Of pirates and parasites...
Earlier on this year, Marj and I were driving home from her work's do which ended up in Manchester's joint best club, 5th Avenue (the other being Satan's Hollow -where else can you hear Jimmy Eat World, followed by The Mars Volta in the same club, on the same night?). Like a good designated driver, Marj hadn't touched a drop all night and was driving us back to what was at the time was her place (now being our place :-) ).
Whilst still in the city centre, when she was changing lanes, she must have misjudged it and we came in too close to the car that was in that lane and they bumped into us. Whether or not they were going too fast I don't know, but we were probably doing about 20-odd mph.
So we think, "Oops" and get out to do the usual swappy insurance details thing, but just our luck, the car we bumped into happened to be a Lexus. It overtook us and stopped (as if we wouldn't have stopped anyway!) and out come four of the scummiest gangster wannabie knobheads I have ever met in my life. The fat bastard who was driving starts effing and blinding and waving his arms about like an overzealous extra in playing someone drowning in Baywatch and barked orders at his minions to take photos of our car's number plate with their phones. Not a bad idea, methinks fumbling for my camera phone.
Marj asked if he was alright and Mr 'get rich or diet trying' ignored her. Once he was satisfied that the world knew that he was a little bit upset, she asked again and he said he was fine (not asking how she was or anything) and they started talking about insurancey stuff. I take the opportunity to have a look at the damage to our car (which equates to approximately: zero).
Because it was raining heavily, fatty had demanded that Marj get into his car, which I don't realise 'til its too late of course, otherwise I never would have let her go in there. While fatty's in the car with Marj, I carry on my little inspection and move on to their car, and memorising the number plate while I'm at it. They don't like this one bit, probably because there's fuck all wrong with their car. Once I'd finished, I went under the bus stand where I could keep dry whilst making sure that they're not going to steal Marj or anything. At this point, I get the delight or sharing my shelter with two of fatty's cohorts. There was an asian guy with an expression on his face like he accidentally got his suppository mixed up with a cactus, and a white guy who was trying his best to appear black, but the headband and the footballer's tash (the facial hair was 5-a-side) seemed to give him more of an angry-pirate look.
All in all, it was quite amusing, I thought, so I gave them a little nod hello and offered them a "what can you do, eh?" look. The pirate walks closer, looks up to me like a terrier to a postman and says "Wot you smilin' at?!"
I give it a couple of seconds, opt for the 'calm-down dear' approach to insurance claims and say, "I'm just bemused with the situation. The insurance'll cover it, don't worry about it"
Obviously happy that he heard a word he understood, he replied, "It's not this you should be worried about - it's me!"
The thing is, boatswain chavboy, if you have to tell me I should be worried, the chances are I shouldn't need to be. Barely stifling a smirk, I say "Right okay, well thanks for telling me, I am now."
He seemed quite satisfied with this response, maybe I should have said it slower and in a slightly more condensending manner.
He tries a second time, "You look like a cop"
Look like a cop?
The only reason I didn't say anything was that I was so torn between shit-stirring further by saying, "Thankyou, I work out" and "Three of my best friends are cops" (true), that I'd had enough time to realise that my girlfriend was currently sat in the lion's den that was the chavmobile, so instead I bite my tongue. Sometimes, I hate being so grown up. I turn back to check on her and a couple of seconds later she emerges from the car. During this time, I don't think the pirate took his eyes off me, but he then turns his attention to Marj and says, "There's summing up with the way he talks" referring to my use of words not commonly found in the books he reads (i.e. those starting with "My first...").
For the next comment, Marj assures me that she only said it because she thought he meant that he couldn't understand my mumbly accent, but she's still in trouble. "It's alright," She said, "he's from Grimsby"
Later on, I got quite angry about what happened, but that remark combined with the pure seriousness that was emanating from the robbin'-in-da-hood and his merry chavs means that I nearly pissed myself laughing at this point. Luckily I didn't. There's only so far you can wind stupid people up before they do something silly.
Anyway, it turns out it wasn't even his car, he told Marj it was someone else's. I'm guessing it was either his dealer's or his dad's. I doubt it was even his name. She also said the car stank of weed. Dunno how you can get so angry while smoking weed, but hey. The worst part was that Marj hadn't been in an accident before and so handed over the information he asked and then got the same info back, this meant they swapped names, telephone numbers and home addresses. Bad move.
Over the next few weeks he kept phoning her demanding to know why she hadn't claimed responsibility, getting quite angry with her. She told the insurance company exactly the above and said that we didn't know who's fault it was (if he was speeding or if it was all our fault). He said that straight after the accident they went to the police station and got a copy of CCTV footage showing that it was our fault. Yerright, like the police wpould just hand over CCTV recordings to the public. Besides, I seriously doubt they'd go within four miles of a police station!
She phoned her insurance and they told him off. I'm not sure what they said to him, but he hasn't phoned back since. Go Sheila's Wheels!
The thing I've always hated about Manchester is the massive concentration of agro. There are a lot of nice bits in Manchester, there are a lot of nice people in Manchester, but the miserable weather and the years of industrial pollutants must have somehow contaminated the gene pool there to produce this shoulder-swaggering, dog-eat-dog, loutish sub-culture that appears to be represented in every public location. That's right folks - the 'scumbag'. Manchester's full of 'em, so we we're bound to crash into some at one time or another...
So why am I sharing this tale with you? Well, today, Marj was called by her insurance company to say that they were all claining for whiplash. All four of them! BASTARDS!
It wasn't a high speed smash that caused us to stop! We only fucking nipped each other!
This, dear readers, is why your insurance premiums are so high.
Confession time: At the end of the first year of uni, I was involved in a crash whilst in a taxi. I was rear facing, and Dave Rae was opposite me. Someone jumped a light and the taxi smashed into it and a few other cars. Dave was thrown forward and cracked into my chest. A couple of days later, when picking up some crates at the student union bar where I worked, the pain was really bad and so I went to hospital. It turned out that I'd fractured my sternum. I regret it to this day, but as I said, I was a very poor student, so I phoned up one of these "where there's a blame there's a claim" companies. It took a few months but eventually I got three grand.
I felt really bad for contributing for the American-esque blame culture that exists in this country today, but its quite astounding how quickly your morality collapses in the face of free cash. The point is, I actually had something worthy of compensation. In my thoughts on building a better society, I've often mentioned 'the parasite' and these are one of the best examples I've seen in a long time. I resent these bastards getting money, but it's our fault. In the process of my claim, the solicitors sent me to a doctor in a private hospital in Leicester. His job, it seemed, was to be paid an extortionate amount of money to write down whatever I told him was wrong with me on official looking paper and send it to the insurance companies. He actually encouraged me to make stuff up and he'd 'prove' it for me. I didn't, but my guess is these bastards won't have the same restraint.
Marj says I shouldn't worry about it because its the most money they'll see in their whole lives, but I still want to call scum-busters or something and stop them from doing this.