I always knew this parking lot was ripe for a car accident. I’m just glad it wasn’t me.

A few minutes ago I was walking out of Ace Hardware carrying a replacement air filter for the one I hadn’t changed in, um, over a year. (I like my air dusty!) That’s when I saw the green van creeping down the aisle of the parking lot and the white car slooooooowly backing toward the van’s side door. I cringed and stopped right in the middle of the road (real smart, Jennette), hoping the white car would stop, stop, PLEASE STOP! Then I heard that familiar CRUNCH sound like an aluminum can being squashed. (Yeah, it was all too familiar. Blame my 17-year-old self. And my 29-year-old self, too.)

It’s rather horrible to know something bad is about to happen but to have no way of stopping it. I really feel for people in movies about time travel who can’t stop airplane crashes or the deaths of loved ones. I guess they can’t stop minor fender benders either or stop you from misplacing your keys.

When the driver of the van got out of her car, I asked her, “Are you ok?” because my mother told me that’s the first thing you should say to someone after a car accident. It makes you look caring and concerned for the other person’s well being even if you don’t give a shit because they just plowed into your car. The last thing you should say is, “Sorry, it was my fault,” even if you’re pretty sure it was your fault. You shouldn’t give them anything to use against you in case it actually wasn’t your fault. You should always file an accident report too so there’s official documentation on what happened and whose fault it was. (I admit I have only done this once even though I’ve been in, um, more car accidents than I’d like to admit, though half of them were with inanimate objects.) If someone asks you not to file a report or promises to just pay you back for damages, do NOT do it because they are a lying jerk and will rip you off like they did to a friend of mine.

Van Lady was all right because it’s basically impossible to get injured by a car traveling 3 miles per hour. Van Lady and Car Lady then got into an argument in which Car Lady said, “Why do you have to be so hateful?” Uh, because you just backed into her van, dumbass, and will now cost her hours of her life filling out paperwork and getting the vehicle fixed. They started yelling at each other and I recognized that they were escalating the situation because I’ve watched every episode of Flashpoint. (I love using the word “escalating” in this context. It makes me feel fancy.) I kind of wanted Enrico Colantoni to step in and help them work it out. Instead I walked over to the coffee shop across the mini-mall because my car was now blocked from getting out of its parking space. I thought about leaving my contact info as a witness, but it was clear whose fault it was. The van couldn’t exactly slide sideways into the car that was pulling out. And I really didn’t need to involve myself in this shit.

Anyway, I hate this parking lot and I’ve always suspected I would one day get into a car accident here. I still might, but I’m glad the one I witnessed happened to people who aren’t me. I am a wonderful human being in that way.

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
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Nicky at Not My Mother • November 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Oh dear! So glad it wasn’t you in the fracas.

An interesting* factoid about driving here in Australia, if you have an accident where someone is backing out of a car park, then it is automatically deemed to be their fault even if the backee was hooning along at a stupid rate, because it’s their responsibility when entering traffic.

(I learned this when someone backed out of a car park into the side of my car, when I was hooning along at a sensible pace but possibly not paying quite as much attention as I should have been.)

Oh, and here you should NEVER admit liability in the discussion of a car accident because if you do then your insurance company will not pay out for you.

The things you learn afer you need them. Oh and remember to write down their number plate, dumbass.**

* depending on your definition of the word
** ahem, that would be me.

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Jackie • November 3, 2011 at 4:12 am

I think I know which parking lot you’re talking about. Whenever I park there I park far from the other cars near Food Lion or Rite Aid and walk to wherever I need to go. I never park in the area near the Post Office and Subway. Like you said it’s ripe for an accident. Just way too crowded and no one looks where they are going. Glad your car wasn’t involved.

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Jackie • November 3, 2011 at 4:52 am

Disregard the previous comments. I forgot about the Starbucks near the other True Value. Pretty sure now you’re talking about the one near Trader Joe’s and that one is tightly packed. Though I’ve found it can be fairly empty around 3 o’clock or so when Moms are busy getting kids off the school bus.

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JenFul • November 3, 2011 at 12:45 pm

@Jackie – No, your first guess was right. My PO Box is at that post office, so I park there more than I’d like to. And the parking lot outside Trader Joe’s is CRAZY. There are always tons of people walking back and forth and several cars moving around at the same time, all in a pretty small space.

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Jackie • November 4, 2011 at 11:07 am

I’ve seen several accidents in that parking lot near the PO. That’s my nearest shopping center so I’m down there quite a bit. Have you tried Yopop?

And don’t get me started on the parking lot at Harris Teeter in Carrboro!

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JenFul • November 4, 2011 at 12:45 pm

@Jackie – Yopop is great! They confused me a bit when they changed their name from Green Leaf, but the new name is better. And yeah, that Carrboro parking lot is KRAZEE. Especially on a Saturday when all the spaces are full.

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Annie oakley • November 7, 2011 at 1:12 am

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Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, chronic headache sufferer, (former?) weight-loss inspiration, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She was formerly known as PastaQueen. You can contact her if you promise to be nice.

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