Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Some Thoughts on A Near-Death Experience...

I was almost killed yesterday.

It's a common occurrence here on the Isle of Thoughtless Douchebags. I'm surprised that it doesn't happen more often, honestly. But first, a little background.

The weather in these parts has been frightfully bad in recent weeks: two major snowstorms have been followed by an unrelenting rain, itself followed by some of the coldest winds of the season. I blame Al Gore. I was promised an unbearably hot and dry climate because of the internal combustion engine, but instead one must struggle through streets clogged with the remnants of a blizzard and a white Nor'easter, turned to ice, slush and frozen lakes by a 40-degree rainy day, followed by the near-zero blast of the Siberian Express.

This is absolutely awful if you're a pedestrian. The remaining snow (I promise you, it will still be here here in early May, but it will all have been turned black by then so that the little hillocks made by people who dug their cars and walkways out will resemble slag heaps) is made soft by the warmth and the rain. This causes a) flooding and b) the formation of deep -- often ankle deep -- layers of slush, where snow, warm water and the filth of the streets create a Slurpee-like semi-fluid mess that coats the sidewalks, and collects in pools at every crosswalk. No sooner does someone walk over it, then it refreezes, waiting for the next person to walk over it. The repeated cracking of the ice layer, welling up of the water beneath, and refreezing ensures that slush is even harder to get rid of, and avoid, than snow.

It also gets trapped in the potholes in the streets, and freezes over again, creating big patches of ice on the roads.

Conditions yesterday were such that movement by vehicle was an iffy proposition. I must have seen at least half-a-dozen vehicles, that having parked at slushy curbs, were then trapped by ice when their owners returned. For some reason, these folks find it necessary to continue to spin their wheels when trapped in the ice, which makes one of the most annoying sounds known to mankind; that of rapidly rotating rubber sliding on ice. Here's a hint -- it doesn't matter how much "gas' you give it -- you're stuck. All you're doing is digging the ruts deeper, ruining your tires and creating a noxious cloud of exhaust. That's why you always keep a good, metal snow shovel and a bag of sand or Halite in your trunk, Doofus.

Anyways, the conditions on the road were such that no one with half a brain should have been on them.

This is Staten Island, however, and the half-brained are all at work at their overpayed "City" jobs, leaving their quarter-brained offspring behind to ensure that background levels of stupidity do not fall below their natural intensity. The roads are busy, even in this frozen, sodden mess.

No one here ever takes the opportunity to stay at home when they really, really should. It's raining, and even colder weather is promised by the Asshole on Television; one must rush to the Supermarket for "essentials" because there will never, ever be any milk or bread again, should we survive the Ice Age that has descended upon us. Some of these folks might be excused; they're actually out there trying to do something -- like ensure their survival -- it's the other 90% of the drivers that should be pulled over and beaten within an inch of their lives that are the problem.

Because Heaven forbid someone should have to wait 10-15 seconds to make a left turn into a three-way intersection because there's a pedestrian in the crosswalk, and they're running late for something ridiculously unimportant.

This is a common problem in these parts, and I'm not certain what the root cause is. Perhaps people are just selfish. Maybe we've bred successive generations of morons. Perhaps they're not teaching people in driving school beyond the most basic "Red: Stop, Green: Go, Yellow: Haul Ass!" curriculum. People who drive around here regard a brake pedal like an enema: it's something slightly disgusting, and you should avoid it as often as possible. The concept of "Right of Way" has devolved into "I'll race you there". Traffic here is so bad that, often, if you miss your opportunity to make a turn when you "have the light", you might be stuck for as much as another 60 seconds waiting for your next opportunity. That's 60 seconds that your typical Staten Island Douchebag could be using to do really important things, like breathing, getting your mascara on right, or answering a text message.

Occasionally, you get someone with manners and courtesy, and they'll let you pass before they make their turn. Usually, what happens is the driver making the turn will either speed up and try to cut the turn fine so as to get through the intersection before you arrive, or, they make a wider turn to allow you to pass, but then gun the engine just as soon as they have sensed, let alone seen, an inch of daylight behind you. Either way, if you're a pedestrian on this island, you are likely to come within 12 inches or less of a rapidly moving vehicle to your front or rear at least three times a day. That means that at least three times a day, you're in danger of getting struck by a vehicle operated by a selfish twit in a rush to get to the next red light.

Crossing the street around here is much like being in one of those massive caribou migrations; you try to cross a raging river with tree trunks being swept downstream by floodwaters, like in one of those nature documentaries.

So, here I am, travelling across the dangerous landscape of a two-lane street at a three-way intersection. The street lights say I can cross; the little white man that's the universal symbol for "Walk" is lit up. I'm perhaps three steps into my treacherous journey when a blur of red passes before me.

Someone has decided to race me to the intersection. But the best laid plans of mice and men ofttimes go astray.

This driver of this little red Honda, not so much an automobile as it is a pregnant roller skate, misjudges the distance and timing, and instead of passing between me and the car stopped at the light, hits this stationary vehicle about 8 feet in front of me, and bounces backwards, whereupon it finds one of those icy patches on the road and does two full revolutions before coming to a stop against the well-used and twisted guardrail on the opposite side of the road. The silver SUV riding the red Honda's bumper decides this is an excellent opportunity to complete it's own turn, and so that driver guns his engine and dashes through the intersection, missing me, still in the crossswalk and now frozen by confusion, by perhaps two feet.

There is now a two car accident where there should have been none. The little Honda is facing the opposite lane of oncoming traffic at something like a 45-degree angle. There is steam rising from a ruptured radiator. Broken glass is now scattered on the slushy street. Somehow, I'm unscathed...and pissed off. The driver of the stationary vehicle now emerges from his car, and asks if I'm alright. Together, we rush across the intersection to check on the status of the moron who caused this accident in the first place.

We can't see the person at first; the car's airbag has deployed, and all you can see is a pair of arms flailing behind it. Eventually, the driver's door opens, and there SHE was.

I don't know why having the airbag in her face put her in a such a panic; She looks the type that should be well-accustomed to having her face buried in the pillows, if you catch my drift. She's a common type around here, almost the National Bird of Staten Island, that kind of neatly-manicured and perfectly cosmetic-ed, gum-snapping bimbo in designer everything, who probably awakes each morning to find a condom lodged in her vagina with no clue as to how it got there. Around here, she's known as Anna Putana (Putana = Italian for "Whore"), the 20-something, shallow, dumb-as-dogshit, Snooki-wannabe who's life revolves around nightclubs, Prada, and endless junior-high drama in which the main character is almost certain to be a knuckle-dragging Soprano's caricature named "Joey".

She is not to be mistaken for Staten Island's National Flower, The Morning After Spermburper, although the two are very often confused by the uninitiated.

So, Anna Putana gets out of her vehicle...and she's already on the cell phone. In fact, she was on the cell phone when she attempted the high-speed turn on slick streets with pedestrians in the crosswalk. The other driver and I ask if she's okay; she holds up her hand to silence us. You have got to be kidding. The Phone Call must continue:

Danielle, you won't believe what just fuckin' happened! Motherfucker! I'm gonna be late for my appointment.

It turns out this "appointment" is for...all together now...a mani-pedi. She was in a rush to have her nails done. Heaven forbid Anna should be forced to put her precious hooves into her Uggs without having them stripped of dead skin first, with her cuticles left untrimmed.

This ... I hesitate to call it a woman ... has just been in an automobile accident. One that she's caused. Her car is seriously damaged. She's almost killed one person, and wrecked someone else's car, and she can't put the fucking phone down. The Other Driver and I look at each other, dumbfounded. He shrugs, and whips out his own cell phone out and says he's going to call the cops.

This, naturally, Anna hears. It forces her to cut her own phone call short.

Danielle...I gotta call you back, this fuckin' asshole's callin' the cops!

Now begins the song-and-dance as this young scifuza (Ski-FOO-zah = also Italian for "Whore") tries to get the Other Driver to NOT call the Police. This is, it seems, the worst of all possibilities to her. She begs the guy not to call the cops, but he won't relent. She would have offered him oral sex, I'm certain, had there not been a third person (Me) within earshot. Then again, she looks like she's had two penises simultaneously at least once in her life. She tries to hop back into her car, presumably to make a getaway...only it won't move; the front end is flattened. So, she gets back on the cell phone:

Joey? Yeah, you have to come to (the scene of the accident), some guy is calling the cops on me.

Told you there was a Joey in there, somewhere.

I'm sticking around because a) I'm a witness, and b) I want that bitch in handcuffs. Besides, this is about to get good -- Joey has been called -- I know he'll arrive with the usual assortment of bozos.

They always do.

Now the argument starts. She's not at fault -- the other driver was sticking out into the intersection, she claims. Pure bullshit, of course. She tried to make a turn before I, the pedestrian, made her wait an extra 10-15 seconds, and cut it too fine. I saw it. She's offering to have the guy's car fixed, her boyfriend (Joey, naturally) does bodywork, and do we have to get a police report and get the insurance companies involved? The ambulance arrives first. No one has been hurt, but Anna suddenly feels light-headed and her neck hurts at the sight of an ambulance. I know her type: her neck is probably the strongest part of her body, after her mouth, so it's a transparent ploy for sympathy.

The Police arrive and take statements from Anna, The Other Driver and Myself, and begin to direct traffic around the accident. Suddenly, when there's an actual cop on the scene, every driver on this fucking rock remembers the rules of the road, and behaves themselves. A tow truck pulls up, and starts removing Anna's car, now looking like a beer can crushed against a frat boy's forehead. How the hell she managed to walk away from that is a fucking mystery to me; I had not realized the damage was that extensive, at first. Reminder to myself: never buy a fucking Honda.

Having had the ambulance folks check her out, and finding no sign of obvious injury, Anna is back on the cell phone. She's crying to someone, probably her father (it's a rule in the Gumsnapping Bimbo's Handbook : when in trouble, you call Joey first, your Father second) , that she is being arrested. The charges: reckless driving, driving without a license, driving without insurance, attempting to flee the scene of an accident, and using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. They should have added insult to injury and given her a ticket for being an asshole, too. The Police are going to escort Anna to the hospital for a more thorough physical examination before they send her to the hoosegow. She is being loaded into the ambulance when "Joey" finally arrives.

I know Joey. I've seen him in the museum in those "Family of Man" displays. He's usually somewhere between Homo Habillius and Neanderthal Man, or would be if either of those human ancestors wore Guinea Tees and reeked of Axe Body Spray. Joey must argue with the cops. Strictly speaking, he doesn't actually need to, but there's a rule in the Ultimate Guide to Goombahs that compels him to do so, or maybe it's a genetic defect, or the limited intellect contained within a tiny braincase. No matter. The Argument and attendant chest-beating is a biological compulsion. He has to argue over why his girlfriend is being arrested. He's not satisfied with the answer (i.e. she committed a crime and caused an accident). Out comes HIS cell phone. Naturally, he's talking to someone named "Vinny". Somehow, you knew there had to be a Vinny in there, somewhere. Whatever he's saying, I can't tell you. All I hear is "fuck, fuck, fuckin', fuck, this shit, fuck, fuckin', fuck, fuck".

That's almost poetry in this parish.

Anyways, I'm given information by the police officers about my role as a witness, and I'm asked if I have any charges to press. I figure Anna already has enough problems; she's a whore, she's shackled to Joey, and she can't drive for shit. Why pile on? Besides, the cops now have another problem on their hands; because another car arrives, and three more Ginzos hop out. None of them seems to have gotten the message that hair gel went out of fashion some time ago. They have parked their SUV in such a way as to restrict traffic from making right turns from the very place where Anna launched her tragic left. This is not surprising because they haven't come to see if anyone is hurt, they aren't there as concerned citizens to lend a hand to someone in need; they're there to help Joey beat the snot out of The Other Driver, obviously because Joey can't do it himself without messing up his own mani-pedi.

Joey, you see, talks a good game, but in reality he's a pussy. The ones who do the Tough Guy Routine usually are.

These guys came specifically to cause even more trouble. Don't ask me why they do this, because I can't really explain it. If I had to guess, it's so that they can add the distinction of a criminal record to their "reputation" without actually having committed a serious crime, or done real time. In the repeated, oft-embellished, retelling of the tale the arrestee will have beaten seven or eight cops to a bloody pulp before finally being tazered -- twice -- and taken into custody. In actuality, he will have been wrestled to the ground by a female cop, and meekly submitted to the subsequent handcuffing. He will have the satisfaction of hearing people who don't know the truth whisper to one another in the crowded beer-and-ecstasy mills-with-urine-all-over-the-floor that they congregate in, "don't fuck with that guy...he's done time".

Intelligence is not exactly at a premium in the cirlces these cretins move in.

Now the cops have their hands full. What was a routine traffic accident has now become a mini-riot because three dumbasses with more hormones than brains have decided that the only thing that can make this situation better is to attack an innocent guy. Of course, there is not going to be an actual beating; there are five or six cops on the scene. No, they have come to help Joey put on a mountain-gorilla display of empty machismo. There's something seriously wrong with this New Generation of Italian-American; they look like metrosexuals and have adopted the Urban Patois of African-Americans, right down to the exaggerated mannerisms, threats to violence, and gun-related innuendo. I can't tell you how many sideways-pointed gun gestures were made at The Other Driver each delivered with a chorus of "fuck you, Motherfuckah! I'll cap yo' ass, Bitch!"

I thought I was in a hip-hop video for a minute.

Of course, that's always shouted from behind the safety of a wall of cops. If they were real men, they'd just do it, and not just talk about it. If it were up to me, this sort of mental defective would be gassed, en masse.

Eventually, because this is also part of the process, someone else has to get arrested. It's unavoidable, like death, taxes, and Nancy Pelosi causing a severe Botox shortage on the day of a television appearance. Lou Ragu just can't put his testicles in neutral despite repeated warnings from a cop to knock it off, and he finds himself wearing stainless steel bracelets. He can't help himself, because he's somehow not "authentically Italian" in his circles if he doesn't (over-)act like a complete douche, create a problem where none exists, and piss a cop off in the process. As soon as someone gets arrested, the small riot magically disperses. The display has had it's intended effect: to convince anyone who's witnessed it that there's a strange genetic mutation running through the Italian community of Staten Island, New York.

It's fucking embarrassing.

Anyhow, sometime soon I expect a summons to court in the case of The People of New York State v. Roseanne Rosannadanna, Joey Baggadonuts, Salvatore Badabing, Nicky Potatosalad, et. al.

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