Monday, May 29, 2006

Accidents Happen

I felt it coming. I don't know why but I've been feeling for about 2 weeks that I was going to be in an accident. Maybe it's all the talk about buying a house and the financial commitment of it and hoping - praying - we can maintain our financial staus quo until then.

So today, this hot Menorial Day, I took the kids out early so we could go driving around looking at potential houses. About 17 of them. Looking and driving and driving and looking, saying no to all but one I came across while looking for something else. Eventually I was ready to go back home. So we headed back the way we came and came upon the blinking red light (blinking red on both sides) we had passed through once before.

I saw the green truck at the intersection and thought he was stopped because he seemed to be looking both ways, although at the time he was looking the other way. I went on, watching him and the traffic and saying out loud to myself, "He doesn't see me. He doesn't see me!" And quickly thinking, if I stop suddenly we're going to hit head on or I'm going to hit him on the side he's sitting on and he might get hurt. No matter what, it was unavoidable at that point. Just had to try to make it as painless as possible and crunch! We collide. I'm on the other side of the road so I get us out of the way and the other guy pulls up behind me.

At first, I thought the driver hit my passenger doors. It sure looked like it as his front end came hurtling at my side. Then it occurs to me that Son is sitting on that side. I jerk my head around to survey the possible damage. No broken glass. No tears. Relief.

"Son, are you OK?"
"Uh huh."
"Daughter, are you OK?"

Everyone is calm. I breathe, I get out and see the woman from the car approaching.
"Are you alright?" she asks.
"We're fine. The kids are a little shaken but we're good."
"There are kids in the car? Are they OK?" She's concerned. That's good. She cares.
"They're fine. They're good. Are you OK?"
"We're fine. I just really hate that light."

I know he didn't see me. I thought he would and we could somehow avoid each other since we were already in each other's way but it didn't happen. Still, I've been in one other accident in my life a number of years ago when Husband was Boyfriend and someone cut us off early on a Sunday morning. THAT one stunned us. THAT one we got somewhat hurt; needed an ambulance, chiropractor and all. I know how it can be but this one, everyone walked away unhurt.

I looked at their car and it wasn't as horrible as it sounded either. Cell phone still in hand, I asked if they had already called the cops. A man working in his yard at the time had already done it for us. Good. I got back in my car at that point to call Husband and tell him to come immediately. Didn't know if I'd be able to think clearly and I wanted him to be my mouth. In no time, a cop showed up and he was at my window.

"Everyone OK?
"Yes, we're fine."
"How about the little ones? Are they OK?" He peered in the back and I was relieved to see concern and not judgment on his face.
"Yes, they're shaken but OK."
"Good, good. License, registration and insurance card please."
Now, why didn't I think of that? I could have been searching while I waited because I put them in the glove compartment but not at my fingertips, so I kick myself mentally for not taking the time to look. I give him the license easily and start rummaging.
"Oh! Hold on one minute. Oh!"
"It's OK. Take your time. Are you looking for your registration because I can get that off the plate."
"Oh, great!"
I find the insurance information and hand it to him while I glance down the street looking for the familiar black Acura that signaled Husband's arrival. A chorus of "Where's Daddy?" wafts from the back seat. "Chill, guys. Just give me a moment. Daddy will be here."

The officer asks if everyone had on their seat belts and I am so so so glad I I had bought the booster seat for Son back in October when the law changed to require children of a certain age and/or under a certain weight be in booster seats. I was happy to say yes, we ALL had them on. In the accident from ages ago, Boyfriend wasn't wearing his and it cost him money. Not out of pocket but the settlement from the suit that was eventually filed netted him a little money and would have been a little more if he had been wearing his seatbelt. I had been sure to wear mine since that time and even more aware of setting an example since we had kids. Plus, I just think, what if we get into an accident? I don't want my kids to be orphans or motherless or fatherless just because of the lack of a seatbelt. It wouldn't be fair to them and it brings tears to my eyes to imagine them without us at a young age.

But that was not to be the case today. It was a blessing overall. You see, the cops in my fair town have a reputation for racial profiling. But my officer was as sweet and gentle as could be. He put me at ease and it was a pleasure dealing with him. (Aside: You know. I have to tell him that. I've dealt with condescending, egotistic cops before. I really should tell him he was a joy.) And my crash companions? No finger pointing, no anger to make things tense. Cool, calm and collected they were and I'm certain if they had come at me in any way, I would have gone off, so it's to their credit they kept their cool because I'm sure it helped me keep mine.

Intuition is a funny thing. You don't want to believe it sometimes. You want to dismiss it, ignore it. You call it pessimistic sometimes and think you're just setting yourself up for failure. But when I turned 35 last year, I finally accepted what I already knew: Listen to that still, small voice. Call it God's voice or the Holy Spirit or just your own sixth sense if you don't believe in a Higher Power such as God. But we all have that voice and you must trust it. You must heed it. I knew there was no way I could stop an accident. The very definition of the word tells me that. But I had been driving a little more cautiously than usual and looking all over the place when I started feeling that feeling weeks ago and I'm really grateful to finally be in a place of self-acceptance where I listen to me. If you don't already do it, I highly recommend it.

All in all, as accidents go. This was painless. We have 3 cars so I can still do what I need to do. More car repair is in my future after shelling out about $1,300 this year so far for other repairs but at least this one will be paid for by insurance and I won't have to tap house savings again. This worked out for the good. And the people? All the players were masters of their craft. It was the epitome of civility. And on a hot day like today, it was good to see that people still have the ability to be kind and simply respect each other. I really hope we can find a house of our own in my fair town. Who wouldn't want neighbors like these?

1 comment:

theresa said...

I love the way you write. Let me know where you are looking to live in CT, I know lots of nice houses, I've been looking myself. Thanks for adding me to your favorites. I'm not sure how to do it yet, I'm gonna get a book on blogging for dummies soon.