall woman, but she is one tall order when it comes to the courtroom. I've seen her on trial in the infamous State vs. Heather Specialski (sp?) case, with none other than Jeremiah "Young Abe" Donovan for the defense.
That was a multi-week criminal jury trial involving the "simple" question, was Heather driving her drunken lover's Mercedes when the driver lost control right where Route 9 north enters Route 91 north, or was her lover, the Italian-American son of a prominent restauranteur, driving? Not quite as "simple" a verbal formulation as "to be or not to be, that is the question," but you get the idea. The case became known in the national media as "the blow-job case." Whoever was driving, when he or she lost control (of the car, I'm talkin' 'bout now), the male lover was thrown out of the Mercedes and his dead body was found by the EMTs with his pants down around his ankles. The trial involved Maureen and Jeremiah throwing competing expert testimony of accident reconstruction engineers, from all over the country, at the jury. The experts disagreed, as paid whores, I mean, reasonably compensated experts are wont to do, about whether the decedent's injuries were or were not consistent with him being the driver of said fancy-dancy automobile. Now in the pre-trial stage, when Jeremiah Donovan was talking to the press about the case, he famously suggested that the reason the decedent male had his pants around his ankles was that when he was driving the car, his girlfriend, the defendant, Heather S., was performing on his male member a certain sexual act, which will go unnamed in the same way that Ross Perot's famous remark about the sucking sound that can be heard as American jobs would be moved down Old Mexico Way if NAFTA were approved, will not be named in this "Bob's blog" post, to keep it all R-rated at worst.
Anyway, Maureen told me the details about the check for Tim Liston's retirement dinner. Then I told her I'd seen her at John Cashmon's wake but hadn't had a chance to discuss with her a proposal I'd made at the wake to the current Chief State's Attorney for the entire state of Connecticut, Kevin Kane, whom I've known for 35 years, since I first started practicing and went every day to the criminal lower courthouse on Court Street in Middletown and negotiated pleas with Kevin Kane when he had the prosecutorial position which John Cashmon had before John committed suicide following a DWI arrest just a few short weeks ago.
At the wake, I told Kevin Kane of my own suicidal depression last year and my recovery this year. I told him I thought I had a lot to tell lawyers who secretly suffer from depressive feelings, about how they can survive the feelings, change their lives, and be happy again. "Kevin, if my talking to prosecutors about this very serious threat to the lives of people who suffer from depression could help even one of them get help and turn his or her life around and be happy again, I would feel that my own wish to kill myself would have even more redemptive value, not just for me, in that it was the necessary precursor to all the wonderful changes which have been happening in my life, but for that other lawyer."
While Kevin gave me his card, he seemed to hold his thoughts about my proposal close to the vest. Maureen, however, maybe because she's a woman, although one tough cookie as a prosecutor and trial lawyer, was very sympathetic to the experience I endured with my own depression, and thankful that I was willing to share that experience to help others. "Bob, I'm really glad you're going to help celebrate Tim Liston's retirement. I know he'll be happy it won't be just prosecutors and cops, but real practicing defense lawyers like yourself who want to celebrate his work life and give him a great send-off for HIS new life."
Interestingly, the Mezzo Grille, where I dance several nights a week, is right next to the old lower court courthouse where I first knew Kevin Kane, Maureen Platt, and John Cashmon, and across the street from the present courthouse which is at 1 Court Street, just across DeKoven Drive and CT Route 9. The connection between crime and dirty dancing and life-transforming changes and new-found energy sources.
All this was on my mind as I moved forward and the right front corner of my Outback Wagon hit the right side of the rear bumper on the small blue car ahead of me. I immediately turned off my car, got out, and went over to the other driver and passenger to see if they were hurt so I could call an ambulance if they needed one. They did not. The impact was minor and looked like just a scuff-mark on my bumper, large but just a scuff mark.
The other car, however, had a blue bumper which now had its right side detached from the car's right rear corner, lying on the road. I suggested we turn right on Farm Hill Road and pull into the next intersecting road to the north, Plymouth Street. There we surveyed the damage to his car. It was obviously an old car, I think he said a 1989 whatever. There was bad rust all over it, and the rear bumper came off from the minor impact with my bumper because the fittings which held his bumper on were all rusted out.
"We can turn this over to my insurance company if you want, although I'm sorry to say the liability for this accident rests totally with the guy who signaled a left turn but then failed to complete it. You then, totally understandably of course, stopped suddenly after starting to make your right turn, and I naturally rear-ended you. Are you guys okay by the way? Any injuries? Oh that's good, I'm mostly glad you're not hurt in any way. No neck pain, no back pain, nothing, right? You're sure? Because if you're feeling any pain, any at all, I'll get right on the cell and call 911 to get Hunter's Ambulance out here, put you both on back boards, tie you all onto the board, take you to the hospital, and of course you having nothing better to do this evening than lie on a stretcher at Middlesex Hospital ER, waiting four or five hours while the understaffed medical team deals with real injuries." It was clear the young men, in their early twenties, wanted nothing to do with ambulances, ERs, and waiting for Team Triage to examine and release them, quicker than catch and release at Miller's Pond.
Once I established that the blond driver with the piercings and tattoos had paid only $500 for his piece of sh-t little car, I told him that my carrier, if he even wanted to get it involved, would total the car out and give him, if anything (given the liability problem in any claim against me), a very small amount of money. If he wanted to get the bumper repaired, he'd have to get the car re-inspected at the DMV, because of the accident, and the DMV inspector would insist he get a lot of other problems on the car repaired before he could re-register the car. This prospect interested this young lad even less than it would if he desperately required the extraction of severely impacted wisdom teeth and I were offering to remove them using the old pliers which can be found in the back of my Outback next to the spare tire. Without anesthetic. And without a DMD after my name, after the JD I still have from my former career as a trial lawyer.
So I made a suggestion, which the lad brightened when he thought about its simplicity and beauty. "Why don't I drive over to the Cash True Value down the street and buy you, from my own funds, some clothesline rope so you can tie that sucker back onto your lovely little car and get you back in your wheels and on out to East Hampton lickedy-split. Then, if you paint the rope the same color as the car, the cops will never know you didn't get the bumper fixed at a Genuine US-Made-and-Installed-by-Union-Workers body shop. As I talked, my tone must have mesmerized the boy, much as Circe or was it Calypso did Odysseus when that boat driver was so enchanted by the Hot Goddess that he stayed an extra few years in romantic dalliance on the Aegean isle before leaving to return to his One True Love, Penelope.
After taking several photos of the damage to my car and the boy's, I shook hand, wished him luck, and told him I liked him so he could certainly keep the rest of the clothesline, which cost me $5.39 including tax, at the Cash True Value.
Truly, the cash value of this true story is less than $5.39 including tax, but it gave Your Faithful "Bob's blog" Full-O'-Blarney Blogger more than that paltry sum in pleasure.
Because I'm writing this blog post at McDonalds, where I've gotten my free refill ($1.06 for the small, the medium, or the large Newman's Own Organic coffee), I don't have access to the photos of the car damage, the boy, his passenger, and me. I'll add them later, when I get back from dancing at the Jazz on the River and the Mezzo patio (if the rain holds off between 10 p.m. and closing--tonight only 1 a.m.).
Damage to my right front corner
Beginning the fix of the other guy's rear bumper
He's tryin' to figure out how to lasso that thang
Is the passenger guiding the rope-fix or takin' care of his own bidness?
"This is a heck-uv-a lot more complicated than I thought!"
"Hm-m, shall I use a cross-hitch or a bow-line-pretzel knot?!"
The Dude Approves, yo'!
OMG, The Dude better make a run fer' it before this guy gets smart and sues me for all I got!
The Scene of the Crime