May 20, 2010

Okay, so I’m late with this entry… VERY LATE!

Yesterday, and truth be told, for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been in a downward spiral. I think yesterday (May 20, since I am writing this on the 21st), is hopefully, the bottom of the spiral!

There is no real need to go far into detail of some of the crap that’s been happening lately. Some I have posted, and what I have not posted, doesn’t need to be reminded. However, the 20th is a day to remember!

As you no doubt are aware, my morning begins around 5:30 am lately. Yeah, no more 4:30 am… crazy time to get up. So, 5:30 is becoming my standard. Go upstairs, take pictures, feed the beasts, make the coffee, complete any work for the day, then putz around on Facebook until about 7:30 when it’s time to get ready for work.

Everything seemed to be going tickety-boo… Decided to take the computer to work yesterday, since I had a bit of marks to enter for the classes while they were doing their paperwork.

Every morning, Monday through Friday, there is a specific route I take to work. It’s quick, it’s easy, no muss and no fuss.

Now I consider myself a fairly safe driver. I never intentionally try to bother people while I’m driving. That is, I don’t weave in and out of traffic, I don’t try to get ahead of the person in front of me, just to get in front of them, I usually stay within the speed limit or ‘flow of traffic’ while there are people around me, I use my lights ALL THE TIME, I stop at red lights, slow down and usually WILL stop at an amber light, and always look both ways, at least TWICE before crossing an intersection. I use my mirrors religiously, because you never know.

I have been driving since I was 17 years old. My mother once told me, when I asked if I could get my license, that as soon as I can afford a car, they (my parents) would help me get a license. Now what kind of logic is that for a 16 or 17 year old?

Nonetheless, now that I am the age I am, I understand what they were saying. I still can’t afford a car, so by their standards, I shouldn’t have a license. But, when I was 17, a friend of mine taught me drive his VW van in an empty parking lot in the evenings. I used his vehicle to get my license, and well, the rest is history.

Here in Taiwan, having a license to drive, in all honesty is pointless. Most vehicles on the road have plates, but so many of them are outdated. Do the police do anything about it? Too many, I suppose. Also, most foreigners do not have their Taiwan driver’s license anyway. Scooters are passed (or sold) from one to another like a pair of old jeans. As long as you don’t CAUSE an accident, especially here in Tainan, who cares!

People run yellow lights. They barrel on through a red light. They weave in and out of traffic as if they were in a race. The thinking seems to be that there is a pot of gold somewhere, and you have to be the first to claim it. Most people drive like they had to be where they are headed, 10 minutes ago! On the other side of the coin, are those that drive around without helmets, thinking that every day is a Sunday, or that they are the ONLY people who drive… the rest of us are just sitting there watching them.

Okay, so back to the morning… I’m heading into work. I get to an intersection (matters not which one, because most of you reading this won’t know where it is anyway). I am now at a red light, waiting to cross the intersection. The other direction of traffic now has a red light. There is always a delay of about 5 seconds where ALL the traffic signals are red in ALL directions. But that still doesn’t stop some people. As long as no one is crossing the intersection, you can still go through.

My light turns green. As always, I look towards the traffic that WOULD be coming my way to make sure no one is there. Clear. I look the other way to make sure no one is trying to run the red light. All clear. Suddenly, the next thing I know, I’m sprawled out in the middle of the intersection!

Amazing what the mind tends to forget. Now, I know for a fact, because it is just my way, I have always done this, and why should one time be any different, I had looked both ways twice. Once BEFORE starting into the intersection, and again as I’m going through. Now, about a block down, there is always another red light, so how fast could I possibly have been going? 5 km/hr? 10 km/hr? I had JUST started to go through the intersection.

For someone to have hit me, knocked me off the scooter, and it go wheeling around in the intersection, meant they must have been going at a good speed. Where he came from, I won’t know until, if I get the chance, to see the traffic cam. However, at that particular intersection, there is no traffic cam. Of course not… this is why people are so idiotic at that corner!

I stand up, look around, and here is the idiot on his scooter, stopped, and all he is saying is, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” SORRY?? For what? Going through an intersection like a maniac or hitting me? My computer was demolished. My cell phone, as I later discovered, no longer operational. The mirror on my scooter was snapped off! Not broken, but the bolt holding it in place snapped like a toothpick! My wrist was killing me, back hurt, and a sore neck.

All he could do was sit on his ass on his scooter and say, “I’m sorry.” Don’t get off your ass and help me up. Hell no. Just sit and watch. So, I went a little ballistic. Yes, I’ve been known to that once or twice! I blame this temper on being part Irish and French Canadian!

Anyway, I snapped a couple of pictures with the camera. That was about all it could do from that point on. One was of his license plate on his scooter, and one of him. The phone has been replaced, but I was able to get the pictures saved.

Well, since right now, I am unable to download the photos off my NEW (3rd iPhone), when I can, his photo will be displayed prominently.

I have already had a discussion about how to deal with this person. Since there was no damage to him or his scooter, and quite frankly, even though I hate this term, I am the victim, I think he should pay some kind of compensation. Let’s see: loss of wages because of not being able to get into work; loss of a computer; loss of a cell phone; paying a doctor to look over my wrist; medication; hmmm, what about stress? We’ll see what happens.

This isn’t the first accident of this kind, and not the first time it’s happened to me! I just wish people would slow down a bit, and not assume that everyone on the road is looking out for THEM! Leave a few minutes earlier. Drive DEFENSIVELY, not OFFENSIVELY!



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3 responses to “May 20, 2010

  1. Pingback: WaZup! Asia | Blog | 20th May 2010

  2. Beth

    Sorry to hear about your mishap! I was in a car accident on Apr. 20th – maybe the 20th isn’t a good day for us? I was approaching an intersection in the right lane to turn right. There was a plaza driveway on my right before the intersection. The guy in the left lane waved through an oncoming vehicle letting her know it was okay for her to make a left hand turn into the plaza in front of him. Obviously he did not see me in his mirror approaching on his right. That’s his mistake. Second mistake – the young lady approaching just turning in front of him and not checking herself to see if there was anyone approaching. I hit her. I had started to slow down for the corner anyway and when I saw her, I slammed on the brakes. My airbags didn’t deploy so obvioiusly, I wasn’t going that fast. Who taught this girl to drive? She asked me if it was still her fault since the guy waved her through? Really? I calmly explained that yes, she still made an improper left hand turn. I, like you, got my license right away (within a month of turning 16) but one thing my Dad taught me was that no matter what – always make sure the way is clear, check, double check, if the blinker is on, don’t assume the car is turning, wait until you know for sure. The only damage was to the vehicles thankfully – but $4,000 later to my vehicle (100% covered by insurance – even the deductible) and more than a week with a rental car which I hate. I drive a small SUV so driving a regular car after that makes me crazy. No lesson to learn in either case – we both were doing exactly what we were taught, we were careful, doing the right thing but it isn’t always enough. You always have to be on the lookout for the other guy! As someone told me…your things can be replaced, you can’t!

  3. Bilbet

    Your dad’s answer to this would be “afterall his time is much more important than yours.” Sure glad to hear it wasn’t more serious. Idiots who get their licences out of a box of cracker jacks or dispensing machine never do learn.

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