Car Accident in Vancouver

Last Sunday (7 June 1998), we finished moving Allison out of her basement suite, and into my apartment. This was for a few reasons: First and foremost, Allison was going in for exploratory surgery, and wanted to recupperate in a more comfortable environment (her basement suite was a little too cozy for her liking); I also wanted her to move in with me so we could be closer together (we were spending large amounts of time and money getting back and forth between our places), and hopefully save some money through less expensive rent.

We had to go back to her apartment to quickly clean it out (her landlords were pressuring her to make sure it was spotless, despite the fact that they had no legal right to do so), and so we could meet with Tyler, one of Allison’s best friends. When we finished, we made a quick dash back to my apartment (and the ensuing disaster area that we created moving things around), where I quickly took care of a shower — I smelled like something had died and rubbed itself all over my body.

We left short thereafter, to go to an Indian restaurant at Main and 49th, in Vancouver. Allison owed Tyler a birthday dinner, which she was determined to give him at some point. Following the dinner, we would quickly return to Metrotown to catch a showing of “The Truman Show”.

Dinner itself was uneventful (my butter chicken wasn’t bad, but after a while, I found it not settling with me too well), but fun. We left the restaurant with about 20 minutes to spare before the movie was to begin, but we had a long way to go. We piled back in the car, and I started driving towards the first major intersection (I had to turn around, but it was difficult on such a major road). I drove as far as 51st, before I realised that I was a fair distance from where I wanted to be. I decided a short jaunt down 51st to Fraser would be in my better interests. That was my first mistake.

I drove east along 51st a bit faster than I would have liked, but slower than the speed limit (the road had a lot of cars, but we were in a bit of a hurry). I glanced ahead of me to make sure that there were no stop signs to slow me down, passing intersection after intersection. That was my second mistake.

Why a mistake? What I didn’t notice is that there were no street signs at all. The entire neighbourhood was full of uncontrolled intersections, which I quickly found out about when I was hit by a BMW. The first thing I thought of was: “Oh no!” The second thing was: “We’re not going to make the movie.”

Luckily, no-one was injured, but my car sustained a fair bit of damage — the front fender was bent, and as I found out later, the right right wheel was knocked out of alignment, and bent in at the top. I think the shock was also ruined, but I’m not sure. The BMW sustained scratches (at least from a cursory inspection).

While Tyler attempted to get the police on his cell phone, the other driver and I swapped information. After about 15 minutes or so of waiting, we gave up and decided to leave. (BC law allows us to do so, as there were no injuries.) Tyler kept telling me to let him off and he’d take a bus, but I felt so bad about dragging him out and putting him into an accident, I wanted to make it up to him. In retrospect, I guess he didn’t want to be in the same car as a driver who had just been in an accident. Can’t blame him.

I make it as far as the McDonald’s on SW Marine before I realised there was something seriously wrong with the steering. The fender I didn’t care about. But the steering was a whole other issue. It was then I realised that things were rapidly going downhill.

The following day, Allison went in for surgery. I drove Allison’s car, so I could pick her and her mother up from the hospital. Allison was groggy from the anaesthesia, and I was still feeling a little strange about driving, so I took the trip home very delicately. Once we got in, Allison asked me to pick a few things up for her from the store.

On my way back, I thought I should stop into the Autoplan broker, and find out what my insurance would be. I had just lost my good driver’s standing, so I needed to know how much I’d be paying. They gave me an estimate of $2,300. I nearly choked. I was paying less than half of that in Ontario. It seemed that the accident was going to hang like a dark cloud over my head.

On Wednesday, I took the car into North Vancouver, to a recommended auto body repair shop. The man who looked at it (an immigrant from New Zealand, or so it sounded) suggested a different shop just down the road. I went in, had the car checked … $1,500. Mind you, that was after the shop foreman found out I had insurance. Otherwise, I’d have been in big trouble.

I later found out that the BMW somehow got about $1,100 in damage. From scratches. I hate expensive cars.

The rest of the week was pretty stressful, as was the weekend following. But those were for reasons I’m not getting into here. But the end result had me beginning to wonder if I really wanted to live here. I’m so far away from my friends and family, and I don’t find that I’m really being accepted here. I want to leave, I want to go away and not come back. I want to sell off all my stuff and run for the hills. The only think keeping me here, for now, is Allison.

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