Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Criss Cross Crash

So we were driving from my parents' home to lunch at my sister-in-law's house in the Vinings/Mableton area of West Atlanta on the day after Thanksgiving. Just me and my Doodle, motoring down the expressway and cracking jokes with each other.

"Emmie? You smell that?"
"Your bootie."
"Nuh-uh, iss your bootie!"

Because "your bootie smells" jokes never get old.

But, as I do on a regular basis, I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque. As a result, I ended up on the Road Formerly Known as Bankhead Highway. This is not the safest area of town, well-known for gang activity. But I still felt safer there than I do on Augusta's south side some nights.

I checked Google Maps on my Blackberry but couldn't get a bead on where I went wrong. These programs always give directionals I don't understand, like "go north on whatever road." Where the frack is North?! I'm in Atlanta! It's not like I can check a tree to see what side the moss is growing on.

While I looked for somewhere safe to turn around, we ended up at an intersection where I had to choose between driving straight into what looked like an industrial complex or bearing right. So I bore right.

My mistake. It seems the person behind me was also bearing right - right past my car at 200 miles an hour! A black SUV tried to pass me illegally by squeezing around on my left and hopping the curb with its tires. Two cars in the same lane? What could be better? Like peanut butter and chocolate!

Smash! The steering wheel jerked hard in my hands as fiberglass exploded in the air around us, skittering across my windshield and raining onto the pavement.

"What the (bleep)!" I yelped.

The black SUV lurched to a stop 50 yards ahead of where I came to a rest.

"Dangit... You okay, Doodle?"

She was fine. Hardly even scared. I put my blinker on and looked back to see if I could get to the side of the road. Then I turned to see where the SUV was parking.

Um... they weren't.


The car was speeding ahead, away from the accident scene. I gunned it and dialed 911.


"I've just been sideswiped by a black SUV on David Lee Hollowell. I'm in a tan Dodge Stratus. The SUV is leaving the scene, and I'm trying to catch him."

"Okay. Where are you stopped?"

"I'm not. I'm following him. He's running."

"What road are you on?"

"I don't know, now. I was on Hollowell."

"Are you going east or west?" Really, people? We weren't all Boy Scouts.

"I don't know. I'm coming up on a red light at Northside Drive, I think. The SUV's stopped, so - HEY!"

"What's going on, ma'am?"

"He just blew through the red light. Dammit... I'm not going to do that."

Emmie's fine in the back seat. Not scared. If anything, she's interested and excited. But I'm not going to blow through a red light and chase this idiot. It's too dangerous.

"Ma'am? Did you get a license plate?"

(sigh) I never got close enough.

I return to the scene, and the dispatcher notifies an officer to meet us.

"Mama?" Emmie asks, politely having waited her turn while I was on the phone. "Did dat man juss' hit our car and den dribe off?!"

She is outraged. Her indignation is a constant source of amusement for me.

"Dats... dats... dats not cool!" she sputters. "Why did he do dat?"

"I don't know, Em. To make our car even more awesome."

"Wull, I call him a ayesshole!"

"... What?!"

"I call him a - "

"No! I heard you."

I can't help it. It's the moment of levity I needed. I laugh until I cry. The way she said "asshole" - the Southern drawl, the extra syllables - I've heard it said like that before, by a family member whom I shall not name. I know from whom she's heard the word regularly enough to get the right context and the unique pronunciation. And the thought of the horror that relative would feel makes me laugh even harder. I'll never tell.

My laughing just makes Emmie angrier. She growls and kicks the back of my seat: "Don' laff at me!"

"Emmie!" I gasp. "That's not nice. I'm not laughing at you. But that was a bad word you said."

Her eyebrows lift. "It wuz?"

"Yes. We don't say that word, sweetie."

Her face collapses. "I diddin know!"

"I know. That's why it's funny. If you did know, you'd lose a privilege. But you didn't - it was sort of an accident - so I'll just tell you. Now you know, and you won't say it anymore, right?"

"Only grown-ups can say it?"

"Well... we really shouldn't say it, either."

We wait for about half an hour while I text family members to explain the delay. In the interim, I tease Emmie about her slip.

"What was that you called him again?"

"I not goeend say it, Mama."

"Oh, but I forgot the word!"

"Ayesshole," she whispers.

"HAAAA! You said it!"


And then more cackling while she kicks the back of my seat in anger. Before I grew tired of the game, an officer arrived.

"What's the problem, ma'am?"

"A black SUV sideswiped me and drove off."


"Right here at this corner."

"I see. Where is he now?"

What? I don't know!

"He. Drove. Away."

"Did you get a tag number?"

"No, sir. I could never get close enough."

"What direction did he go?"

"That one," I point.

"East? West?"



  1. You had quite an adventure. Glad you're both okay. Were you sore at all during the next couple of days? Don't forget to get the car realigned whether or not you had to get any damage repaired, wouldn't want you to have uneven wear on the tires because of it. I love how you handled the "bad word" and the reality check about south side of Augusta.