Accidents will happen

Signed up for this service called New York Alert recently. It sends messages to my e-mail – if I texted, it could have gone to that device – based on a menu of topics of my choosing, such as weather alerts. I’d only gotten one or two messages in the past couple weeks, but on the morning of December 12, I read: “I-90 E&W Exit 5A Off Ramps CLOSED due to a crash at 9:25am use other routes-Albany County.”

Wait a minute. Exit 5A, that’s frickin’ Corporate Woods, where I work! Sure enough, I stood up to see, less than 100 meters away, the entrance ramp to the place blocked by one police car, and through the barren trees, the lights of another emergency vehicle. I sent a message to everyone in my building, in case they had visitors coming. I got the cleared notice at 10:47 a.m.

That afternoon, this message: “I-90 EB [eastbound] EX 6-6A has the left two lanes closed in the city of Albany due to a crash at 4pm- Albany Co.” Less than two miles away, on the same road, and there was no bad weather. Cleared at 4:40pm.

What’s this? “I-87 NB [northbound] Ex 5-6 Left two lanes closed due to a crash in the town of colonie at 4:50 pm- Albany Co.” Cleared an hour later.

That was weird enough. But the day before, we were all going to the holiday luncheon at a place called Risotto’s, less than two miles from our office, and one of our group was late. It turned out that she had backed into some Mercedes SUV in the Risotto’s parking lot, in an attempt to straighten out her vehicle.

The other woman called the police, then told my co-worker, “Oh, you don’t have to stick around.” Seriously? She’s called the cops so my colleague would be leaving the scene of an accident, AND that she would get to tell only her side of the story? The cops could not believe that so much damage could possibly have occurred from the way both parties said the accident took place. While my co-worker’s car bumper had a little scrape, the Mercedes looked like it suffered major damage. Also, though the car was registered in the area, the insurance was from Florida, which I didn’t understand. After our colleague finally finished with the cops, we developed a working theory that the Mercedes driver had previously been in an accident, unreported to the police, and possibly to her family members, and used (or staged) an accident to cover up that fact.

On Friday the 13th, another of my colleagues was at a post office during lunch when some odler woman backed into her bumper. The other driver cried so much that my colleague ended up hugging her to make her feel better. But it was so unsettling that my co-worker went home early to make Christmas cookies and write Christmas cards. As she wrote on Facebook regarding the other driver, “I will not be sending you [a Christmas card] though, even though I now have your address.”
Title inspired by the Elvis Costello song [LISTEN].

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