7:00 My friend and fellow carpooler, Susan announced on the way to school that she was too sick to work today and would call her cab driver to take her to the hospital. I said, oh no, I’ll take you. The kids wouldn’t arrive for an hour and a half and I could easily get to the hospital and back in that time.
7:10 Going around a roundabout the car in the lane one over decided to cut in front of me, bashing into me hard enough to turn my car 90 degrees. He hit his brakes and pulled off to the side ahead. A good Samaritan stopped, made sure we were okay and then pulled his car ahead to talk to the other driver. I looked over my shoulder at the traffic building up behind me, decided that I shouldn’t move the car because the law says you are to stay at the scene of the accident – right where you were – until the traffic police arrive. I looked forward to see if the other driver or the good Samaritan were contacting the police and they were gone. Gone! Bastards! Leaving the scene of an accident! And me! So I got out my rental agreement, found the police number and called to tell them I’d had an accident and the other driver had gone. They told me to wait and someone would be right there, as soon as they figured out where “there” was.
7:30-8:30 I spoke to at least three different officers and told them where I was at least twice each. I happened to be at the only roundabout in Al Ain that isn’t named and the hospital across the street apparently wasn’t a good enough landmark. Three other people stopped to ask if we needed help and I had the last one call the police again to tell them where we were. Eventually, the officer called and told us to meet him further up the road. He asked if we’d gotten the plate number of the other driver. Uh, no, because where he stopped we couldn’t see it and both of us were so rattled that it didn’t occur to us that he wasn’t stopping for the duration. The traffic cop inspected my license and registration and told me to meet him at the accident office at the traffic complex.
8:30-9:00 We went to the accident office and were told to wait until the officer arrived. By this point both of us had to use a bathroom so we asked where it was. “Go to the building across the plaza. Beside.” Susan and I sallied forth, across the plaza to the side of the building. The bathroom opened directly outside, had no toilet paper and no light source other than the vents in the door. Mother Nature was insistent so we got tissues out of our purses and managed in the dark. Sadly, this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with a totally dark bathroom. Probably not the last either. Relieved, we went back to the office and took a seat. The traffic officer came in, did something on the computer and told us we had to go to the investigation office so they could look at the car. Out the parking lot, around the roundabout and back up the other side of the same road to the door just before the next roundabout.
9:00 He meant gate. We went through the gate, parked and went inside where we waited a few minutes. The guy at the counter noticed that the accident had been that morning and asked why we came so soon. Um, because the officer told us to? We were on the way to the hospital so Susan could see a doctor about her cold. I just wanted to go teach my students the magic of the letter B. I would not be at a police station, sick and frazzled if I had been given a choice. Then he walked out with us and looked at the car. By that I mean, he looked said,” oh yeah, you were in an accident. This looks like rubber. I don’t think there’s any damage. Did you get the plate number?” That again. He told us we must think like police women and always get the plate number. I told him I was a kindergarten teacher and could control 23 5-year-olds with a dark look and that was the extent of my superpowers. He laughed. Then he took us back inside, explained the situation to some other guy who stamped my accident report and sent us back to the
9:30-10:30 Back to the accident office where we waited a few minutes. The desk officer called us up and asked what parking lot we were in. Naturally I had parked in the wrong lot. I had to go down the road to the roundabout go right and right again and then park so he could take pictures of the damage. Moving the car should be easy, right? There were two exits and one entrance and all the spaces were marked in Arabic. We sat dumbfounded until someone coming out gestured for us to follow as he went back to his car and pulled out of a space that wasn’t marked in any language so we could park. Then we went back inside and waited. Eventually desk officer gestures for us to follow. At the door another officer is escorting in a big guy in a white candoora and shiny silver handcuffs. I pulled Susan out of the way to let them pass. Always let the officer escorting the big handcuffed man go first. Outside the desk officer takes pictures of our car, pictures of another guy’s car and escorts all of us back in the office and tells us to wait. While we did so, Susan and I made lemonade out of the situation and discussed that fact that both the officers we dealt with were cute and considered their attributes. (Their general attributes. The uniforms weren’t that tight.)
10:45ish The desk officer calls me up and in the course of conversation I say something about needing a paper for the rental company. This is not the first time this has been mentioned. We told the officer at (or near anyway) the scene. We told the desk officer when we arrived. We told the investigation officer. I’m surprised we didn’t tell the cleaning guy and random other accident victims. The desk officer exchanges a look with the guy next to him. I say, “Is this a problem?” Apparently I need some kind of paper from the rental company since they are the owners of the car. I joked with the officer about not wanting to do it because at that point I was still in a pretty good mood and being my usual easy going, cheerful self. Then off we go to the rental office.
11:00 They can’t give me the paper I need because the manager is out of the office. They will courier it to me, but before I go they want to inspect the car to make sure it’s safe.
11:00-Noon There have been several trips in and out and discussions about the deductible on my insurance and something about owing on a ticket (because as the victim of a hit and run, I should be given a ticket.) By that time the manager was on his way back and Susan was flagging fast, recall, she was too sick to teach, this was way beyond the pale. Ten minutes after the manager walked in we had the loaner and the assurance that not only would they get the car fixed, but they would finish filing the paperwork with the traffic police and so sorry you had to wait that long.
Noon-Utterly starved and frazzled we headed for Al Ain Mall to hit the food court. I immediately got lost and we were forced to take the scenic route.
1:00-1:45 We finally arrive at the hospital. I deposited Susan at the ENT clinic and went to the GP clinic where I was told by the nurse who took my blood pressure that my pulse was fast and my blood pressure was elevated. No, really? I wonder why? You s’pose it has something to do with that car accident I JUST told you about? I said none of this. The doctor told me he could do nothing for me and I needed to go downstairs to the orthopedic clinic, but he was sure I’d be able to see a doctor right away. Ah, no. All the morning doctors were finishing their shifts and taking no new patients. The one doctor on afternoon duty was due in at 2 but he already had five cases waiting so it would be at least an hour. I asked the nurse, how would it be if I just went home, took an OTC painkiller and a hot bath and if it was worse in the morning I would come back? She told me to come in at 8:15. I went back to the ENT clinic to wait for Susan.
2:00-2:30 We went to get Susan’s meds at the hospital pharmacy. It took a while. My good humor had deserted me in the ortho clinic with my adrenaline.
2:30 Headed home I turned wrong again and because of the way the road are set up here, I couldn’t just turn around. Since we had to go right past the really good grocery store, I asked Susan if she wanted to stop. Food had revived her some and the prospect of being stuck in her apartment for 2 days foodless (as she had gotten a sick note for that long) gave her a little energy. In the store I passed an Emirati man who said hello. Not surprising. He asked what I was doing. I said grocery shopping and walked away because I could already see where this was headed. He followed me to another aisle where he asked me if I lived in the UAE. Really, how do you answer that question after you’ve told someone you’re grocery shopping? I said yes and moved away. He followed me again and asked if I was here with my family. I lied and said yes. He asked if I was with my husband. I lied again and said yes. He said, “Give me your number.” I said, no. And he walked away.
3:00 Finally headed home I related to Susan my encounter with the Emirati man and she said, “You’ve been hit and run twice in one day by Emiratis.”