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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Shannon

A rude by any other name

I drove over to Ballynahinch today to meet my cousin for lunch. In the public car park, I parked in a space beside a stationary 4x4 Suzuki Grand Vitara, pulled on my hand brake and switched off the engine. The 4x4 driver mustn’t have checked her surroundings and swung round hard on her steering wheel, hitting my car as she reversed out. She scraped, dented, and scrunched into my driver’s side so I had to clamber over the gear stick and out my passenger door. She was hostile and rude as she approached me. Out of courtesy I asked her if she was okay.

"No," she snapped. "I'm not. Give me your insurance information!" I leaned into my passenger side to open my handbag to look for it, and asked politely for hers. "I don't have it," she snapped again.

I found a pen but could only find a bookmark for one of my novels. I didn't want to give that to her so I asked if she had a piece of paper we could use. "No," was the answer in her now customary rude tone.

I searched again, and when I couldn't find anything I asked her one more time, careful to be polite, of course. When she answered negatively again, I said, "Then, we're in a bit of a pickle, aren't we?"

She grunted and I rummaged in my car door pocket, produced a CD case, removed the cardboard cover and tore a strip to write on. My hands were shaking from nerves so the writing looked feathery and jagged.

As I handed it to her I asked, "Did you not see me?"

She blustered. "Did you not see me? Why didn't you see me?"

I looked her in the eye and stated, "You were stationary when I pulled in."

"I wasn't ... " Then she scurried to her car, got in and began to reverse.

I quickly got my phone and started taking photos because I thought she was going to drive off. She pulled into an adjacent space and got back out. I asked her for her contact details, and she barked them at me as I scribbled them down. She snatched my pen from me and made a big deal of copying down my car licence plate, then thrust the pen back at me.

"Thank you," I said. "Take care."

"Sorry about this," she growled as she got back into her car, then drove off.

I put coins in the ticket machine, affixed it to my windshield, locked up the car and headed to the restaurant to meet Clare.

Accidents happen, I know. That's why we have insurance. So, was it necessary for her to be so rude? The more polite I was the more angry it made her!

In the restaurant, poor Clare had to wait while I called the police and made a report, then my insurance company. It took over half an hour before we could settle and catch up. And it was a lovely time, as always. She's a sweetheart.

As soon as I got home I returned the calls that the insurance company had made to me. I am totally blown away by how accommodating and helpful and sympathetic they were. They assured me it was obvious I wasn't at fault, and have already arranged for a man from an approved car repair shop to come and collect my car tomorrow, and deliver a courtesy car for me to use while it's being fixed. This will all be billed to Mrs. Rude's insurance company. I have to say I highly recommend Hughes Insurance, Northern Ireland. They have been amazing to me today.


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