don’t make me be that guy
May 5, 2009
Last week I told you about waking up flat on my back in a gas station parking lot while paramedics cut my prized possessions off of me. According to the several witness statements, it happened a bit like this:
That’s State Street in Pleasant Grove, which must be a sister city to Golden Valley, where the Keebler Elves’ less desirable cousins live. I lived in Pleasant Grove at the time, and often rode my bike to work in Orem, about 6 miles south of my house.
I know that diagram, in all its glory, makes State Street look like the autobahn, but really, it’s no big deal. It’s six lanes, with a turning (chicken) lane in the middle, and very large shoulders where we cyclists can hang out. You know. To the right of that magic white line.
So as you can see from my very professional and descriptive diagram, I was just riding along, minding my business, heading to work. And, actually, that’s the last thing I remember.
What the several witnesses tell me happened is that the light in the intersection BEHIND me changed, and the traffic, heretofore stopped, was now not stopped, and a large delivery truck, the one so gloriously depicted in my diagram, swerved from that north bound left lane to beat the oncoming traffic and get to the gas station. Where I was.
I slammed into the passenger door, my head/helmet breaking the window, my flailing arm ripping the oversized mirror off, crumpling my helmet, my wheel, and the front of the frame. And then I woke up on my back.
And so the insurance adjuster for the delivery company comes to my office a few days later to discuss it. I tell him, dude, you don’t have to worry about me, I’m not one of THOSE guys, this should be really easy. Just replace my stuff and cover my medical bills. We’re good.
He smiled. But not one of those smiles that make you feel better. This was the other kind of smile.
“Well, my job is to decide what our liability it. You know, assign percentages of blame.”
But, but, your guy swerved across 4 lanes, right into me, while I was just riding along, on the shoulder of the road.
“Sure, but it’s never ALL one party’s fault. Maybe you should have been watching out more carefully.”
I shook him off. Dude, I said. My stuff, including my helmet, my bike, my messenger bag, my sweatshirt, can’t cost you more than about $1500.
“Oh, that stuff is separate. We don’t replace stuff. We decide how much you could sell it for today, and give you that.”
Wait, like my sweatshirt? You mean, you decide that I’ve had my sweatshirt for a year, and now I could sell it for $10 and that’s what you give me?
“You got it.”
And my helmet?
Okay, look, I don’t want to be that other kind of guy. I don’t want to retire on this, I don’t want the driver of the truck killed or anything. Just replace my dirt bag stuff and cover my medical.
He smiled that smile again. And now so did I, this time with HIS kind of smile.
In the end, I avoided spinal fusion surgery (against the surgeon’s advice, but since the prognosis was only like 50/50, I rolled the dice), and then bought a sparkling new minivan with the money his company gave me. Oh, and a new sweatshirt and helmet. My messenger bag I just had repaired. Don’t want to get too crazy. Cuz I’m not that guy.