Shaken, But Not Stirred

Since I can’t sleep anyway, I might as well write.

I got hit by a bus. The car I was driving, I mean. I’m fine, and the car will be fine after repair, but it was another harrowing experience.
Is it just me, or have bus drivers, especially those plying the Fairview-Manila route, worsened in their blatant ignorance of all traffic rules and regulations? I must have been thinking of them too much and getting affected by their snake-like driving from Commonwealth to Taft Ave. that one night, I just found my car being slowly hit by a bus.
It was a rainy night, and rush hour traffic was moving slowly. I knew I was sticking to my lane, however narrow it was due to the inexistent lane division on that part of Quezon Ave., when all of a sudden I felt the collision, and to my utter horror, the bus driver did not stop. It only meant that he did not notice that he was already about to run over an entire car. He was oblivious to my car’s blaring horn. He only stopped the bus when he heard a loud, scraping sound, and I don’t know, maybe his passengers who had better eyesight and awareness of their surroundings noticed what he was doing.
I was all alone, and no matter my 10 years of practice, I still could not compose a single lawyer-like sentence to defend my rights. The driver, his conductor, and ten million other uzi (Pinoy term for people who like to ogle during the oddest and most inappropriate times, like accidents) proceeded to my side of the car. Driver insisted that it was my fault, because, if he had been the one at fault, I would have suffered greater injury. Then he asked me to move my car because his passengers were being inconvenienced. I felt my blood rising.
I should have thanked him for doing a Chavit! (Chavit Singson is the notorious “state witness” who told on his ex-friend Erap, thus starting his impeachment case, and who recently told the media that his lover and her new bf were lucky that he only hurt them and did not have them killed, after he caught them in the act of making love). Oh, thank you bus driver, that I only suffered that injury!
I told him instead that it the vehicles should not be moved until the police officer had had the chance to inspect the scene and make a sketch of the collision. Well, maybe in not that clear a manner, for I was in distress and close to tears. I willed myself not to cry in anger and frustration. I had to think.
It was hard to think. I could not focus. It was dark, it was raining, and I had been in that situation before, but for some reason – tiredness, maybe, or panic – I could not think straight. After a couple of minutes of quick prayer, I told myself that I had to pull myself together. I called up my family and friends to ask for help. I was so helpless and alone and I needed a lawyer, a policeman, a family member, and a friend.
I got what I wanted. They all came at the same time. The traffic police came first, and he was very efficient. I trusted him on instinct, and he was nice to me. I don’t think it had anything to do with where I worked. He must have seen that it was the bus driver’s fault and I was the victim, for he walked me through the entire ordeal and made me feel safe, that everything was going to be alright.
My brother was in a meeting, but he sent my sister-in-law, who immediately took photos and assured me with her presence. I wanted to cry when I saw her, but stopped myself again. She accompanied me to the police station, and only left when my friend, the lawyer, arrived.
My lawyer was no stranger to car accidents, having herself been in one last week, where I played the role of lawyer. She was the calm one while I tried to control my anger, and came up with a wise strategy that solved my problem for the night. She advised that we aim for a cash settlement outright. The policemen were very, very helpful. They did their job well without a single centavo from any of the parties. There is hope for this country. Goodness still exists underneath the rough exterior of people.
After a long, restless wait, the bus company operator arrived and the dreaded negotiation began. I tried to recall everything I had learned about those situations, but no concept or idea came to mind. That was what TSP was there for. She assisted me when I began arguing with the obviously drunk operator. The policemen let us come up with an agreement before they came in. They too were surprised that the owner/operator paid in cold cash, although his hands were shaking while he was counting the money.
This experience woke me up to many things, but one thing I know, is that when trials hit one after another, instead of complaining, I should be grateful, that God provides the means to triumph over them one by one. Worst things could have happened, my parents said when I related the story. I could have been hurt. My nephew asked his mom to tell me that he was glad that I was not hurt and that he loved me. I had wonderful friends who were praying for me and who offered help even though they could not be physically present.
Ironically, it’s the bus operator’s statement that summarized the experience. “Nobody is perfect on the road,” he said. That’s right. I realized that if accidents happen, as they sometimes do, there are much more things to be grateful for. As I told a friend when he asked me how I was after the accident, “I’m shaken, but not stirred.” It was a bad thing to happen, but good things came out of it.
I close with the psalm for today that I read this morning before going to work:
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart in the company and assembly of the just. Great are the works of the LORD, exquisite in all their delights. (Ps. 111, 1-2)
For what can I say? He answered all my prayers tonight. I will sleep with that comforting thought. I will bring the car to the talyer this weekend. No driving for me for a few days.
Will also pray if it’s time to move.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. aragsag
    Sep 16, 2009 @ 19:16:44

    Ella, I am glad you were not in harm's way. The car was for sure, but YOU WERE SAFE! Thank God. I am teary-eyed reading your post. I recall my experience too years back, when I was alone, with no family and no close friend to call while doing my fieldwork in Gensan. :(((


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