"No," she snapped. "I'm not. Give me your insurance information!" I leaned into my passenger side to open my handbag to look for it, and asked politely for hers. "I don't have it," she snapped again.
I found a pen but could only find a bookmark for one of my novels. I didn't want to give that to her so I asked if she had a piece of paper we could use. "No," was the answer in her now customary rude tone.
I searched again, and when I couldn't find anything I asked her one more time, careful to be polite, of course. When she answered negatively again, I said, "Then, we're in a bit of a pickle, aren't we?"
She grunted and I rummaged in my car door pocket, produced a CD case, removed the cardboard cover and tore a strip to write on. My hands were shaking from nerves so the writing looked feathery and jagged.
As I handed it to her I asked, "Did you not see me?"
She blustered. "Did you not see me? Why didn't you see me?"
I looked her in the eye and stated, "You were stationary when I pulled in."
"I wasn't ... " Then she scurried to her car, got in and began to reverse.
I quickly got my phone and started taking photos because I thought she was going to drive off. She pulled into an adjacent space and got back out. I asked her for her contact details, and she barked them at me as I scribbled them down. She snatched my pen from me and made a big deal of copying down my car licence plate, then thrust the pen back at me.
"Thank you," I said. "Take care."
"Sorry about this," she growled as she got back into her car, then drove off.
I put coins in the ticket machine, affixed it to my windshield, locked up the car and headed to the restaurant to meet Clare.
Accidents happen, I know. That's why we have insurance. So, was it necessary for her to be so rude? The more polite I was the more angry it made her!
In the restaurant, poor Clare had to wait while I called the police and made a report, then my insurance company. It took over half an hour before we could settle and catch up. And it was a lovely time, as always. She's a sweetheart.
As soon as I got home I returned the calls that the insurance company had made to me. I am totally blown away by how accommodating and helpful and sympathetic they were. They assured me it was obvious I wasn't at fault, and have already arranged for a man from an approved car repair shop to come and collect my car tomorrow, and deliver a courtesy car for me to use while it's being fixed. This will all be billed to Mrs. Rude's insurance company. I have to say I highly recommend Hughes Insurance, Northern Ireland. They have been amazing to me today.