Sunday, August 11, 2002

Greetings from the Land of Suck. The Internship Train, which left from "Isn't this exciting?" Junction last May, has now passed through "Try to Make the Best of Things!" Crossings and steaming full speed ahead toward "Hell on Earth" Station.

Please don't worry when you read this next part, okay? I am fine. I am so totally fine.... but I was in a car accident on Wednesday. A big one. I think my car may be totaled, actually, which I have come to find out actually means, "when the cost of repairs exceeds the total value of your car's worth." I am not sure yet, I am still trying to coordinate getting an insurance adjuster afiliated with my insurance company in PA to go look at it, as that nice insurance company, owned in part by my dad's best childhood friend, does not have adjuster stationed in Florida, obviously.

I am okay. The other people are okay. There are no injuries. They hit me actually. I was on a two-lane street that merges with an off-ramp of a causeway/highway (which was supposed to be closed, actually, more on that in a minute) and then immediately goes down to one lane and a left turn lane. I needed to move to the left turn lane, but that involves directly crossing where the exit ramp lane meets the street. The off-ramp is on a big blind curve, and I was trying to make sure no one was coming off the highway, trying to avoid the very thing that happened, ironically. They were speeding and didn't see me in time and couldn't stop.

It was very scary, and I am so lucky not to have any injuries. I just sort of took care of business and went right back to work two hours later. I feel very lucky, in part because when I got back to work, the TV news was reporting a horrible accident, a hit-and-run, in which a woman who was not wearing her seatbelt was hit by another car (who left its entire front fender, headlights and all, but didn't stop), was ejected from her vehicle and then crushed by her own flying SUV. Which is horrible, and so much worse than what happened to me.

I tend to have some not-so-good driving habits- cell phones (yes, plural), eating, frantic map-reading, my dog climbing all over the car, and I did have to take a written test because I had so many speeding tickets, but I have made a real effort to not do those things anymore, or at least do some of them more safely. The ironic thing is- I was not doing any of those bad things- no food, no dog, no phone, no radio, no map, nothing. My car was going 0 mph; I was wearing my seatbelt, and still- something really bad happened.

I was surprised that someone was even coming off the exit ramp from the MacArthur Causeway, because it was closed for the filming of the new Will Smith movie, Bad Boys 2. There are three ways to get from Miami Beach, which is sort of on a penninsula that reaches out parallel to the East Coast of Florida, into downtown Miami, but MacArthur cCauseway is the main one. Also, the MacArthur causeway stretches out further to Key Biscayne, a ritzy little island for wealthy people and their servants, and it is the ONLY way to get to the main land. So all of these people couldn't get to their jobs for four days because of the movie filming. The wealthy people just went and stayed in hotels in downtown Miami, at their own expense, but all of the people who work in grocery stores, Blockbuster, gas stations, etc., on Key Biscayne, as well as the people who cook, clean and raise the children of the wealthy people had to choose- do not go to work or go to work and do not go home for four days.

Furthermore, they were filming high speed boat chases in the area under the Causeway, which is a manatee conservation zone. It's a No Wake Zone for local boaters all year round, but it's especially dangerous for manatees now, as it is their mating season. Sigh... It makes me sad, although not surprised, that the government officials can sacrifice things they say they care about- workers' rights, environmental conservation- if the price tag is big enough. The production company paid the local authories $20 million- 20. Million. Dollars.- to do this.

I feel like it might be okay if the local government here in the Land of Suck used that $20 million to compensate workers who couldn't reach their jobs or to have environmental workers on hand at the scene to do what they could to either help injured manatees or consult with stunt boat drivers or something- Pardon the Bleeding Heart Liberal Tendencies here, people- but no. Nope.

Anyway, this relates to my accident in that the car, which was driven by locals not movie production people or anything, was coming off the ramp to the closed Causeway, which I don't get. But whatever.
So please, dear readers- take your time, use your hands-free devices for your cell phone, wear your seatbelt, go easy on the volume of your music, maybe eat more urban food logs (thanks for the phrase, Gwenie) that don't require utensils in the car, and be very watchful of the road when reading mapquest directions and/or a map, and always always always be on the look out for mating manatees. :)

My new goal for the Miami Experience is making it out of here alive. (Ha ha, kidding kidding!)

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