Filed under: You can’t make this shit up. Human beings fascinate me. Sometimes. So the saga continues. The only difference, I suspect, was my attitude. Score one for me. I think. In my fairly verbose description of the horrors of my recent move, I believe I left out the fact that the movers left a lot of our stuff at the moved-from house because they said it wouldn’t fit in the truck. How I was supposed to get it to the moved-to house was apparently my problem. I was too freaked out on moving day to argue with them. So the next day I borrowed my friend’s minivan and with a couple of friends and my wife, we made trips back and forth to the new house. Not in time to get the house cleaned out for the new owners’ walk-through, but that’s another story. Anyway, on one of my trips I was rear-ended (did I mention I was driving a friend’s van?) at a rotary by a lovely older gentleman. He was positively angelic as he jumped from his vehicle apologizing and taking full responsibility. He asked several times if I was alright, shook his head in disbelief that he caused so careless an accident, sighed heavily over the damage. All this he peppered with heartfelt contrition. He even offered to write down all his information for me.
I was in a sort of stupor. Between the move and the frenzy and all the fashlas (fuckups), I was in quite a state myself. I heard him only through a thick layer of Jello. And everyone knows that Jello is practically sound-proof. I didn’t know where my friend’s registration was, who her insurance company was, and I didn’t have my own license on me. Worst of all, I was beyond caring really. After the man left, I called my friend to tell her what happened. I barely got the words out through near-hysterical tears, sobs and hiccups. She said, “so what. no big deal. that’s why we have insurance. relax.” Thank God for dear friends. At least one thing wasn’t a total fuck-show.
I still had so much to do, I put the incident out of my mind. It was a Friday after all, and I wouldn’t get to putting in a claim until the following week. So I folded up his information and pocketed it. The house was still in disastrous chaos and required a lot more help from many more friends. The following week was July 4th week and I had a hard time getting through to my insurance company, who then told me to file the claim with my friend’s insurance company, who then told me my friend had to file the claim herself, and she was out of town. It was over a week before I actually looked at the information the guy had written for me. As I typed his information in an email to my friend, a grotesquely slimy realization came over me. I’d been bamboozled. He’d written the equivalent of: Harry Barker, 123 Park Place, Boston MA 02134, telephone 867-5309 (for those 80s fans out there) and his license number was S7654321. No! I’d been swindled! Taken advantage of! Taken for a fool! I was burgled, burglarized, robbed, deceived, hoodwinked, swindled, flimflammed, scammed, duped. And not for the first time in the same week! Seriously people, what the fuck?! Do I have some kind of sign that says “easy pickings” on me or something?!
I sat stunned at my desk as understanding sunk in. I was teetering on the edge of serious depression as it was. The move truly threw me for a loop and I felt I’d been barely treading water since then. This threatened to really put me over the edge. I gasped at deep breaths, forcing myself into a meditation my nervous system was fighting mightily. As I settled into that meditative state, I began to hum “peace like a river” over and over, forcing myself into the gently flowing stream of water. The nectar of depression was already flooding my brain, adding any more would only drown me. I had to find another way to experience this misfortune. Deep cleansing calm breaths. I don’t really know how long I sat there. No doubt longer than my boss would have liked. But as I sat there, I did start to relax and calm down. The barest hint of a smile played at the edges of my mind. That old codger really pulled one over on me. Was he a quick thinker, or was this his M.O.? How many times had he done this, I wondered. Flo’s words came into my thoughts, “no big deal. you have insurance.” This wasn’t personal. It wasn’t about me at all really. I began to breathe more deeply.
When I opened my eyes again and started to re-write my email to Flo, I noticed a name on the back of the paper he’d written on. Could be a last name, I thought. I googled it and there he was, in a postage-stamp-sized photo staring beatifically back at me. I called my insurance company and told them what happened, and what I’d found. Without thinking, the woman on the phone said, “what a bastard!” Yeah I thought, or maybe just some poor shmuck trying to get by. My insurance company said things like this happen often (and she could particularly understand why Mr Barker wouldn’t want to give his real information given the driving record she’d pulled up). She said she’d take care of it. She asked if I was going to call the police and I asked what that would do. “Well, get him in trouble for one thing”, she said. I asked what it would do for me and she said, “Give you the satisfaction of ratting him out.” I considered it. It did hold a certain allure. So did giving him a call or sending him a mean facebook message. Like pulling the wings off a fly to watch it struggle. I hate it when that sadistic twinge surfaces in me. I never act on those impulses. I simply hate that they are even part of me. But that is for another post.
Anyway, I’ve given it over to the insurance companies to sort out. I’m still fighting this general malaise I seem to be in, but I did not let this most recent incident add to my melancholy. And so I go on my merry(sic) way. Blessings to you, Mr. Barker, take good care.