Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Guy Could Get Killed Around Here...

First off, I must offer my apologies about something. I was planning to post some crap about the King Hearings yesterday, but never got around to putting the finishing touches on the post -- something I will do today, depending upon how I feel -- but I have an excuse for it. Bear with me, because this gets a little convoluted. and then just plain strange.

You see, I did something incredibly stupid yesterday (only yesterday?); I tried to cross a street, with traffic lights and crosswalks, and everything. Not just any street, mind you, but a street where there's three-way traffic at an intersection which is becoming a bit notorious in these parts for a variety of reasons, and none of them good.

The intersection of Amboy and Richmond Roads here in New Dorp is probably one of the most dangerous stretches of pavement in all of Staten Island, and I wouldn't doubt that it's becoming one of the more hazardous intersections in all of New York City. The combination of turning lanes and obnoxious semi-suburban SUV drivers combining to make a trip across the street, even within clearly-marked crosswalks, the pedestrian equivalent of walking through a dynamite factory with flaming torches in either hand and one stuck in your rectum. You are, literally, taking your life into your own hands when you attempt to cross the street there.

I have absolutely no luck whatsoever at this particular intersection, and so it is a complete mystery to me why I continue to use it. I have had food tossed at me from a moving vehicle at this spot. I have been nearly killed or crippled by inconsiderate drivers who wanted to race me through the junction more times than I care to remember. I have witnessed at least four accidents, or near-accidents, there in the last six months, and seen the wreckage of about half a dozen more at the site.

Why this is should be is easy to figure out: the average driver on Staten Island is a dipshit, who somehow hasn't come to the realization that a car can be a deadly weapon, and should be driven responsibly. There is a sense of entitlement, or stupidity, perhaps both, present in our drivers which states that they have the right to make a turn any goddamned time they wish. Red lights are something you can safely pass through if you happen to be the the first to get there, and there's at least a millisecond either before or after the yellow and red. There is no red-light camera there -- unlike the two intersections to the east or west -- and it's one of those places where if you don't complete your left turns as quickly as possible, you will have to suffer the indignity of having to wait another 90 seconds to do so, with a long line of impatient dipshit drivers behind you all blaring their horns and questioning your lineage.

Having to slow down for a pedestrian, or holding your turn to allow them to pass, is a burden no one wishes to bear in their rush to the next red light. You're in a car, after all, dammit, and cars mean motion, and if that means you have to nearly sideswipe some asshole on foot, then that's his problem. I've complained about this on many occasions, but yesterday's little escapade has me absolutely fuming.

Because I was nearly run a driver running a red light, and this time, my usually-cat-like reflexes (HA!) failed me during the critical furious-backpedalling-stage, and with the street being slick because of a snow-rain mix (not to mention all the oil slicks from previous accidents. I swear, if you wanted to solve the problem of our dependence upon foreign oil, send two dudes with Shamwows to this intersection after a rainstorm. They could soak up enough oil from the pavement to keep us going for the next century). I fell in the path of the oncoming Ford Contour, which missed me by about two feet.

Now, to give the driver who nearly killed me credit, he at least blew his horn as he went through the light, giving me about three seconds of warning that he had no intention of stopping, and then did me an even bigger favor by not hitting the accelerator as he passed. There wasn't even a swerve. He also didn't have the courtesy to stop, get out of the car, and see if I was alright or not; that driver just continued on his merry way.

All I know about that Ford are the color and the North Carolina plate. In this neck of the woods, North Carolina plates usually mean 'illegal immigrant'. Having once lived in North Carolina myself, this is probably not very far from the truth.

So, there I am, laying in the street, and all the vehicles that had been lined up to make the left turn that would carry them into my path had I been upright, went about their business. Shouldn't let something as trivial as a man who has slipped and fallen into the path of oncoming traffic stop you from making that all-important left on your way to Starbuck's, or to get your nails done. Four vehicles, and four potential witnesses, simply drove by, taking care to at least slow down while I tried to regain my footing...

...which soon became problematic, what with the pain and all. So, I struggled to one foot, and hopped back to the questionable safety of the sidewalk. I say "questionable" because if you saw the guardrails that are mounted along the road to 'protect' pedestrians, you might think the same thing; there isn't a one that doesn't bear witness to the number of accidents at this intersection. They're all dented, warped, misshapen, mangled, and bear multiple multi-colored streaks, the remnants of numerous paint jobs that have scraped, rammed, brushed or kissed the steel.

There I am, in awesome pain, of the sort that put me in danger of abandoning my Agnostic ways, for I was invoking the name of the Savior...only in a way that would probably get me kicked out of most polite congregations. Putting any weight whatsoever on my left foot became problematic, and then, virtually impossible. I was pretty certain that something was broken.

Which is were this starts to get weird.

I'm self-employed, and erratically employed, at that, which means I have no medical insurance. I'm also a white male, which means no ObamaCare or Medicaid for me; white males are supposed to PAY for those things, but not actually benefit from them. This means no trip to the Emergency Room for me unless I'm bleeding profusely, can see a vital organ, or have a hole someplace big enough to drive a freight train through it. This means a trip to the Urgent Care Center (three lies for the price of one), where services are cash-and-carry. Fortunately, I didn't have far to limp to the nearest bus stop, and the wait was uncomfortable, but mercifully short.

I was seeing enough stars to qualify me to to run NASA.

Eventually, the bus deposits me within hopping distance of the Urgent Care Center, which -- go figure -- is full of illegal immigrants, mostly children, who are coughing up blood and scratching at crusty shit all over their faces that I wouldn't even begin to guess the origin of, and leaving a trail of mucus, spit, pus and Lord-knows-what-else all over every surface, while their mothers babble on in that Spanglish patois, apparently unconcerned that Miguel and Pablo are jumping off the furniture, or that Pillar or Margarita are digging in the trash cans, or that their newly-mobile infants are crawling on the floors and picking up strange shit to put in their mouths.

There's approximately 52 forms to fill in, and a two-hour wait, but what do you expect for $79.00? It could be worse: I could be in Canada and waiting eleven years for a foot specialist, or in England waiting behind 3,000 Muslims, each with three wives in tow, waiting for the results of the blood tests they took six months ago as a prelude to marrying wife Number Four. My foot and ankle have now swollen to the point where I can actually watch my veins bulge and twitch with every heartbeat. I have watched my skin turn multiple colors. If my foot were a wine list, you could have had your choice: Red, Rose, Burgundy. I think I've invented a new color; Blurple, which is a combination of black and purple. It hurt like hell.

I finally get to see a Nurse Practitioner, who will decide if I really need a doctor. Within 15 seconds, and one 'GODDAMN!' later, her professional judgement was that, yes, you should see the doctor before we have to saw that sucker off.

The Doctor comes in. He reminds me of the sort one usually associates with Microsoft Technical Support; he's Indian, his English is difficult to follow, and he's probably the only guy within the distance who will work for this ridiculously low price. You know you're in trouble when you see that Doctor Ghandi has posted his diploma proudly in the examination room, and you think you see the words 'Fisher-Price' on it. He decides that the best course of action is have my foot x-rayed, so that he can make a 'pro-p-er diag-NO-sees'. I would have to hobble down the hall to the radiologist...

...and right down Mammary...errr...MEMORY Lane.

Because Debbie is the radiologist.

Debbie (not her real name) is someone I once dated for a very short while, Back in the Day. The romance didn't last very long because Debbie had some very annoying personality traits (like I'm some prince?). For a start, she used to show up at my place of work...every night...with a complete meal cooked. I didn't mind this so much because she could cook up a storm, but I was working and couldn't spare a whole lot of time to entertain her. I was also having to answer questions about who she was, because her name kept appearing in the security guard's sign-in book,and well...I'm supposed to be working, not having a dinner date in the office. So I had to ask her to stop. Which pissed her off; Debbie was always easily pissed off.

In fact, everything was a big fucking drama with Debbie, so that even the odd, innocent comment or action pissed her off, and quickly became a Federal Case. No apology was ever accepted, and within 24 hours every deadly sin you committed was usually forgotten, and things were all sunshine and candy canes again. Amongst her other faults: she was a pot smoker, big time, and once you showed up, leaving again was a serious issue; she didn't want to be left alone. But then she'd start some shit, give you the cold shoulder and demand that you leave, and whenever this repetitive process began, Debbie was almost always starting to roll a joint.

I later discovered that Debbie was addicted to prescription painkillers (and more. She hid it very well), and the constant drama was just her way of manufacturing an excuse to take them without having to admit that she was an addict. Needless to say, I wasn't putting up with that sort of bullshit, and so Debbie got the heave-ho. Ancient history, right? It's been like 17, 18, years, maybe more, and there's that Hippocratic Oath thingy for her to consider, right?

And here she is, about to subject me to a dose of radiation.

She's changed. She finally seems happy (it's amazing to me how all the women in my life seem to get happier after I stop dating them. Wonder what's wrong with them?), and it's apparent that she's finally passed that radiology exam that she failed twice while we were dating. Then again, that makes me a bit worried -- because I know she's failed the exam twice. I could be walking out of this room with a mutated gene, you know.She's been married, and divorced (who didn't see that coming?). But she was actually pleasant, concerned, happy to see me, and wanted to know everything that has transpired in my life since we parted ways. Since this was not the proper venue for chit-chat -- there were, after all, another 40 illegal immigrants outside demanding Medicaid-provided x-rays for their runny noses and leprosy --we're going to get together this weekend. I'm bringing my gun, just in case she goes all mental on me. Been known to happen with Debbie. Don't know why I said "yes"; in hindsight, I should have asked her for a head x-ray, too, I figure.

Anyways, nothing is broken. It's just an extremely bad sprain, with the possibility of some (minor) ligament damage. Doctor Swami suggests ice packs, Tylenol, and that I see an orthopaedist, as Nurse-Practitioner Bedside-Manner wraps my foot/ankle so tight you'd think it was an Egyptian Pharaoh on his way to the Dirt Nap. I can't get a shoe back on, so it's a cab ride home for me.

I call the cops to report a near hit-and-run, and they take a report, but they ain't got much. Metallic Ford, North Carolina plates, maybe Hispanic driver, no witnesses. I have a better chance of shitting gold bricks than I ever have of seeing that douchebag with a driver's license (someone gave this retard a driver's license?) being brought to justice, or of seeing anyone in authority do something useful about that intersection. I'm out $90.00, and somehow managed to make a date with a woman I once walked out on because I thought she would go all Glen Close on me, even if she did make a killer pot-roast.

It all probably would have been easier to just get myself run over.


Mr. Chap said...

I wish I'd have read this one first.

I never told you that I hope you get better soon. So get better soon.

Matthew said...

Thanks, Mr. C. I've dispensed with the boot already, but it still hurts. I'll live, unfortunately!