Asbury Adventure Gone Wrong

[Originally written on this date in 2005]

Since we had such an amazing time in NYC, I wanted to have the chance to talk to Jon about a number of things and so invited him out for an evening of music and bowling down in Asbury.  He was more than flattered by the direct manner in which this was delivered, to the point where he was momentarily at a lack of words.  In fact, he needed a distraction since there was an issue with the Mercury that had him questioning the trade, and accepted with enthusiasm while citing I would have to be on driving duty for the evening.

The whole day I was distracted with styling my hair, applying makeup with precision and changing my outfit at least three times.  My phone is buzzing and I have a message telling me to look outside.  Jon is standing by my car, a smile plastered on his face as he waves.  It is one of those strange things that just happens you shouldn’t ask about.  The dreams I had about him that morning did nothing to soothe my nervousness, and I admit much swooning occurred while engaged in our Hollywood Moment.  Nothing else mattered as I became fixated on the comfort of his embrace, the smell of his cologne overpowering the usual aroma of licorice and leather which accompanied his presence.

The rain and heavy fog set the scene for me driving darkened rural roads while we smoked a joint and listening to a Link Wray mixtape he made for the occasion.  Even after all the years we had been friends, Jon still had the ability to surprise me, though it was without his usual display of prestidigitation.  It also did not take long for him to start making jokes about the Jersey Devil and other creatures rumored to haunt the highways, which had me laughing so hard my ribs hurt.

Once we got into town he was making suggestions of places we could go to finish the smoke and imbibe a bit of booze he brought before hitting up the Lanes.  Casually cruising down the street, my face was starting to ache from the smile across it but my mouth could have fallen off for all I cared.  All plans were null and void within a matter of minutes.

Passing through a four-way intersection, I had the flashing yellow light and slowed down to the appropriate local speed.  As soon as I entered it, there was a realization that the car coming up the side street to my right was not making any attempt to either slow down or stop despite having the flashing red light that clearly means stop.  Watching the car enter the intersection, I curse loudly and hit the brakes.  Slow motion impact. Heard it. Felt it. A thrid [white] car coming from the opposite direction of me gets hit too.

Jon wastes no time in hiding the joint and flask as a woman clutches my hand, asking if we are alright.  For some reason I am mostly upset about my car on account it had just been fixed, then concerned for my passenger kicked in and I had my best friend holding me as though I would disappear if he let me go.  The woman is telling me that she was behind me and saw the whole thing, assuring me what happened was not my fault.  Though standing a few yards away with a cell phone and likely calling the cops, she and the entire scene seem so far away as my focus returns to myself.

“It’s going to be alright, Angel,” he says, kissing my forehead.  “Our safety is more important than a vehicle that can be replaced, and I trust you can handle the situation.”

Though there is an undeniable intensity to his words, composure and the expression in his eyes, I nod in agreement and work up some tears while he hides a smile.  Sirens cut through the quiet evening and flashing lights approach; some guy is asking me if everyone is okay.  Though my leg hurts, I assure him that I am fine and just shaken up by everything.  He asks me to get out of the car, and I comply, then sign a release saying I don’t need to go to the hospital.

A police officer comes by to ask questions and write down some information while Jon is on the sidewalk putting on show for another one.   While we chat I survey the damage to my car: the engine is smoking and  the right side is all smashed up; lights are broken; the  bumper is cracked and hanging down.  The car that caused the whole mess belong to out-of-state teenagers who were impatient and not paying attention to the traffic signal.  Their front tire is bent out of shape and the plastic grill slid under the third car halfway across the intersection.  When the clean-up crew arrive, my car goes on the back of a tow truck and I am kind of just staring at it as I get a card that says where I can find it.   The officer tells me it was the other guy’s fault [no shit] and that he’s issued a summons; I should contact my insurance company in the morning to file a claim.

There was nothing more I could do at the moment, and Jon kindly escorted me away from the intersection so we could smoke that joint on the beach.  It was difficult not to wonder what if? but I knew it would not change what happened.  Even if we had not been entering the intersection at that exact moment, the stupid kid would have ran the light anyway, plowing right into the other gentlemen who was just minding his own business when it all went down.  He began to apologize but I told him that nothing was his fault and spending the rest of the evening mulling over things we could not change was futile.

The magic flask appeared and something resembling whiskey was dumped down my throat, followed by a sour face as I tried to swallow air to counteract the burning.  We shared an intimate moment on the beach followed by emptying the flask, at which point Jon suggested that we start making our way back to familiar grounds since hanging around Asbury at night was not a thrilling idea.  His hand held onto mine tightly as we navigated narrow streets and came across the train station.  Neither of us had any money, but even if we did there was nowhere to purchase tickets.

When the train pulled up I was quickly escorted inside where we then hid in the bathroom hoping no one saw us.  The confined space felt cramped at first, but it was only a matter of moments before reservations were lost to passionate kissing.  Somehow we wound up in Long Branch and there we transferred to another train that we thought would take us to Rahway.  Nope, that train doesn’t stop there so we had to transfer in Elizabeth, locked in the bathroom to avoid the conductor.  Getting off at New Brunswick, Jon hails a cab and it takes us to a diner not far from the station.  For some reason the smell of bacon grease and coffee eases my anxiety; a stack of pancakes with a side of sizzling sausage helped calm my stomach as well.  There was no doubt we were both shaken by the events of the evening, but something told me it was effecting him more though he would not actually say anything.

By the time I returned to the house it was five in the morning and Jon was babbling about how much I meant to him, that he had been scared of losing me and could not imagine life without me, but I was also half-asleep and may have imagined some of that.

+++

5.4.05 – The Aftermath

For the past few days I have been on the phone with my insurance company and the place that towed my car.  Since the accident wasn’t my fault, the other guy’s insurance has to pay me for my loss, as well as provide me with a rental if needed.  Apparently my car is a total loss, so I will be financially compensated for that and honestly am just happy to be relatively okay.

Today I have to go pick up the police report, take it to where my car was towed to collect my belongings, and hopefully I’ll be hearing from the insurance company soon.  Basically they have to assess the damage done to my car and make me an offer based on the value prior to it being all smashed up.  They have to pay for any storage and towing fees, which is great since I really don’t have money.

Someone offered me an Oldsmobile they have that is not being used, so I am going to take that since I need a vehicle to accomplish certain things. Getting the registration and all that will be in order, so I guess I will be making use of that rental car offer.

Things could be far worse, and while I am sore in a few areas I am quite thankful that I was not seriously injured.  Physically I know that Jon is alright, but I am concerned for his mental state on account he never fully recovered from his Wall of Death accident.  He has been checking in with me every day, asking how I am and continuing to assure me that there is nothing to worry about.

Is he trying to convince me or himself?

+++

5.11.05 – Mobile Once Again

Yesterday I went down to Asbury to gather any belongings I wanted out of my car.  It was time for the Taurus to die, I believe, so there is no reason to be upset it is a scrap pile now.  Besides, I already made the needed phone call to let my insurance company know that I am going to be driving an ’89 Oldsmobile, and my rate actually dropped.

Should be getting papers in the mail soon, and once I fill those out I will be receiving my settlement which is going in a safe place.

Took care of all necessary MVC stuff to transfer the title into my name and register the Oldsmobile as my new mode of transportation.  It’s a lovely shade of blue on the inside and out, and once I had the needed paperwork I washed the car, put on the plates and took it out for a spin.  Though there are a few worn spots in the paint here and there, the body and interior are in decent shape.  The trim could use a coat of spray paint, the passenger window is broken but that is not big deal, and I actually have AC now.  Overall I am just happy that I can drive again and will be quite cautious while do so for the next few months.

At least the situation is being sorted out in a timely fashion, but I keep thinking about what to do with the money I am going to receive and come to the same conclusion without having the courage to act upon it.

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