So I’ve started the year really well. I got hit by a taxi while cycling on New Year’s Eve, breaking my front wheel and denting the side of his car. It’s the first time I’ve ever had an accident of any magnitude, so I was obviously a little rattled, to the extent where I left the scene with just his name and number, and nothing else. I didn’t get any witness statements, didn’t get his license plate and I took no photos of the scene. All of these things are big mistakes that I’m fairly sure I’ll not make again. Hopefully.
All of this has come home to roost today, when I woke up to my phone ringing, having a mildly pissed off taxi driver asking me to pay £300 to help him pay for the damage to his car. Incredulous, I asked him why, as it was clearly his fault, what with him hitting me and all, and so the battle lines were drawn. The rest of the day has been consumed with a constantly nasty and completely unpleasant set of interchanges between us where each of us is trying to figure out how to make our argument the one that wins in the legal sense.
It’s becoming more and more absurd as the day goes by, with each subsequent twist and turn of the whole thing making it seem more like a particularly boring episode of a crime procedural where no one is particularly nice to one another and empty, misinformed threats are made based on assumptions and idiocy. That’s not to say it’s not exciting, though. Just not really how I expected to spend my first week at home.
First he claimed that I hit him, that I admitted guilt and really, I should be damned pleased that he’s happy to split the cost of fixing everything with me. Fact is, I was crossing a road that had two lanes of standstill traffic, and he burst out of nowhere to drive straight into my front wheel. The fact that part of his front bumper came flying off is pretty conclusive evidence of this.
But no, he says, I didn’t pay heed to the ‘Cyclists Dismount’ sign on the side of the road, and so I am in the wrong. Never mind that those signs are purely advisory, and I was cycling at walking pace regardless. Oh no, he says, that wasn’t the case at all. It’s all so very forced, and completely unreal.
I feel like I’ve been playing one very long game of poker all day. No, scratch that, this is at Solium Infernum levels of confusion and bluff, mixed up with insults and threats. We’re bound by the bureaucracy, forced to dance around half understood laws and get enough cards in our deck that we don’t have to worry about the other party. He threatens with the Police, I head down to the Police Station to pre-empt him, only to find out the Police couldn’t care less about an incident that isn’t a hit and run. Seems as though if there isn’t a chase sequence in it for them, they ignore it. Good for them.
So I threaten with his Insurance company, asking for details which he refuses. Hell, that’s almost a Vendetta offence, allowing me to start moving in on his Cantons and take away his Places of Power. We’re both fighting over the same thing, and really, everything seems stacked in my favour. He can cling to that whole idea that I was riding my bike rather than walking it, but really, had I been dismounted I think I’d be injured and angry right now, rather than just the latter.
And I’ve got my Blood Vassal now, in the shape of the Bus Driver who I crossed in front of. He’s on my side, happy to give testament and witness statement that I was sufficiently cautious, and he was completely reckless, and so I think we’re entering the end game. The final few chits are being drawn up by the Infernal Council and it’s bound to reach a conclusion soon. Hopefully one that doesn’t involve a long drawn out court session. I really can’t be arsed with that.
Really, though, for a day that started off so abominably badly, it seems to have ended rather well. Somehow obfuscating such a thing in the terms of a game is helpful, making it seem far less serious than it obviously is, while at the same time, the past two months (god has it been that long?) of playing a game where everyone is out to get you, everyone will betray you at the worst possible time, and you have to be a bigger bastard than the next man, makes me think I’m more prepared for such a thing than I would’ve been otherwise. So, thanks Vic Davis, for creating a game that makes getting hit by a car a little less of a blow.