Jul 11 2007
After work last night, the roads of DC were harrowing, to say the least. Lyssa remarked that there would be a goodly amount of asshattery afoot, but I had no idea of just how right she was.. first of all, while driving Lyssa to dance class last night we came upon an unusual sight for northern Virginia: A white Pontiac at perpendicular angles to the rest of the road. The driver had somehow managed to get the front end of his car stuck in the ditch running alongside the road (they're a bit more common than you might expect for a reasonably affluent part of Virginia), with the rest completely blocking the oncoming lane of traffic. The windscreen had shattered, airbags were deployed, and the driver was half-in, half-out of the car and looking like he'd had one of the worst days of his life. As traffic was backed up, I got a pretty good look at the guy, and he appeared to be stunned though not injured too badly because he'd gotten the driver's side door open and there were signs that he'd walked around a bit before sitting back down. I don't know if he'd gotten broad-sided on the right-hand side or not because that would have meant stopping in traffic to look backward. I didn't see any police or the rescue squad (that's really what they call it down here) at the time.
I didn't grab any pictures, though I seriously thought about it.
Then, after dropping Lyssa off I'd doubled back to go to the local coffee shop to kill time until class was over and read a little, and was startled as I turned into the parking lot by a police car suddenly accelerating to cruising speed and nearly clipping the tail end of my car.
Then, no sooner had I parked and turned the engine off, an older gentleman (probably early 70's) in his car got smacked broadside by a middle-aged Chinese woman, bounced off of a parked delivery van, and then slammed into the front end of a late model station wagon with three kids in the back seat. I ran over to see what the situation was, and found that the driver's side door of his car was mangled beyond hope of opening it without a Milwaukee saws-all; the station wagon was in remarkably good shape, as was the front end of the delivery van. The interior of his car was in bad shape, though: The airbags went off, which tore most of the dashboard off and shattered the windscreen, and later on he complained that his legs and forearm were bothering him. I didn't get a good look at the car that went out of control because she'd manged to limp into a nearby parking lot, got out, and ran over.
I won't quote the invectives that he greeted the women with because they're better left to the imagination. Suffice it to say that he didn't think it was possible that she didn't see him, and expressed his point of view in some detail.
It was around this point that I realized that there wasn't much I could do, aside from call the police (along with everyone else) and generally stay out of the way. It took about ten minutes for the police, the rescue squad, and an ambulance to arrive at the scene. I'm fairly certain that the police car that arrived was the same one that nearly clipped me on the way in. Call it a hunch.
Thankfully, the rest of the night was relatively quiet and uneventful.