The Wreckage–a Journal Dive

30 09 2012

I think my brain is on strike. Luckily, I keep a journal. That way, when I want to blog but don’t have the necessary brain power to pull it off, I can just grab something out of my journal, add a couple of pictures, and call it a post.

7 July 2012

It’s official: I am a mess.

Let me tell you about my accident, since I blame that for part of my messiness and fully plan on using that as an excuse for any and all flakiness I display for as long as I can milk it. “I was just in a car accident.”

I ate dinner and worked for awhile before heading to a nearby city’s Costco to pick up some pictures. (I almost never get pictures printed, but I’m trying to do better. Jeff gets all his stuff finished at Costco, but my pictures didn’t look nearly as good as his . . .) After a quick Costco run, I went over to the mall. I returned some things to Sears that I’d gotten from Lands’ End, then looked at dishwashers for a long while. There was a nice salesman who explained a lot of things to me about the dishwashers, and I was confident I’d be able to decide on one and buy it this weekend. (SPOILER ALERT! I didn’t.) It was 9:00.

I headed home, relaxed and happy and enjoying singing as loud as I wanted with the radio. I stopped at the light at the bottom of —— Road, turning left onto —— Highway. From there I’d hop onto Highway —— and sail on home. I planned on finishing my work and maybe prepping Eden’s room to paint the next day. Or maybe I’d just read a book.

The light changed, and I pulled out. A car honked. I saw it coming towards me way, way too fast. I remember looking at my green arrow, feeling it burn into my retina, and thinking, “Why are you honking at me?” And then I thought, “He’s going to hit me.”

And he did.

CDs flew out of the case on my visor, clattering down like a silver rain shower. My hands still gripped the steering wheel. I couldn’t see any damage from where I was sitting, but I knew it was there: I’d heard it, that sickening crunch. I’d felt the force of the other car rock me sideways.

My weekend plans clattered around my brain like the CDs. And even though I never swear, I guess sometimes I do because as I slowly finished the turn and pulled off the road as best as I could, I said, “Oh, shit.”

[Every time I read that, it makes me crack up. I don’t know why.]

I fumbled for my bag, which had flown off the passenger seat and was now nesting on the floor amid the CDs. It was full of notebooks and papers and receipts and checkbooks. I dug around until I found my cell phone, inwardly chastising myself for not charging it earlier.

[I will skip the next bit, as I called friends and NO ONE answered. That increased the awesome factor at that moment: no man Friday in sight.]

A lady had pulled over right in front of me. “Are you okay?” she mouthed.

I nodded. I tried to open the door to get out, but it only gave a crack. I clambered over the middle to the passenger seat, crunching on an empty water bottle on the way.

I was wearing a skirt. I’m sure it looked quite elegant, but I didn’t care. I already knew what all the other drivers were thinking as they went by, and it wasn’t, “Wow, look at that lady climbing over the seat in her skirt!” it was, “Wow, I’m so glad that’s not me.”

After assuring her again I was okay, the lady left. She drove around to the other side of the street to ask the other driver if he was all right. I moved over to a grassy area where I could see the other vehicle–it was a small Honda, probably a Civic. The entire front end was smashed in. Smoke poured out from under the hood and slithered into the sky. The driver had his head between both hands, sitting on the curb. Another man gave me a thumbs up with his eyebrows raised, as if to ask, “Are you okay?” I nodded, even though I was shaking harder than ever.

I was just in a car accident.

He rubbed his arms and mouthed, “Cold?” I shook my head. The day had been warm, and some of that still lingered in the air. If I had been putting my arms around myself, it was to stop the shaking.

This entire time I had been on my cell phone with 9-1-1 dispatch. She got all the pertinent information and said a policeman would soon be there to help. I thanked her, and was touched when she said, right before closing the call, “I’m glad you’re okay.”

I called the insurance next. He took all the information and told me he’d send a tow truck. He, too, said he was glad I was all right.

At about this point I realized there were about 15 mosquitoes on my legs, arms, and neck. [The “grassy area” I was standing in happened to back up to a wetland.] I swatted them away as  a policeman drove up. He parked about 50 feet behind me and turned on his lights. He came up to me and asked me if I was hurt. Then he asked for my driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration. Luckily, I had grabbed the folder containing all of those on my way out of the car. Well, except my license. That was in my wallet.

He took them and walked toward the van with his flashlight. By this time the sunset had faded to full dark and I was starting to get cold. Another officer pulled up behind the first–a lady. She was younger than me, and was pretty. But, you know, tough, too, in her uniform. She spoke to me, asked me some questions, I don’t remember what.

The first policeman came up to me. He asked me a couple of things. I noticed his bullet-proof vest on and wondered, “What would it be like to have your husband work a job where a bullet-proof vest is necessary?” Then he said, “I’m blocking traffic, so you can get in your vehicle before you’re eaten alive.”

That was a relief.

Tami texted me right when I got inside. It went something like, “Sorry I missed your call. Do you need anything?”

I said, “I was in a car accident.”

“Oh, no! Do you want me to come?”

“Yes, if you can.”

I sat in the car and watched the other driver across the busy road. I watched the lady police officer take pictures of my car with a digital camera. I watched a tow truck come and pull up to the other vehicle and pull it around to the Park-and-Ride lot.

I was just in a car accident.

The sense of unreality persisted as I climbed into the back of the van to close Zack’s window. I noticed the booster seats were in complete disarray, and Eden’s scriptures–which had been sitting in the back next to her seat–had somehow ended up in Rainbow’s seat. The Costco run items were a jumbled mess, but nothing was breakable so it didn’t matter. I saw three of Eden’s necklaces she had wrapped around the clothes hanger hook next to her seat, dangling. I unwrapped them and put them in an old Goodwill bag with her scriptures.

The policeman came to the door. He handed me a typed sheet with the information from both parties–names, addresses, drivers’ license numbers, and insurance information. “We don’t assign blame,” he told me. “The insurance companies do that. We just take statements. I may issue tickets, but the insurance company will decide who is to blame.” And who will pay, I assumed.

Tami arrived the same time as the tow truck. She hugged me, handed me a jacket, and laughed at my lame attempts at jokes. She’s such a good friend.

The tow truck driver got my van all loaded up and went over to the Park-and-Ride. Tami, who was astute enough to see the crosswalks that I couldn’t, led me around and over to the lot. The other driver had just left, so I never did talk to him.

The tow truck driver—Rick, with the $115k outfit [don’t ask how that came up in conversation, because I don’t really remember]—lowered the van enough for me to get inside and pull out the goods from Costco. I also pulled out the tools for the garden, completely forgetting that I had no way to get to the garden.

Tami took me home, unloaded my stuff, and left me with a hug.

I spent the next day just feeling grateful. So many things to be grateful for.

The thing about journal entries is, because they continue into the next day, they tend to be a bit inconclusive. I was grateful that I hadn’t been seriously injured. I was grateful I didn’t have my kids with me. I was grateful, also, that they were at their dad’s that weekend, so I could try and get my head on straight in peace. And they were able to fix the van, which was nice because it’s paid for. Blessings abound.

If you made it all the way to the end of this post, congratulations! You are truly a human being with an enduring spirit. I’ll try to post pictures of the fixed van soon. (As soon as I take them.) Because no one can get enough KIA goodness, right?


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10 responses

30 09 2012
Mark

I can’t believe Tami did not even tell me about his! I am so glad you are okay!

1 10 2012
GoofyJ

So glad you are okay! What wonderful blessings 🙂 Good to see you back in the blog world too 😀

1 10 2012
Heather

I love to read your posts!

I was in a car accident on my 16th birthday. I wasn’t driving (my dad was) but after it happened I loudly chose to use the same “Irish exclamation” that you did. My dad said, “Heather, you don’t have to say that,” to which I very slowly and dramatically responded, ” I was just in a car accident. I can say whatever I want.” I laughed out loud when I imagined you having a similar moment.

1 10 2012
Mrs. Olsen

Yikes! I hope your insurance company wins. It sounds like the guy ran a red right? Glad you’re okay.

1 10 2012
Dixie Burt

So glad you are okay, and yes, we have much to be grateful for! 😀

1 10 2012
Shaunna Gonzales (@ShaunnaGonzales)

Wow! I know the intersection. I’ve always hated it. I started to wonder when you mentioned a grassy spot…yeah, like more of a swampland! I wonder how many times we’ve crossed paths. Gee, I think I’ve seen that van with that beautiful dent!

1 10 2012
Melissa

That is scary! So much to be grateful for. I know it has been said, but I am glad you are okay.

2 10 2012
Niki

What a hassle. I’m glad you’re okay and you talked to nice folk that were glad you’re okay too. Man, if I only cussed when I got hit by a car, I’d be doing pretty well. Amber and my dad and prob Monica too are worse than me. Oh, and you are such an excellent writer. Have I said that before?

3 10 2012
Valene Archibald

Wendy–I am so glad you are okay and that the kids were not with you. I would have cussed too. And as my dad said to me once after a car accident, “Cars can easily be replaced. You cannot be replaced”.
Love ya,
Valene

3 10 2012
Melanee

I made it to the end of the post, and I want to say one thing first-congratulations on getting your photos printed. I am exactly the same way with leaving them in digital format, and my mother is not happy with me for it, but I’m trying too, so bravo on that!

On New Year’s Day several years back, I was in a fender bender. No big deal it seems, but it shook me up. It was like it messed with the semicircular canals and vestibule in the inner ear which regulate balance, and I felt emotionally off for quite a while.

Of course, because I seek for a positive outcome in everything in an attempt to keep myself emotionally afloat, I decided that I would use the experience as a shaking up, a potential for redirection, for looking at the world in some new way I never before supposed.

Oh! You’re “Irish exclamation,” as Heather put it, makes me smile. That is the word I least enjoyed hearing my mother say when I was a girl, and the one I seem to savor the most in any automobile altercation. Really. Why bother with the rest of them?

Glad you are safe and still writing. You captured me in the first sentence and kept me interested the entire experience. Love you!

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