I had a minor fender bender leaving work yesterday.
I pulled out of my parking lot, had accelerated to about 5-10 mile an hour, and BAM. Someone was backing out of the parking lot next door to my office and hit my passenger side headlight. No injuries. Minimal vehicle damage. But.
It was the weirdest encounter I think I've ever had. Due to my insurance experience, I started snapping photos, called the police, and began hunting for documents. The guy apologized, admitted he didn't even see me, and asked if I was ok.
The awkwardness began when I called the non-emergency police number. I told the lady I needed to report a non-injury accident, and she began to ask my whereabouts.
Me: "I'm on ABC road, right across the street from Steak and Shake." (Believe it or not, I live in one of the bigger cities in Kentucky, but we still reference landmarks.)
Dispatch: "Across from Chase?!"
Me: "NO. Steak and Shake." (much more slowly.)
Dispatch: ABC Trace?!
Me. "NO. Steak and Shake." (even more slowly.)
Dispatch: Oh. Ok. I'll send someone.
I hung up, only to start talking to the gentleman that hit me. He started asking me several questions. "So, I pay like $120 a month already on my insurance, is this going to make it worse?" "You work in insurance, are they going to cancel me?" "Want to see my artwork?"
No joke guys, this character pulled out several notepads and started showing me several drawings he completed. I complimented his work, and he started telling me that he didn't have a job in art because FAFSA wasn't working. I nodded, and tried to alert my mother that Jason would be picking Ethan up, and that everything was ok.
We sat in silence after the police arrived and he began to run our information. Awkward silence wasn't working for my co-accident partner, so he started talking again.
"So, want to hear my luck? Someone broke into my house right before I lost my job at the gas station."
"I can't find a new job either."
"I think I might have to give my dog away."
I finally looked at him said, "You just described a country song to me."
He said, "Nah, I hate country music. I'm into heavy metal. A teacher from my high school told me she didn't understand how I drew such beautiful pictures but listened to such crap."
Me: "To each his own, I guess."
Jason called again to check on me, and I again began to tell him about the minor damage. The guy that hit me felt as though he was apart of this conversation, and began discussing/agreeing with me what the damage looked like. He also began to tell me that his car wasn't damaged at all, just a "little bit of sandpaper and spray paint would take that scuff right out." Well. Glad to know he wouldn't be out a deductible for his own vehicle.
After what seemed like an hour, the policeman was struggling with my registration information. It turned out that my license plate did not match my registration papers, an error in the office downtown. He was explaining to me how to correct it, and also explaining it to dispatch on his walkie-talkie. For some reason, the guy that hit me felt it necessary to join the conversation.
"Hey, officer, want to hear what my old car used to have on its plate?! 666!!! BAHAHAHAHA, isn't that funny?! I can't believe they issued that on someone's license plate on their car."
The poor office raised his eyebrows and muttered something along the lines of "well, how about that." He smiled, said "Go Sox" (it pays to love the Red Sox!) and said we were free to go.
Do you try to make small talk with the people you are involved in an accident with? How far are you willing to go with disclosure for small talk?