I was parked along Rodeo Drive, waiting for my next delivery run in Beverly Hills. My boss called me, “Honey, could you go check on Joan? She was just in an accident and she doesn’t sound good.” Joan is my coworker. Another driver. That’s not her real name. I’m changing her name to protect the innocent. Who is ME.
Things you need to know: Joan’s a little cuckoobananas. She’s always working on conspiracy theories, mostly involving our place of employment. She’s older, single, she used to be an actress. Something like that. She’s got icy blue eyes and a few screws loose. I reached out to her for her birthday, by giving her a bag of Dove Dark Chocolate, with a note saying “You have to read all the wrapper messages as if “Chocolate” is a hot black man.” (Everything’s better with chocolate, Chocolate doesn’t let you down, Who needs love when you’ve got chocolate?) A week later, she accused me of looking at her weird. [Sigh.]
I started up my car and drove a few blocks to the scene of the accident. Her car was pointed the wrong way on a one way street in Beverly Hills, its back bumper bumped in, and its rear, hitched to a tow truck. I parked in a red zone and popped out to check in.
I greeted the police, “I know this lady!” And knocked on her window, “Hey Joan!”
She looked at me as if I were the risen Lord. “You ok, Joan?”
She whimpered, “I can’t find my phone.” I opened her door and poked my head inside. “…I can’t find my phone, I can’t find my phone…” She rifled through a million papers in her car.
Me: “OK! Should I try calling you?” The cops seemed to make eyes with me, saying wow, she’s really in control of this situation! I looked back at them with, I’m so great under pressure, right? eyes.
I called Joan. Ring… ring…. All of our heads were inside the car, listening for a muffled ring tone. “Hello?”
Someone answered! A man.
Oh shit. I must have an old number for her. I tried to be jovial “Hi! Well, I guess this isn’t Joan’s phone! Hahaha…” He wasn’t having it.
Man: Pissed, “YEAH, she’s married, so there’s gonna be a chance two people might answer.” JOAN WAS MARRIED?? WHAT?? I watched Joan dig around her car, with the officers, all looking for her phone, as I was speaking with HER SECRET HUSBAND.
Me: Forging on, “YES. Yes. Well, this is Lauren – I work with Joan, and she was in a fender bender, but she’s ok. We’re just—”
Man: “Joan doesn’t work anywhere.” [GASP!] JOAN IS SECRETLY WORKING AT THIS COMPANY?? HOW COULD SHE HIDE IT FROM HIM – SHE WORKS EVERY NITE! “She was in an accident??”
Me: “She’s ok though. The car was the only thing injured, so…”
Man: “She doesn’t drive a car!” The police were watching me with eyes that now said, what is this girl doing, having a conversation while we look for the phone in this woman’s car. “HELLO. WHAT’S GOING ON.”
I decided the only thing to do, was to let myself out of this mystery husband situation, where I was blabbering on about Joan’s OTHER LIFE, and not really helping.
Me: “I have to hang up now.”
Lady Cop: “Who were you talking to?”
Me: “I have no idea. But he said he was her husband and she isn’t married!”
Lady Cop: “That explains A LOT….” We all glanced at Joan, who was folding and unfolding a piece of paper, still mumbling “I can’t find my phone.”
I decided to plug her number in manually. But when I looked at my phone, I quickly realized I had called this OTHER JOAN WITH THE SAME EXACT LAST NAME I knew in Portland and had spoken with her real life husband, telling him she was in an ACCIDENT — and then I hung up on him.
Lady Cop: “You have to call your other friend back and tell them what happened!”
Me: “OMG NO! I can never speak to them again! This is terrible! He was so mad!”
[Sound of cell phone ringing under the driver’s seat.]
Ugh, FINALLY. We found Joan’s phone, and got her in my car, with a few of her belongings. I drove her back to her apartment. If she hadn’t been JOAN, we would have been laughing at how unhelpful I was, back there at the scene. But we weren’t.
Joan: “I already feel pain in my neck. You took photos of the car, right?”
Me: “I did. Does your phone receive photos? I can text them to you.”
Joan: “No. No, it doesn’t.”
Me: “Want me to email them to you?”
Joan: “I don’t get emails on my phone.”
Me: “To your computer?”
Joan: “I don’t have a computer…. (pause)…. I could pay you to print them out though, right?”
Me: Please no. “Well, make sure they need them, before we do that. It was a pretty obvious collision, um, situation, so…”
Joan: “But I could pay you to print them.”
Me: “Yeah, but you probably won’t need them, so…”
Joan: “Well, I’ll let you know.”
Me: “I’m sure you will.”