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    Been There, Done That: Eight Decades And Counting By Alice Herb: My Eventful Summer

    My Eventful Summer By Alice Herb


    My blog hasn’t appeared in agebuzz for a while because, in spite of COVID, lockdowns, and all sorts of events that made staying home sensible (though probably a bit boring by now), my life has been anything but. Thus, I want to share with you what my life has been like for the past several months. I should have known in late March that this was not going to be a quiet summer. At that time I was returning home from a visit to my ENT physician in the pouring rain in the late afternoon. As I was carefully crossing 14th Street with the green light, I heard sirens in the near distance and looked up to see a police car heading straight for me at what looked like excessive speed. Hoping to avoid getting killed, I whipped around, lost my balance, and fell to the ground. Screeching to a stop, the young, arrogant policeman jumped out of the car and screamed “Are you alright?” As pedestrians came running to my rescue, I replied, “How would I know? I am lying on the ground and you’re not even helping me to my feet.” As it turned out, I was OK though soaking wet. The policeman drove off without even giving me a chance to get his name and precinct number. It was another discouraging event involving the police and an event that presaged what was to come later in the summer.


    My exciting summer adventures started as I was rushing off to lunch to meet my close friend, Connie. (yes, the Founder of agebuzz). Once again, I was crossing the street when my foot missed the curb and I fell headlong onto the sidewalk with my head hitting the ground with a loud thump. As people came rushing to help, a very gentle young man helped me to sit up, and then a woman stopped and told everyone to get out of the way. She was a nurse and she would take care of me. And indeed she did. I did not want to go to the ER but she insisted because of continued bleeding from my head wound. She accompanied me to the ER a block away and waited until I was taken in by a nurse. I called Connie to tell her what happened and she insisted on coming in from Brooklyn and arrived before the ER physician had even shown up. And it was not a long wait. He ordered a CT scan of my head and an X-ray of my shoulder. He reported no fractures and my brain showed nothing, a finding that prompted my dear family and friends to remark they had always known that. The doctor did suture my head wound and sent me home with Connie. 


    I had no sooner recovered from that when, coming home from the beach on Long Island, my car stopped and would no longer move. I had a friend and her 8-year-old grandson in the car. With each of us trying to get AAA to send emergency equipment, it took close to 3 hours, and then they only pulled the car into my own parking spot less than a block away. We had to take a Lyft back to New York City and I arrived home about 8 hours after I had started the trip home. The next day I started on a month and a half long journey with buying and selling cars. I finally got my old car towed into the Mini Cooper shop in Manhattan, where they informed me it was once again a problem with the clutch on my manual transmission. Since the car was almost 10 years old, I decided not to have it repaired but instead donated it. That took some time while I started to look for a new car that would fit into my very small garage space. I decided to lease another Mini Cooper. There was no real choice because of my requirement for a small car. The transaction was a bit confusing and neither I nor my son had complete instructions on all the bells and whistles in this new car. My son managed to park the car in my tiny spot with my Super’s guidance. But I, on the next day, did not. I forgot that I didn’t have a clutch any longer and, needless to say, I messed up the body of the car pretty badly.  


    Next came my three-week-long tussle with my insurer. I do have  $500 deductible collision insurance so I had no reason to think there would be all this delay to have my car repaired. I had been insured with the same company for almost 40 years. To the best of my recollection, I had 2 minor incidents in the ’90s for which the other insurer paid for my body damage. The Mini Cooper service manager had provided me with a tentative estimate for repairs and I reported the damage to the insurer as soon as I had the estimate and filed an accident report. I was told there would be no inspection, then that a decision would be made within the week, then another two days after a weekend, then a request to have a photographer come to my garage for photos, when finally a decision for approval would come 2 days after the photographer submitted the pictures. On the appointed day, I was told they needed another two days. At that point, I erupted. I have a bad reputation when it comes to losing my temper. That was a good attribute when I practiced law, or when I pursued a story as a journalist, or when I wanted to get a piece of legislation passed or amended. I didn’t think I had it in me any longer. But I guess I do because by the end of the day I had the approval for the repairs and the Mini Cooper Manager told me to bring the car in. As I told the insurance adjuster at the end of my tirade, even my grandson had said to me when he was a little boy: “Grandma, sometimes you’re scary.” Now, at the end of August, I can finally go back to my beach house, I thought, to relax and do my writing.


    But good old Hurricane Henri got in the way. We were asked to evacuate voluntarily as the edges of the storm were headed our way. My rescuers were once again Connie and her husband. They were at their house at the beach but helped me secure my outside decks, bring my furniture in (including my electric grill) while I closed up the house. I returned to the mainland with them and then took an Uber home. Theoretically, I will return to the beach in a couple of days. I will have the last days of the summer at the beach. Apparently, the storm took an eastern turn and avoided my piece of Heaven. Oh, but I forgot. Before the hurricane, I discovered that my basement was infested with Cave Crickets. By then I was so accustomed to emergencies that I had the basement cleaned of the critters just before I evacuated. But when I return to the beach it will take another full day to put the house and decks back in order.  


    I hope you got a bit of a laugh about my adventures. I am smiling at this point myself because never underestimate the ability of an elderly person to get results- and I do believe that “All’s well that ends well” was coined by a much more famous and important writer.



    Alice Herb is a retired attorney, journalist, and bioethics consultant. Having reached the age of 85+, she’s more than ready to share her experiences and opinions with agebuzz readers. Want to comment on something she’s said? She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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