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Why Yesterday Was a Bad Day

R. and I had gone out to have lunch at a place near my office; I’d walked and met him there, but he’d driven since he was planning on running errands after lunch. Both of us were already grouchy, as things just weren’t going terribly well for either of us, but we had a good lunch, and afterward he offered to drive me back to the office. Being fundamentally lazy, and in southern California, I naturally said yes.

As we walked back into the parking lot, a big black SUV was pulling slowly through the lot, slowly enough that we had to stop and wait for it to go by. That’s not the weird part. The weird part is that there was a guy jogging alongside the SUV, a guy who clearly knew the driver, who was trying to open the passenger door and saying, “Dude, you have to let me in.” The driver was having none of it, apparently, and just kept creeping on out of the parking lot. R. and I watched this spectacle go by and looked at each other. “I wonder what that was about,” R. said.

We walked on back to where R. had parked my car, and as we were about to climb in, an older gentleman parked a little ways away came toward us and asked if that — the car we were climbing into — was our car. I said yes, increasingly perplexed.

“Was that dent in your fender there before now?”

Um, no. No, it wasn’t. And it wasn’t so much a dent as a gash. The guy told us that he and his wife had seen that SUV — the one that just pulled out of the parking lot and was now gone — hit my car and then drive away without leaving a note.

Why, however, yesterday wasn’t as bad a day as it could have been:

Because the man and his wife had taken down the license plate number of the SUV, along with its make and model, and gave us their names and phone number besides, in case they needed to serve as witnesses. Because the Claremont PD, apparently having nothing else to do yesterday, showed up within three minutes of R. calling them. Because the license plate number that the couple had taken down checked out, and because when the police showed up at the driver’s door, he apparently fessed up and gave up his insurance info.

That said, yesterday was still on balance a Bad Day. Here’s hoping that today improves. I’ve still got to follow up on the requisite paperwork and legwork necessary to get the car repaired. And I’ve got several thoughts about CMSs, electronic publishing, scholarly blogs, and the like that I’d rather be thinking (and writing) about instead.

[UPDATE, 11.13 am: Turns out that the actual resolution of the police-and-driver part of this story was a bit premature; we got a message late yesterday that made it sound like it was from the driver’s insurance company, following through on the incident, when in fact it turned out to be from a division of my insurance company, following through on the claim I set in motion yesterday afternoon. As I told them, I’m holding off on doing anything further until I hear more from the police, because I’d really much prefer it if the driver’s insurance rates went up instead of my own. Grrrr.]


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