Today was a strange day. In one sense it was a royal pain in the ass, but when I think about how it might have been, I have to consider Isa and me very lucky. We were running late to meet Poppa on the Upper West Side to pick him up to then head into Brooklyn where we’d spend the day with Granny Dani and Eduardo’s goddaughter visiting from Mexico. We were all excited for the family to be together and for Anita to meet Isa. When I got the stroller to the lobby of our apartment building I realized I had forgotten Isa’s Peanut shell carrier, so I went back to the apartment to look for it. After a minute of looking, I realized his father must have taken it with him, so I headed out to the car again. At the very moment I stepped onto the sidewalk, a few yards from my parked car, I watched a woman drive her BMW into the front of my car. A voice in my head yelled, “Oh NO!” as I heard the metal crunching. But there was nothing I could do; the damage was done. The front driver’s side of the car was smashed in, the new tire flattened. I yelled to the woman in the car to stop and she pulled over saying she wasn’t going anywhere. When she got out of the car I could see she was visibly shaken and she had a baby in the backseat. Apparently when she turned the corner of our block her baby car seat flipped over with the baby inside, she turned around to reach for the baby and then slammed into my parked car.
Now I could consider myself really unlucky that for all the cars on the block, she had to hit mine. Or I could ask, “Why didn’t I go food shopping this morning like I had planned, then the car would have been parked somewhere else?”
But then I think what would have happened if Isa and I had been getting into the car at that moment? Had I not gone back to the apartment to search for the peanut shell, Isa and I would have been standing there when she hit the car and I might not be telling this story.
I took a look at this woman’s baby car seat and found that it wasn’t even attached to the seat; someone had simply pulled a seat belt across it and buckled it in, so any side to side motion caused the whole thing to upturn. I was astounded that anyone in their right mind would drive a baby like this. I want to unleash a flurry of curses right now but in the interest of not polluting the blog with profanity, I’ll leave it at: “What the hell was this woman thinking????!!!”
It gets better. The police came to take an accident report and I told them to take a look at her car seat because it was not installed properly. I asked the cop, isn’t that a violation? He said he wasn’t sure and if it was, it was one of the minor ones and he wasn’t going to enforce it. What? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I said, “Well she can’t drive away with the baby not secured. Not only is it horribly unsafe, as this accident clearly demonstrated, it’s actually ILLEGAL!” The cops’ answer was to tell the woman to DRIVE to the nearest precinct where someone who was properly trained could install it for her and if not, then she should go home and have her husband read the manual. Can you believe this? I was so outraged that after the cops left, I took her damn car seat out and properly installed it myself.
I remember when we were getting ready for Isa’s birth, I was so concerned that we figure out the car seat that I spent hours reading the manual and practicing installing it. I felt that it was my responsibility as a parent to do my homework. How can people be so irresponsible with their children?
Needless to say, we never made it to Brooklyn and we missed the family gathering with Anita. That’s the glass half empty. But the truth is we are very grateful that Isa and I are all right. In spite of this, Isa and I actually had a great day together at home. He was a doll throughout the whole ordeal. He was patient while we waited for the cops to do their report and he was content to hang out in the Moby wrap while I made call after call to get the car towed to a body shop. Then we had a delicious nap in the late afternoon as the rainbow maker lit up our living room. I guess to Isa, it was a wonderful, quiet day home with mommy all to himself and that’s got to be good.