patricio and i have been racking up lots of "firsts" for ourselves as a couple; first house, first gym workout, first crock pot, first day to sleep in until noon. an hour ago, we got to add another to the list: first car accident. for those of you wondering if patricio's excellent driving reputation has acquired some tarnish, fear not. it wasn't his fault. and neither of us saw it coming.
we were on our way to his parents' ranch in cahuacan to water the roses and fruit trees, eating apples and listening to the spanish r&b song that horizonte radio has kept on their playlist for the last few weeks. perhaps we were talking about something, but i really don't remember. what i do remember is that as we slowed to a stop behind a pickup truck and in line of traffic, i was suddenly not wearing glasses and not breathing very well--ears filled with the big sound of bang. it took me a good few seconds to realize what had actually happened, glad that patricio and i both were okay. we looked at each other, he holding the back of his head and i rubbing my abdomen.
he then hopped out of the car in a flash to assess the situation: big bus eating the trunk of the jetta, pickup crunched into the hood.
incidentally, the accident happened right in front of the dusty santa anita bus terminal, so the jetta-eating culprit pulled in to park almost immediately, leaving a lane of backed-up traffic and bits of our tail-lights behind us. having gotten over the initial shock, i figured i might as well document the incident digitally.
here's the bus.
here's the bus driver.
here's our junked trunk.
and here are the cops.
if you think the bus driver looks a little too young to be steering a few tons of public transportation around, i agree. the poor thing was just barely keeping himself together. he knew he'd bungled things in a big way, and i'm sure he was not a little relieved to see that patricio wasn't going to lunge at him with a knuckle sandwich and a stream of well-worded insults.
almost everyone here comments on how bus drivers in mexico city are infamous for their aggressive and reckless driving. daily, i see buses cutting into and weaving through traffic, forcing drivers in less tank-like automobiles to cede their place and flare their nostrils in defeat. perhaps it's yet another manifestation of machismo, but whatever the case, the heedless bus driver point was well proven.
there were a number of men around the scene who offered to help us out and call the state police, talking out the situation with patricio and the bus driver, arriving at an agreement and a sensible plan. one of them was a straightforward, brash talker with a silver chain around his neck and a cross pendant nestled comfortably in his tangle of chest hair. another was an amiable man in a yellow soccer jersey, with the front of it pulled up to his ample chest, exposing a monumental but presumably cooler belly. i missed out on most of that manly chat, digging around in the glove compartment for the insurance and registration cards. and i wasn't around too much longer after the patrol car arrived--patricio's friend, enrique, pulled up with his friendly smile and his minivan to take me back home. poor patricio is still there, waiting for the insurance rep and the tow-truck to arrive. bless his heart, he spent all day friday getting the jetta into tip-top condition with new oil, filter, and other things that i never can remember because car vocabulary makes as much sense to me as maori. he's handling the whole deal with admirable equanimity.
this "first" wasn't fun like sleeping in until noon, but it was a thousand times more unforgettable. it made me very conscious of and thankful for our cellphones, our seat belts, and our lives. people, wear your seat belts. a bruised abdomen is far better than a beaten up body and a lifetime of regret. far better.