a real-life adventure
Read Part VII here.
Now available in ebook format!
"Claim them on your insurance," the paramedic nonchalantly replied while he methodically chopped away, an impeccable impersonation of a disgruntled Joanne Fabrics employee.
The I've-been-here-before concept surged through my mind again as he cut denim and tape all the way up my leg to my belt. Then he cut that, too. I mourned the death of my favorite jeans like the passing of a close acquaintance. He sliced up my other pants leg and then through my underwear. He inspected my legs, squeezing my ankles and knees and checking my reflexes after pulling the piles of cloth scraps from my body and before repiling the stack of bloody blankets across my legs.
Then the man with the makeshift machete reached for my shirt. This time I didn't wince. The shirt was already a goner. My immediate attention was stolen by a brief glimpse of the passing hoards of faces staring at the partially disrobed me from the still-open back door of the ambulance. I began to weep, which brought on another mortifying bout of hyperventilation.
"Does it hurt here?" the slicing/dicing chef asked as he pushed on my rib cage, right where it hurt.
"No, it tickles!" I thought but again did not verbalize aloud. I didn't even dignify his question with an audible answer. My silent glare aptly delivered the unmistakable message.
He got his likely revenge with one smooth slash. Off sprang my bra, for the world and him to see. I cried even harder.
My jeans were gone for good, and I knew no insurance would cover the loss. I knew no amount of financial compensation could heal my sentimental losses. And nothing would erase the disgrace of my taped and naked backboard exhibition on I-25 in backed-up Memorial Day Weekend traffic.
It wasn't the first time I had encountered such misfortune.
I'd lost all my camera equipment in the previous accident two years earlier. A gainfully employed newspaper photographer at the time, I'd succumbed to a professional as well as sentimental slump for weeks. No camera, no job. No job, no money to spend on my favorite pastime ─ photography. (I was in the process of finding a new job and moving to a new area when that first accident happened, and having no camera for months put a significant roadblock in front of photography-related potential employers.)
I'd been in the habit of taking all my still cameras and my video camera with me everywhere. Living in the picturesque mountain village of Estes Park, gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, I'd learned the Boy Scout motto well. On more than one occasion.
Never again was I going to get caught cameraless when a bald eagle perched atop carrion at the edge of a frozen lake. Never again was I going to get caught lensless when mama deer performed aerobic-like maneuvers to pull leafy branches within reach of her twin spotted fawns. Never again was I going to get caught strobeless when I found a tiny hummingbird's nest complete with three pearl-sized eggs. And never again was I going to be caught video tapeless during the heroic effort of a DOW officer trying to remove a bicycle from the neck of a moderately irate and terribly impatient bull elk.
Then came my first serious accident. So much for being prepared.
I went nearly six months without camera equipment after that wreck. It took that long to negotiate with the opposing insurance company, which initially attempted to stick the replacement bill on my work insurance. My employer's insurance company balked at that idea, and rightly so, since I wasn't on the clock at the time of the accident. My homeowners' policy would have covered a minute portion of the equipment ─ the items that weren't used specifically for work ─ provided I hand over a sizeable deductible. Most of my non-work-related equipment could be replaced for less than the price of the deductible, however.
In a second attempt to get out of paying for my equipment, the other driver’s insurance company pulled a classic.
"How do we know your cameras were all in operable condition at the time of the accident?" the adjuster groped. How could so much equipment be destroyed in one insignificant little two-car "fender-bender?"
Read Part IX here.
Table of Contents
Copyright 2012 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson