(Warning: This is even less about hockey than Rudy's stripper story or the time I talked about Futurama.)
Thursday night while coming home from work I was in the right-hand turn lane at a major intersection. I was waiting for the person ahead of me to go when I noticed a white van to my left begin to back up. They were backing up on a major street, which was odd, but I assumed they wanted to get into a turning lane or something, so whatever. Suddenly, the van began to turn sharply, and my driver's side mirror was smashed to pieces.
Meg's thoughts at this point: God damn it!
As I pulled ahead and gestured to the van to follow me into a nearby parking lot, I noticed that they were 1) driving a really old 70s-style van with round windows and 2) had a disabled placard hanging from the window. We parked and I began to look around for my insurance info. I did not get out of the car yet, since there is about a 50% chance that someone driving that type of van is a serial killer.
Further details began to make themselves known to me. Chief amongst these was that the van, now parked next to me, had a bunch of writing on the side. It said something like this:
"LET WELFARE MOTHERS WORK. WORK FROM HOME ON HOMEWORK MAKE MONEY WITH HOMEWORK I CAN HELP HOMEWORK HOMEWORK WITH CHILDREN"
This obviously isn't word-for-word but it's very close. I read it a few times, and it was incomprehensible. It seemed to be advertising some sort of business or something.
The driver at this point had exited the van and was standing at my driver's side rolled-down window. The person who hit me was a tiny old woman who was at least 70 years old.
Meg's thoughts at this point: God damn it.
She was shorter standing up outside my car than I was sitting up in the driver's seat. She apologized and I was nice about it, and asked her how she wanted to handle the situation. She said she had insurance, but would rather just pay for it. Fine with me. The following conversation then occurred:
Old Lady: Do you know how much this would cost to fix?
Old Lady: Well I don't have any cash on me.
Old Lady: I get my retirement check next week, so I can send you money then.
Old Lady: I may have to borrow some money.
Meg's thoughts at this point: God....damn it.
The old lady said she hit my car because she didn't see me at all, because she "was up high" and my "car is a hard color to see at night" (light grey, but whatever).
She gave me all of her information, including her e-mail address and phone number. This conversation then occurred:
Old Lady: That's my phone number, but my phone has been having problems.
Me: Oh yeah?
Old Lady: Yeah, it keeps saying "PNK Number." I don't know what that means.
Me: That's weird.
Old Lady: The phone company came out to look at it.
Old Lady: I pay 90 dollars a month for my phone and I can't even get a tone!
Old Lady: It might be hard to get a hold of me because of my phone so I'll include my address in case you want to send me a postcard.
Me: (thinking: wtf?)
So that's basically the situation. I don't have a driver's side mirror. I already ordered a replacement and it's on its way (it was only like 40 bucks on Amazon) but I don't know if I should ask this lady for any money. Here are the basic elements of my dilemma:
1) She's old and on a fixed income, so it's mean to make her pay.
2) Yeah but I'm poor too.
3) She had me promise to send her the information - it sounded like she genuinely felt bad and wanted to make up for it.
4) Yeah but she's so old and it was an accident.
5) Yeah but if she can't see me in my car then how the hell would she keep from running over a little kid? She needs to learn a lesson!
6) But how will this teach her a lesson? Taking forty bucks from an old lady won't make anything better.
7) But she probably shouldn't be driving.
8) So what are you going to do, report her to the police?
9) That would be awful.
10) Yeah, I know.
So that's the situation. Anyone care to offer advice in the comments? I know I can trust you people to offer constructive and enlightening feedback.
(Oh, and it shouldn't be overlooked that when we parked and I waited in my car looking for my insurance info, I effectively forced a disabled old lady to get out of her van and come around and stand by my door while we talked).