If The Accident Doesn’t Kill You, These Random Busybodies Will

, , , , , | Legal | June 28, 2020

This happened a few years ago when I was still in my twenties. 

I drove home from work on a sunny afternoon. Just next to a cafe on the main road with heavy speed regulations, I got involved in an accident together with three other cars.

In front of me were two cars, and we all were going at slow speed — 50 KmH — as is usual in closed villages. Right after a curve in front of the cafe, the first car, all out of the blue, went to a full stop without slowing down first or indicating anything. They just hit the brake fully without any reason; the street was clearly empty.

Both the car right in front of me and I managed to slam the brakes and stop in time. But only barely so. You could only manage to get a sheet of paper between our bumpers, and despite the slow speed, we’d both managed to leave skidmarks and you could hear our tires screeching on the asphalt.

My heart was pounding and I sank forward against the steering wheel, relieved I hadn’t run into the car in front of me. The next moment, another car slammed into mine from behind and rammed it into the car in front. I was forcefully thrust against my headrest when the car impacted, then forward into my steering wheel when my car was thrust upon the one in front of me, the safety belt doing nothing to prevent that. I’m lucky the airbag didn’t open.

The very moment the last car shoved us together, the first car that caused all this ruckus by stopping for no reason sped off into a side road and was gone, leaving marks on the asphalt from speeding up.

Feeling fuzzy, I got out of the car and looked around. The driver who had crashed into us was in a nervous frenzy. He continuously excused himself. It was clear the accident shocked him.

“I’m so sorry,” he exclaimed. “I think I was going too fast. I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry! I didn’t see you! I’m so sorry,” he repeated like a broken record on and on.

I was still dizzy, standing on the side, completely useless. The driver who was in front of me looked around and immediately called the police while two women who were sitting outside of the cafe came over and watched.

The police there mere minutes after the call. They must have been just one street over when they were called and they immediately started taking notes as soon as they got out of the car.

A female officer talked to us and told us we would be able to give account, one after the other, while her male colleague took photos of the street, the tire- and skidmarks, the cars, and everything else.

A waitress from the cafe came out and offered cold water to all of us, which we were very grateful for.

First, the officer talked to the driver who slammed into us from behind. He never denied anything, constantly saying sorry and scribbling his insurance info on little pieces of paper to hand to the other driver and me.

During all that, the two women from the table started to glare at me while the other officer finished taking pictures and started to talk to the man who was in the car right in front of me. 

When the officer turned to me, they chimed in before she could say anything, “We’ve seen everything very clearly! We know exactly what happened!”

They looked and sounded very annoyed and immediately started giving a very confusing report of the accident, constantly talking over each other. They didn’t say anything wrong, but it was clear that somehow they had the opinion that the accident was my fault, because I’d come to a halt so close to the front car. They made no secret of their opinion that the poor guy, who already admitted to being at least 20 KmH too fast and distracted by his radio, should only have shared responsibility because of me keeping too little distance.

The officer took the contact info of the women and notes of what they were saying, but got clearly annoyed the longer the two ranted on, and finally, she cut them short.

“You don’t have it right,” she said. “Regulations say that as long as she manages to stop without hitting the car, the distance is enough! The driver who hits is the driver who’s responsible. She has to keep one second or fifteen metres apart in town, and if she hadn’t done that, she couldn’t have stopped in time.”

With that, she turned to me to take my contact information and statement. I’d not said a single word so far since the accident, and the whole ordeal had only taken about twenty minutes so far. I still couldn’t believe everything was happening so fast. Without any reason apparent to me, both women glared at me with full hatred now. 

Before the officer could say anything more to me, one of them started another try to shift blame to me: “You know, officer, I’m not so sure anymore that she really stopped in time. I think she bumped the other car just a little.”

The officer turned around to them again and looked as if she was about to explode.

All of a sudden, the other officer chimed in, “Excuse me, ladies, but that’s not at all possible. I’ve just talked to this gentleman here and he clearly stated that he saw her stopping right behind him and didn’t hear or feel anything crashing or bumping into him before the other car hit them. And even if it happened that he couldn’t recall that, the tire and skidmarks very clearly show what happened here. So, if you change your statement now, that would be a false claim and a crime. Just trying to inform you before you do something stupid.” He smiled at them wickedly.

“So, she gets away with this!” one woman exclaimed, just to get stopped by the female officer again. She had calmed down a little but still looked angry.

“That’s all, thank you,” she said.

The woman tried again, but her friend had caught the clue and tugged at her sleeve and they walked away. Both shot me another hateful look.

I was close to tears by now. My body ached, I felt dizzy and sick, and for the love of God, I had no idea what motivated them.

The female officer took my contact info and a short statement. She curtly nodded at me, gave her colleague a thumbs-up, and walked away to their car to radio in. She sounded and looked extremely angry the whole time. Her colleague saw me shaking and carefully led me back to sit down next to the police car on a chair the waitress had also provided and where the two others were already sitting and waiting.

“Do you know those two?” he asked me and I could only shake my head. “And you?” he asked the responsible driver who had been next to us the whole time, and he just looked bewildered and shook his head, too.

Then, he looked back to me and sighed. “Don’t worry,” he said to me. “This has been the most obvious accident in my whole career. The front driver even remembered the license number of the car who stopped in front of you — no idea how he managed this — and at least you’ve been hit by a gentleman who owns up to his mistakes. Nothing will happen to you.” He encouraged me with a friendly clap to my shoulder and a smile.

Even his colleague now managed to give me a smile while she called towtrucks and an ambulance since I felt so dizzy. The other driver still kept apologizing almost incoherently now.

It turned out later when we phoned about insurance that he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt and got a concussion from hitting his steering wheel too hard.

Everything turned out fine. The hospital told me there was only a very mild impact on my head and most of my dizziness came from staying too long in the sun after the fright I’d experienced, and after a few days, I was right as rain.

The insurance of the other guy paid with no quarrel, and I found a new used car even better than my old one. When I got back to the cafe to thank the waitresses for their kindness, I got a nice slice of free cake on top, and I never heard anything back from the police.

All in all, for having such an accident, I was still lucky.

But to this day, I have no idea what motivated two complete strangers to pour so much hatred on me, and why they decided I of all people should take shared responsibility for something I had absolutely no control over.

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This Student Is Not Paralyzed By Fear!

, , , , , , | Learning | June 28, 2020

I’m in the third grade, about eight years old, and due to birth defects, I have to use a wheelchair. 

Not only am I fairly independent, but I’m a bit of a daredevil. I’m not one to stay on the asphalt playing four square or tetherball; I love the monkey bars.

We have a new teacher as a playground monitor, and she seems to think of me as a delicate flower or something. It’s the first day of school, and at recess, my friends help me wheel over the grass to the monkey bars.

Cue the playground monitor running at full speed, blowing her whistle, and yelling at me to get down before I get hurt.

As she arrives in a panic, we explain that I climb all the time. One of my friends tells her, “Even if [My Name] falls, he’s not going to get paralyzed-er.”

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Not Likely To De-Ice This Relationship

, , , , , | Romantic | June 27, 2020

This began around the end of last year. We were de-icing the stairs at work before the ice storm our weather people told us about. My coworker decided he was going to tell me that he wanted to date me. I instantly rejected him because I have a boyfriend and we’ve been together for five years. He then told me that he kept inviting me places to get to know me and “just hang out” with a beautiful girl. Cue discomfort. I thought it was the end of that after I told him I wasn’t interested in him at all ever.

A couple of months later, I think around January 11th, we were out early in the morning to shovel wet snow that hit us. Our maintenance supervisor couldn’t really help us at that time because he was watching his kid, so my coworker and I were alone again. By the time we finished shoveling the snow, we were exhausted. Our snowblower stopped working again, and then we had to use actual shovels to move the snow.

We were writing down our times when he asked me out again. I told him he needed to learn how to take no for an answer when we were arriving at our HQ, because he’d apparently asked me to dinner and I’d agreed the day before. I don’t remember this, and I took it back if I did, because I was going to see my boyfriend again that same day after we finished work.

He went quiet for the whole time it took us to write down our times and then go back to our maintenance garage to put everything away. He then decided he was going to tell me I had no future with my boyfriend all because he doesn’t have/want a job. (Spoiler alert: neither do I. I’m working because I need money for supplies.)

I thought that was the end of it when I ignored him for the rest of the months, unless it involved work, up until a month ago. He was trying to get with some girl, so I figured it was safe for me to be friendly again and increase the efficiency of the workplace. Well, the girl ghosted him, and now he’s turned back to me for “friendship”. 

So far, I’ve turned down all his offers to hang out or eat lunch with him. I plan on telling him, fully, to back off because it’ll never happen if he asks if I want to date or go somewhere with him again. He’s already making small remarks about my boyfriend when I bring him up, which shows how much he hates that I’m dating someone. Maybe when I find a new job, I’ll give you an update.

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Not Exactly The Soundest Counsel

, , , , , , | Learning | June 27, 2020

It was just before our final exams in school. In my country, you appear for these exams under a certain state or national “Board,” and these marks determine if you clear cutoff for colleges. The higher your marks, the higher your chances of getting into a good college, unless you have to sit for competitive exams.

Our stress was through the roof, all students studying harder than ever to either clear the Board exams or competitive exams because these would determine what our lives would be like. 

It was during this time that I had a severe heartbreak. A guy I used to like rejected me, then went on to have a friends-with-benefits relation with his previous crush who had rejected him. Worse even, this girl was one of my best friends; she had pestered me to share my sadness with her secretly, only to go and spill them all to my crush. They didn’t get into a relationship, which made it worse for me.

Meanwhile, I had to study for my exams and manage school events and ECAs, as I was the Head Girl and the sole one in my position.

Things got worse when my subordinate, the Deputy Head, left his post following some personal reasons. My crush — who was also a great friend until all this — made fun of my appearance and I got extremely lonely. The Friend-With-Benefits even went on to have some action (nonsexual) right in front of me. 

Basically, I was miserable.

So, I went to my school counselor, who also holds an important position in the school authority. We had worked together in organising many events. She also taught us Psychology. She had done many shrewd and outright b**** things, but she was the only one I could share my concerns with.

I wanted to tell you that I’ve been feeling very lonely lately,” I explained. “I’m sitting among my friends, yet I don’t feel like I belong there.”

Mind you, all the people I sat with are great friends even now.

“Now, now, you don’t come to school to talk to friends, do you?” the counselor asked.

“I mean, they are a very important part of my school experience,” I said. “I do look forward to their presence.”

“You are making a mistake,” she insisted. “You come to school to meet your friends. Recently your grades have gone down. You are doing poorly.”

There wasn’t any way she could tell that. We hardly had any tests before we went on study leaves.

“If you want good marks, you have to work hard,” she continued.

Then, she uttered the worst set of words she could come up with.

“If you want to score above 95%, get rid of your friends.”

I was horrified. These friends meant life to me. We did almost everything together, even walking back home together. We even got so late that at first our parents worried. But then, all the parents knew and even chatted amongst each other while waiting for us.

Apart from these friends, I had almost no one. I was already having trouble with two friends thanks to crushes gone wrong. Now, the counselor wanted me to get rid of all of them. I wanted to score well, but not at the cost of my mental health.

Needless to say, I ignored her advice. I could settle for a mere 80% but not lose my mental peace. Later, it turned out that I had anxiety and depressive phases, and my friends actually helped me through it.

Fast forward to the very exciting and nervous result day. I drew up my result, and it turned out, I topped my class, scoring more than 95%, actually, with full marks in two subjects — all this without losing even one friend. By then, I had already made up with my ex-crush and his fling and was seeing another guy. 

We went to collect our results and all the teachers congratulated me. The counselor came up, ignored me for some time, and then looked at me.

“I expected you to do better,” she said before walking off.

We went rolling on the ground hearing what she’d said.

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Becoming The Butt Of An Insult-To-Injury Situation

, , , , , | Healthy | June 27, 2020

My dad served in Vietnam between 1969 and 1972. During this time, he saw many of his fellow soldiers injured.

One drew the lucky straw in a firefight and wasn’t fatally injured. The bullet went in one side and out the other side — of his buttocks.

While he was laid up in the hospital, my dad and a few friends visited him.

They all very solemnly entered the guy’s hospital room and very seriously informed him that the doctors had told them that the patient’s bottom was going to have to be amputated due to the injury.

But they were going to get him a nice wooden replacement from the resident local crafters, all shiny and polished, with a belt to hold it on. And they might even be able to afford a pink plastic one for Sundays!

About that time, the patient cottoned on that this was a prank.

Dad and his friends managed to duck out before the bedpan hit them.

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