Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Salaam alaikum and Allahu akhbar

West Mill is where the cultures collide in 56572 with the phone company, the thrift store, the LSS Office and the Moslem Grocery/Mosque on the south side; NAPA, the newspaper office, the Multi-Cultural Learning Center, the barber, and last but certainly not least as far as traffic counts go, the Pool Hall on the north - those businesses not mentioned should not feel neglected, nor purposefully omitted.

One of the more dangerous intersections in 56572 is on West Mill (formerly Whiskey Avenue) and TSWAN (the street without a name - Culvert Street, Accident Alley?)

An Eastern European and an East African, both locals, collided at this intersection this afternoon resulting in damage to both vehicles, but to neither driver. Allahu akhbar. When witnesses offered to call the PRPD, what was the response of the drivers? Please don't bother. The at fault driver was youthful, although properly licensed and insured. The not at fault driver had been involved in a previous collision, much to the chagrin of the spouse. Witnesses might have done better to step into the office next door to let Jeff the
State Farm guy try to explain Minnesota's no-fault law to the drivers. This after explaining that Jeff the State Farm Guy was not involved in law enforcement. Instead of Jeff the Cop, Jeff the LSS Guy was summoned and he smoothed feathers professionally. Knowing both drivers and having their trust helped him considerably.

Standing outside your vehicle at the scene of a crash you were involved in is always a touchy situation. One really doesn't know what to say. Much is left to the non-verbal. If you care to share other verbage or non-verbage you have experienced at crash sites please share by using the comment button below. Suggestions for what to say will also be accepted.

Do you have insurance?
That was dumb of me!
Are you OK?
What the hell did you do that for?
Drive much?
You don't have a gun, do you?
My spouse is going to kill me.
Who taught you how to......?

In every culture post accident etiquette is different. Often it is a choice between the fight/flee instinct or can we handle this with cash? Knowing the right thing to do - check for injuries, assist those injured, call the cops-911 yes/no, exchange information, how and when to tell your spouse/parent is one of the last things one learns.

Should you be involved in a local collision with someone you assume may have difficulty communicating with you, let me suggest you remember these these two words. Salaam alaikum. Write them down in your car. It is the standard greeting between Muslims and means simply "peace be with you." It may not be what you are thinking at the moment, it will be what they are.

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