That’s How We Do It In Washington

Last Saturday night we were out in Seattle and on our way to Joe’s Hot Dog Stand for our customary end-of-the-night hot dogs. I’m driving and we’re getting the usual Seattle sprinkling from the skies. We’re stopped at a traffic light, probably discussing how we need to make it to the hot dog stand before it closes, when all of a sudden I’m shaken and pushed forward. “Hmmmm… there is no way that Matt kicking the back of my seat would have made the whole car shake, so clearly there must be another… DOH! I’ve just been rear-ended.” Of course, it had been way too long since I had to deal with the annoyances of uninsured drivers, filing insurance claims, and shady body shops for the bump to be anything else.

I get out of the car to see a sloth of a car behind mine, a 1992 Cadillac Eldorado, with another sloth sitting behind the wheel. I ask the fool for his license and insurance information; a seemingly simple task. I end up waiting a solid three minutes in the rain while he fumbles in his dash and wallet, struggling to coordinate his fingers enough to pull the card out. He can’t maintain eye contact with me and he is a man of few words. Basically, he is drunk.

While I am standing in the rain jotting down the information from his half-legible, copied, and expired insurance card a couple of Seattle’s Finest happen to drive by and slow down to figure out why I am standing in the road. I tell them what’s up and ask them to come check things out. After spending some time talking with the both of us, one of the cops comes over to me and the conversation was as follows…

Cop: So what would you like us to do here?
Me: Uhhh, what do you mean?
Cop: Basically we can do one of two things: 1) We could write him up for a DUI; but he doesn’t look that bad and his eyes aren’t shaking much.
Me: And the other thing?
Cop: Or we could write up a report on the incident and that’s that.
Me: So you’re asking ME to decide whether that [obviously-drunk] guy [who-just-crashed-in-to-the-back-of-my-car] should get written up for a DUI?
Cop: Yeah.
Me: Isn’t that your job? I don’t think I am the one to make that call, am I?
Cop: What do you want from us?
Me: I just want your report in writing so my insurance company doesn’t second guess my story.
Cop: Okay. *walks across the street to his patrol car*

I am utterly bewildered at what just transpired and turn to Matt and Anurag to say so when the cop turns around and yells across the street to Me: “That’s how we do it in Washington; we ask you.”

Apparently that is how they do it in Washington. The question I’m asking the Seattle police is, “Why?”

Epilogue: Everyone in the car was fine and the bump wasn’t that bad so it looks like the damage is confined to the bumper of the car.

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