Archive for the ‘Accident’ Category

Service of What’s Your Rush?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

Crosswalks in midtown Manhattan

New Yorkers are impatient and usually in a rush. I live in a giant building. A young person entering an adjacent apartment the other night couldn’t take time for a hasty civil greeting or grunt as he opened his door. [I hope he is a houseguest.]

A friend shared a far worse example. His in-law was hit by a car in a Manhattan crosswalk. One driver stopped his car and waved the 85-year-old pedestrian to cross. An impatient woman in the car behind swung around, struck and dragged the old man 30 feet. She was arrogant and unapologetic. He suffered in the hospital for months. His funeral is Monday.

I hear countless newscasters say, after a shooting, knifing, fire, accident or vicious fight, “the victim is expected to fully recover.” Is that to make us feel better? Does it blunt the repercussion of acting rashly as the driver did in the example above? We heard those words about Mr. Pelosi. How can an 85-year-old with a scull cracked so badly he needed surgery “fully recover?” I get a headache thinking about his injury. A policeman or woman, once shot, must suffer some aftereffect where the bullet entered their body even after they’ve “fully recovered.” And what about the psychological consequences?

Even though traffic may cause fits we have fewer reasons to feel rushed. In the day, I recall frantically looking for a payphone when I couldn’t catch a cab and thought I’d be late for a client meeting. We are so lucky to be able to let someone know we’re running late by text or call from almost everywhere. It sure takes the pressure off and if in public transportation we have time to catch up as we can respond to texts and emails. These advantages don’t seem to impact behavior.

Rushing is not just a NYC thing. We suffered dangerously impatient drivers when for 25 years we spent time upstate. Have you observed negative outcomes from hurrying? Are we inured to the physical pain we might inflict on others because we so often hear that victims even of accidents will make full recoveries?

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Service of Say it Isn’t So: Promises, Promises

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

Image by Jacquelynne Kosmicki from Pixabay 

This is a true story.

Five women were close friends. They’d been through a lot together, took breaks from their busy lives to meet for dinner and even went on weekend trips. They all had families and jobs yet were in touch frequently week-to-week.

Tragedy struck when the husband of one of them was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A tree fell on his car cutting into it and landing on his stomach. He had many surgeries and still has residual issues.

His wife told her friends that if they received the insurance money they expected–$3million to him and $600,000 for her stress and having to care for him—to celebrate her husband’s recovery she would take them all on a fabulous trip.         

The money came through and that’s the last the four friends heard from her. She no longer responded to texts or phone calls. They learned that her family moved to another state and opened a restaurant. They weren’t invited to the opening.

We read stories—who knows if they are true—about celebrities who drop old friends as they rise up the ladder of success.

I have made statements such as “if I win the lottery………….” and I’ve delighted in what I would do with the riches. One of my favorite daydreams is to send cards to friends and then envisioning their reactions at an enclosed check for $15,000, or whatever tax-free gifts are these days. [Don’t plan your cruise just yet. Every few months when I remember to buy a ticket I win $1.00.] Would I be like the woman in this story? I like to think not. What about you? Is the infidelity of a friend far worse than the forfeiture of a promised trip?

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Service of Who Pays When Something Breaks at Home

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Erica Martell brought one of Philip Galanes’ “Social Q’s” columns to my attention. It involved Sandy’s boyfriend who’d inadvertently broken a bride’s expensive wedding gift wineglass at a dinner the new couple prepared shortly after the nuptials.

Sandy explained to Galanes: “He [the boyfriend] may have said, ‘Let me replace it.’ But my cousin didn’t respond; she was sweeping up the glass. Yesterday, I received an email from her with a little note and a receipt for a new wineglass. Tacky?”

Galanes thought if the receipt came with a gracious note, i.e. “How kind of you to offer to replace the wineglass. We’ve never owned such a fancy set before,” it would not be in bad taste as opposed to “Invoice attached, butterfingers.” And, observed the New York Times columnist, Sandy’s boyfriend apparently did offer to pay. [Remember, Sandy wrote he may have offered to replace the glass.]

Recently someone broke one of a pair of china cups a loved one had given me. [She threw it out so I gather it was in smithereens.] I still can’t look at its partner without wincing and it’s not replaceable. I wouldn’t in a million years suggest the person try. She felt badly. Breakable things break.

Over years, one guest burned a cigarette hole in upholstery and another broke a Sheraton chair’s back by tipping against the wall on the chairs back legs. Nobody offered to pay and I didn’t expect them to. It’s the cost of having guests and living with upholstered furniture and antiques. If red wine spills on a favorite tablecloth I should have served white wine–so it’s my fault. [With today’s spot removers, so far I’ve done a great job in getting out the stains.]

Do you think that the bride should have presented an invoice for the wineglass and that the guest should pay? Has someone accidentally broken or ruined anything of yours? Then what happened?


Service of Selfish Redux

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Service of Selfish Redux

Here are some new instances to add to the rest previously covered in this blog.

Reflect on This

When I got to the house a few Fridays ago, all four reflective markers astride the two entrances to our driveway were missing. There are so many more expensive things to steal from a property I couldn’t imagine why anyone would take our markers. [They cost less than $3 each.] I mentioned this puzzle to the man at Home Depot in Poughkeepsie who directed me to the markers aisle and he suggested, “You saved someone from making the trip here to get them like you had to.” Markers are essential on our country road as no streetlights alert a driver to the driveway that has a 6-foot high wood fence on either side.

Who knows if he guessed right but gosh, it rang so possible these days and so quickly popped out of his mouth he must have known of other instances of petty theft like this. I hadn’t thought of it. [As the ground is frozen, I had to hammer a screwdriver in it to make a hole to hold each marker.]

Hit and Run

The Home Depot cashier told me what just happened to her daughter’s fiancé. He was driving her daughter’s car, an old one that had taken her years of savings to overhaul when a car slammed into him making him, in turn, crash into the car ahead. The car was totaled. Meanwhile the car that caused the mess dashed away, a hit and run.

Hit and Run–but Stopped

Another cashier, a young woman at Trader Joe’s in Manhattan, told me that she’d been run into by a car in the city and that she was nevertheless lucky on several counts. On impact she flew in the air and first landed on the hood of the car which was softer than the street where she eventually toppled. This driver started to run but witnesses jumped into action. An imposing Puerto Rican man, she said, stood in front of the car with his hands in the air indicating “STOP” which prevented the driver from moving forward while others called the police. [Better news: She said that these days her injured back only twinges once in a while.]

“What’s yours is mine,” is nothing new to those who turn to theft for a living or because they don’t have time to buy what you own and they need. As for the drivers in the hit and run instances, I can imagine how frightened they must have been, especially the man who ran into the young girl. How might we dust off and refresh the Golden Rule to help people override natural tendencies?

Service of Road Rage

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Can't Speed Poster turned

I recently got a speeding ticket—my first–so I now follow limits to the letter, much to the irritation of drivers behind me. I want to print a sign for my rear window that explains that I must dawdle [an example above] as according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, I’ll surely hear about it. “Gesturing, honking and yelling at other drivers were significantly more prevalent in the Northeast,” wrote Joan Lowy for the Associated Press.

According to the 2,705 licensed drivers queried in 2014, [just published], in addition to yelling and honking, drivers said that they cut off others and the AAA Foundation reported that about 8 million did worse: “bumping or ramming a vehicle on purpose or getting out of their cars to confront another driver.” Lowy also wrote that 104 million—half of all drivers—tailgated and “about 1 in 4 drivers said they had purposely tried to block another driver from changing lanes, and nearly 12 percent reported they had cut off another vehicle on purpose.”

An indication of aggressive driving, wrote Lowy, is speeding and running red lights, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports is involved in two-thirds of crash deaths, over 35,000 last year.

Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association pointed out that people don’t yell or make angry gestures when walking behind a slow pedestrian but that somehow it’s OK in a the “relatively anonymous confines of our cars.”

Have you done any of these things or been the victim when others did them to you? Are you surprised people admitted to these actions? Why does it take two years to publish/promote results of such a survey?

Service of Watch Out: Take Special Care When Driving or Walking in the City

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Car Accident Second AvenueAs a longtime driver in both city and country apart from the whammy of nasty weather–especially ice, fog or blinding rain–there wasn’t too much to concern me. I figured in the city the worst that could happen was a fender-bender given speed limits.

All that’s changed.

Deer surprise-leaping onto roads and smashing into cars are an ever-present danger upstate making vigilance imperative even in sunshine on a crisp fall day.

There are no deer to surprise city drivers but the other distractions and impediments aggravated by traditional NYC impatience also affect driving and especially walking in the Big Apple. There have always been accidents involving vehicles running over New Yorkers and tourists, even leaping onto sidewalks. They were attributed to road rage, physical impairment and faulty brakes.

Car Accident 90th StreetWhat’s different is that these incidents–almost misses–have happened over the past two months and I’ve photographed the aftermath. It’s disquieting. One vehicle [Photo at top] landed on a midtown Second Avenue sidewalk at a time people walk to work. Another [Photo at right] backed up on Third Avenue at such a speed that it crossed a side street, jumped the sidewalk [where pedestrians might have been waiting] and stopped by slamming into an apartment building.

In the city I worry about distracted pedestrians intent on communicating as they walk down a sidewalk or wait for a light. They are a danger to themselves. I’m concerned about older people who can’t jump out of the way or children who are intently chatting or are oblivious to their surroundings, lost in the reverie of the music coming from ear pods.

Add bicycles and skateboards that don’t always follow traffic rules. A recent New York Post headline was: “Nicole Kidman bowled over by paparazzo on bike” and showed photos of the actor picking herself off the sidewalk.

The East 40s were awash with police during the annual September meeting of the UN General Assembly. I saw a pair crossing a street with the light on Friday morning. One of them barely missed being mowed down by a bicycle. The rider hadn’t stopped at his red light and dashed into Second Avenue traffic treating the city like a racetrack. The policeman put on a brave front chuckling when his partner and traffic colleagues teased him. He might have been severely injured.

Have you also been aware of increased road craziness in your town or city? Is it caused by a general malaise leading to distracted drivers and pedestrians or has the well recognized lack of courtesy or awareness of others moved from human interactions to bigger and more physically dangerous arenas?


Service of Responsibility

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

nascarGolfer Roray McIlroy accidentally hit a fan in the head with his ball at the British Open in Lytham St Annes last week.

The ball of an 11 year old New Jersey boy went rogue and hit a bystander. He was warming up the relief pitcher in the bullpen at a Little League facility.

Accidents happen. You go to a NASCAR event and if you’re in the wrong spot in the stands you might find a piece of metal in your arm caused by flying shards from a crash on the track. Ball boys and girls at tennis tournaments can easily get bonged. I suppose you could even find a giant wrestler in your lap if your seat is by the ring. What if a fan hurts him or herself trying to catch a foul ball?

little-leagueThe now 13 year old Little Leaguer is being sued by the woman who was hit, according to news reports, for $150,000 for medical expenses plus an unknown amount for “pain and suffering.” Sidebar: I was brought before a judge and the two lawyers during a voir dire in NYC civil court a few years ago because one of my questions was, “Will the jury be given parameters to define the financial range of pain and suffering in this case?”  I was told “no” and excused from that case’s jury pool.

When you go to a sports event, do you accept the potential hazards of doing so? Should people who attend a free event sign a release or if they buy a ticket, should there be 2-point type written by lawyers on the backs of each one that discharges the producers or players from potential suits in cases of inadvertent harm to bystanders?


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