Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ten years ago today - August 28, 1998

Back in 1998, I tried a little experiment. I tried to write down five things I learned every day.


Here's what I learned on August 28, 1998:


1. Stag parties aren't as wild as I'd thought -- just a bunch of guys playing cards
2. It's the best man's duty to plan the stag
3. Replying to the "remove me" address on spam can get you on another mailing list
4. Stopping distance is usually more than you think
5. There's a collision reporting centre near the west end (Islington). Learned all about collision reporting.


The story? I was out on assignment west of Toronto, doing a story at a truck inspection station. I don't recall what the story was, but it was pretty dull. I was tired and hungry and driving back to Toronto on the QEW with a bit of a headache. I wanted to make decent time because I was going to my first stag party, in honor of then-680News police reporter Jim Morris (RIP)

I was driving the company's Subaru Outback wagon. Suddenly traffic stopped ahead of me. I pressed on the brakes thinking "oh, I have plenty of time to come to a full stop ... lots of time ... stopping now ... oh crap, I'm going to hit this Jeep." I hit the Jeep.

I was afraid a large angry man would emerge and thrash me, but it was a young respirologist in scrubs on her way to St. Michael's Hospital in downtown Toronto. If I hadn't rear-ended the spare tire on her Jeep, we probably would've ended up at the same parking garage.

Damage to the Jeep wasn't much -- nothing visible, even. The only problem was the swinging spare tire wouldn't quite click anymore.


Damage to the Subaru was a little more obvious. The hood was a bit crumpled.


We went to the collision reporting centre and filled out the appropriate paperwork. I don't even remember how I got back downtown after that.

Eventually I made it to Jimmy's stag party in the north end of Toronto. And as you can surmise from the notes above, it was kinda weak. Mostly old guys sitting around playing cards. There was a 50/50 draw, with someone winning a lawnmower. I was honored to be invited, though. Jim was a helluva guy and his death in 2002 was hard to take.


To make matters worse with regard to crashing the company car, the following Monday when I had to take the car to the north-end dealership for repairs, I gouged up the car parked beside me with the sharp edge of the crumpled hood. That made me feel even stupider than the first collision.


I haven't driven many times since then. I mean, sure, I've driven. I've even rented a car and driven it around. But I'm still not a particularly *experienced* driver, even ten years later.

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