First. Hopefully, My Last.

There are a lot of firsts in life, some of them good, some of them bad, some peaceful, some painful.

Mine was bad and painful!

Last week was my first real car accident–it wasn’t my fault!


I was waiting at one of the very long stop lights in Encinitas. Actually, I was calmly waiting. Sometimes the long wait makes you crazy, but I was thinking of seeing my son at dinner. Moms don’t get too many dinner dates with their sons, so this was a special day.


Slam! 800 tons of metal had slammed into my car, or at least that is what it felt like. My whole body convulsed as if it was crashing against rocks below a cliff. I had no control over what was happening to my body. I hit the side of the car. My hands had a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel trying to give me a sense of control, but it didn’t stop me from jostling back and forth in my seat. And yes, I did have my seatbelt on. My brain had so sense of what had happened. Then I looked up and saw the car in front of me driving away and I had no idea what to do. I felt as if I was thinking through a haze. Surprisingly, I didn’t think about myself or if I was hurt. The first thought that popped into my head is that I wouldn’t see my son and I wanted to cry. My second thought was, “I’ve been hit and what do I do?”


I never want to inconvenience anyone. So, automatically, I drove away from the intersection wanting to go to the side of the road. I didn’t stop to look at my car, I just moved. I kept driving forward until the car in the next lane honked so I would move over.


My head was in a fuzzy, murky cloud. My body hurt–I ached everywhere–particularly my back. I knew I had to get out, but the traffic kept coming. I parked on the side, not knowing or caring if it was a no parking zone. A huge SUV loomed up behind me overshadowing my little car and parked behind me.


If I was unlucky enough to get in an accident, at least I was lucky enough to be hit by an honest gentleman. The first word out of his mouth was “It was all my fault.” Then he kept repeating to get out of the street. I managed to stumble onto the sidewalk and when I saw the back side of my car, I was shocked. The trunk was pushed in at least a foot. The lights were cracked and the red covering had completely fallen off one light. It was crumpled, puckered, crimpled and wrinkled. Then when I glanced at his giant SUV, there was absolutely no damage!


I know I have to exchange information and the only thing I had in the front seat was a bag from the pharmacy. When the man suggested I use another piece of paper, I glared at him and said “this is fine.”


Of course, my shaking hands and even shakier voice belied the fact that I was ok. When he saw how badly I was shaking, he offered to write his information down for me, but for some reason I needed to feel some sense of control, because at that point all other control was taken away from me. I told him I could write it.


He said he wondered if the trunk had been sprung. The trunk was closed tight. He had to check it. Why do men have to take things apart and then try to put them together again? Yes, the trunk was sprung. It popped up with a clunk. Then he tried to close it. He slammed and slammed and slammed and slammed, trying to close a trunk that had been tightly closed and in place before he opened it.


The advantage of the huge SUV is that he is capable of keeping a huge garagae full of repair equipment in it. As I watched dumbfounded, he tried to push and pull and pick up pieces that fell from the trunk, then he grew more and more red-faced. “I think I have some twine to put this together.” He spent at least 10 minutes rummaging through his trunk trying to find the twine. He found a huge tangle of thin twine. I know twine and I was really concerned that it would never hold. He tried to find several places to attach the twine so he could tie it. Nothing! Finally, he tied one around one side of the license plate, and then he realized that would not work, so he had to fumble with the twine once again trying to untangle it. Yes, he managed to finally secure the trunk in place.


What do you say to the person who broke your car and then tried to fix it with twine? I mumbled a soft thank you. I am not a vicious person and my brain was still in a deep fog, so I got in the car and drove away–leaving him there to call his insurance.

Once I got home, I said what I wanted to say, but he didn’t hear it. Then I called my insurance, but that is another story.

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