13 March 2014

Poor ol' Subie

Quite a few years ago, a factory I worked in generated a lot of waste so we had many 55 gallon plastic trash bins stationed around the work areas. These had to be emptied outdoors on a regular basis -- either into the giant recycler's metal shavings hopper or into the industrial-size dumpster. The trash collection company came to empty the dumpster one day. The operator of the collection truck did his dumpster-dumping thing and backed away. He cut his steering wheel too hard and knocked over one of the big plastic drums holding metal scrap. The drum rolled under the trash collectors truck. He kept backing up. He rolled right over the drum and its metal contents. As it was being crushed, the drum let out a really distinctive sound of crushing plastic, blended with a little grinding of metal. I'll never forget that sound. I heard it again today.

Yeah, we were minding our own business, just digging into a fine lunch at La Carreta when "that" sound punched into my consciousness. "Wow", I thought, "Somebody has a big plastic garbage can and it just got run over by a truck. Not quite.

The "big plastic garbage can" was the left front end of my car -- Poor ol' Subie -- and, yes, it was getting run into by a truck.

It seems the driver of a rather imposing full size crew cab pickup truck had mis-judged where the right side of his truck was when he cut his steering wheel to parallel park in front of me, executing one of those "coming from behind and just swing 'er in" maneuvers. He got a little bit of Subie's fender, a big bit of the plastic bumper and the left front headlight assembly.

Subie, however, got revenge because she left a nasty black scrape all the way down the side of the pickup and a melon size dent in the left rear fender panel of that pick-up. Not sure which repair is going to cost more. Not sure I care.

Well, our hot lunch was on the table but I went out to talk things over with the pickup's gringo driver. His Tica lady friend kind of took charge and called INS and Transito. Then we all stood around ... waiting ... in the sun. We talked some.

The pickup driver said he was from a barrio a fair bit outside of town ... and he was leaving the country Saturday ... going back to visit his home, "Arkansas," he said, without a trace of an Arkansas accent. Red flags and lights are going off in my head. (Maybe it's the lack of head-meds -- see my earlier post.)

Pat finished lunch and came out to relieve me so that I could go eat. She stood around ... waiting ... in the sun.

Forty-five minutes was the promised delivery time of an onsite INS agent. Lord knows where the Transito was coming from.

I finished lunch and there were more phone calls going on. The Transito dispatcher was verifying that nobody was hurt and nothing other than the two vehicles had been damaged. I believe the motivation for that questioning might have been that they didn't really have time to make it to our little accident site for a simple fender-bender report. Good. No government involvement.

Up rolled the INS kid, in his own car. He got out with clip boards and note pads and a cute lil' touch-screen-key-in-print-out-yellow-n-black-handheld computer thingy. Once he got the greeting rituals out of the way, he went to work on the pickup driver, who was also an INS client. They filled out paper and punched and tapped on the computer thingy ... in the sun ... for a good half hour. I'm going over into the shade, dammit.

The INS kid took pictures of the scratches and dents. He took pictures of the overall scene -- long shots and short shots. He took pictures of the pickup driver's license and I.D. card. He took pictures of the pickup's license plate and VIN plate. He even took pictures of the interior instrument panel. He took all of these pictures with both a camera built into the computer thingy AND with his personal iPhone. Kodak would have been loving this guy back in the days of film.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

My turn. He went through the same pile of stuff with me but was oh so HAPPY to discover that Patricia is Spanish-fluent so that he could stop talking to me in baby talk. (I gotta believe that these young field agents roll up on an accident site, get out of their cars and when they see a situation like this one, they're thinking, "Oh, god, not another bunch of gringos!")

Anyhow, we got through all of the interrogation and were presented with a nice fancy plastic packet of printouts and forms. What do we do next? Well, inside the packet was a slip of paper -- obviously a copy of a copy of a copy of the original slip of paper, copied by the very first Xerox machine ever shipped to Costa Rica -- and it says that I'm to go onto the INS website to find the locations of authorized repair shops. Thereupon we get to take our wounded soldier to "wherever" and they will prepare an official repair estimate. I guess they also do the repair work. Who knows.

"Do they provide a loaner car while ours is in the shop?" asked Pat. Who knows. The agent didn't know. Maybe that's on the website too. No matter what ... It. Will. All. Be. Another. Pura. Vida. Adventure.

Thank you very much.

No comments:

Post a Comment