Just in the event the readers of this post never had an accident, I feel like wasting everyone’s time to explain .
An accident is called an accident because one does not plan on it to happen. It ranges from picking up a hot plate with your bare hands, to changing lanes without turning your signal on well in advance of making the turn, or getting married to someone you trusted and thought you’d love forever, but darn it!!! 60% of us end up in divorce! Such events are called accidents because we didn’t plan on them happening to us, yet they did!
One of these happened to me a few days ago. I had a new GPS and turned my right signal on too late to avoid a minor car accident.
I stopped, assumed responsibility, took out my insurance card, license and registration and appologized over and over again!. The “victims,” were two women and I thought assuming responsibility and providing them with all the necessary information would be enough but it wasn’t. One insisted to call Police.
In the process of waiting, a few drivers screamed at us, and asked we pull in a parking lot before we cause another accident. I did, and reluctantly, the victims followed me. I did not drive away!
Police arrived and in a firm tone of voice the officer ordered me to go to my car so the victims could speak freely… I obeyed without questioning. I know better! After all, there was minor damage on both cars, I was guilty and had to accept humiliation, over and over again. I felt that for sure such accidents never happened to other humans and insurance companies were probably useless!
The officer was done with the victims and walked over to my car. I stated again, to the officer, I assumed responsibility.
Should I be paranoid and assume this is when he noticed I had an accent? Hmm… may be, but fact was, he started asking me a series of questions which I still do not understand how were they connected to the accident, but what do I know?
The Officer asked me where I was going.I told him, to X pharmacy. He asked why was I going to that pharmacy, which was further away and not to the one around the corner. He didn’t “buy” my first explanation and embarrassed, I had to disclose my financial status, and the fact that a cheaper grocery store was located behind pharmacy X which was further away. The officer seemed satisfied with the truth of my answer.
Meanwhile, another officer arrived at the scene of the accident and the first one left.
At this point I have to confess that although I have a B..A. in English and was a translator for over 8 years in a US Embassy and hold a Master’s in Clinical Psychology, I am still guilty of having an accent.
In all fairness, I lived in PA since 1981.I never felt my accent caused a problem.
“Where are you from? Is the address on your license your current address?” the Officer asked.
I explained in detail that I was born in Europe but had been living in PA since 1981. I worked here and raised a family here and am a US Citizen and published author. In fact I lived here longer than in my country of birth. That’s over 30 years.
I still fail to understand why a minor car accident triggered so many questions connected to my place of birth, why was I going to one pharmacy and not another, so I needed to confess I shop on a budget, at an outlet behind the Pharmacy X.
At the end of the conversation, the officer said:
“Welcome!” and handed me the accident rapport.
One of the first expressions I learned thirty years ago, was, “America is a Melting Pot.” And for thirty years I had no reason to question the truth of what makes our country the land of freedom and acceptance.of diversity.
I wonder if the people involved in this story and their families have a pot of their own and how do they keep it hot enough to accept that after all, we are a “melting pot,” This is what makes America the greatest country on Earth.
In conclusion, I decided to not allow the attitude of a handful to turn off the fire that heats up my pot and makes me love my country!
After all, it could be my imagination, he did say “WELCOME!” thirty years after I arrived and let’s face it, this is no small thing!