I had an accident in my bed today. It was the other guy’s fault. Technically I pulled out in front of him, but he had to have been going well over the speed limit. Assigning blame seemed pointless, though. We had collided, our furniture was totaled and we should be thankful to be alive.
I rolled off of my deflating mattress. Then, the airpillow deployed, a little late. I was already out of my bed, what was left of it, and approaching the other driver’s desk. “This is all your fault!” I yelled.
Sitting calmly at a damaged wooden desk was a bald man in his forties. He was wearing a dress shirt with a tie, no jacket. He sat still for several seconds, then he moved. His head made a slight turn toward me. Awareness seemed to hit him, like the pen had that was now lodged into his left shoulder. “We crashed,” he said.
“Yeah, didn’t you see me pull out?” I looked at my watch. It was analog, so I took out my cellphone and saw that it was 9:15. My dentist appointment was in fifteen minutes.
The man stepped up from his desk. “I was just driving down the road, and you came out of nowhere.” He glanced over at my bed. “You dreamers never watch where you’re going.”
“I looked! You must have been going too fast.”
“We should probably trade insurance information, and maybe wait around for the cops to arrive. Get an official accounting of the situation, you know.” He picked a paper off the ground which had flown off his desk during the collision. “Do you have a pen?”
I pulled the pen from his torso. “Look, I’m in a hurry,” I explained taking the paper from him. “I have a dentist appointment, so how about I just give you my number, and you can call once this is sorted out.”
He didn’t seem to be listening. Instead he was focused on his wound, applying pressure with his hand. “I’m bleeding,” he said.
“I know, but I really do have a dentist appointment.”
That was true. It was my seventh dentist appointment so far this year and the only one I’d made an attempt to keep. My dentist was obviously beginning to hate me. I hadn’t seen him, but I could sense his hatred in the voice of his receptionist every time she called to reschedule. She’d always start the conversations with, “I see here you missed your appointment yesterday. Would you like to go ahead and reschedule?” Then she’d end with, “And remember, if something comes up, you can always call us and let us know.” She didn’t realize the irony of that. If something came up preventing me from making my appointment, would I really have time to call? So, each appointment went by with my teeth getting more and more questionable. I was nervous during every brush. What if they all fell out? Why do I bother brushing if they might just fall out? Maybe they’re fine…..maybe they’re not fine. It was a very stressful time in my life.
“Can you call 911?” the man asked, clearly ignoring my situation. He started pushing items around on his desk. “I don’t know where my phone went.”
I scribbled down my number on the piece of paper and handed it to him. “If you find it, give me a call.” My bed was now completely flat. I grabbed my Zune from off of what was now just a blanketed tarp. “Good luck with all that,” I said gesturing to the man’s shoulder wound. “Oh, and here.” I handed him back his pen.
There were no taxis around at the moment. I glanced up and down the street for a yellow love seat. They were always difficult to find in Queens. Fortunately, a subway station wasn’t too far from here.
The couch was beginning to get crowded. At the station where I got on, it was fairly empty. I was even able to find a seat. But at the next stop, we hit some kind of morning work rush because crowds poured in, barely letting anyone who wanted to get out. An elderly woman was standing on the armrest next to me. People seemed to be looking at me, as if expecting me to give up my seat to the wrinkled woman. I knew I’d be getting off at the next stop, but the public didn’t realize that. And they were judging me. I wanted to stick to my principles, though. Since when are old people unable to stand up anyway? If she couldn’t, she wouldn’t have made it here, and we wouldn’t be having this standoff.
I sat still, ignoring their passive-aggressive gazes. That’s when a guy stumbled over to me from the other side. I hadn’t even noticed him until he asked, “Could I sit there? I have a cane.” He nodded down at his walking aid.
“Oh, sure,” I said getting up. He took my seat, and I said, “You know, having a cane isn’t really the right excuse, though.”
“Huh?” he sort of grunted.
“Well, I mean, I’m just saying, yeah it’s obvious from your cane that you have some kind of issue that might make it difficult for you to stand, which is why you’d deserve the seat.” I made air-quotes as I said, “deserve”. He still seemed confused, or maybe just uninterested. So, I continued, “You said that you have a cane. I can see that, but having a cane does not make you unable to stand. Being unable to stand causes you to have a cane. You see?”
He nodded and looked away. I was starting to get suspicious. Maybe this guy just had a cane and no underlying condition to merit having a cane. I knew I should have replied that I have asthma and kept my seat, but the couches were already slowing down.
I pushed my way through the crowd. Then, I quickly ran up the steps and out of the station, despite my asthma.
It was now 9:37. Before putting my phone back into my pocket, I tweeted about my accomplishment of having run up steps, hashtag asthma. Shortly after that my phone vibrated. At first I was overjoyed thinking that my tweet got a reply, or maybe even a retweet. But the vibrating continued. I was receiving a call. I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t answer it.
“Let’s have a look.” The dentist was very pleasant. He was doing a good job of hiding his hatred. I’d finally managed to make it in, and after a short wait in the reception area I’d been brought back into this room. The back of the seat moved down, and Dr. Lerner adjusted a light that shone straight at my face.
“It’s been a while since your last checkup,” he said.
I couldn’t reply since he had sharp utensils poking around at my teeth. He continued talking, asking me about my job and family.
I replied, but I don’t know what was actually said. He pretended to understand anyway.
“Everything seems fine,” he said at the end of the checkup. “No cavities.”
“So, I should keep brushing?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he handed me a sugar-free sucker. “Sharon will schedule you for your next checkup.”
I took a taxi back to my apartment. It was 10:50. It had been a long day, and all I wanted to do now was sleep. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option due to the incident from earlier. I’d need to purchase a new bed. I contemplated crashing on the floor when my phone began vibrating. It was the same number from before calling me. This time I answered.
“Hello?” I said, customarily.
“Hi, this is Detective Dan Taylor with the NYPD. We found this number on a paper at a crime scene.”
“Oh, yeah. I was in an accident,” I replied.
“A man was stabbed with a pen,” Detective Taylor added.
“Well, yeah, that happened. It was from the wreck. Desks are notoriously unsafe.”
“Would you be able to come in and make a statement?” he asked.
“No problem,” I answered.
“I’m sending a police table to pick you up.”
“Oh, hey. Don’t bother. I’ll put my statement up on my blog. You can read my side of the story then.”
And so that’s what we have here. Anyone reading can plainly see that it wasn’t my fault. And if you’re out there reading this, Desk Guy, you owe me a new bed.