Thursday, August 25, 2011

My Year of Living Erroneously 3

I was invited to meet Tori at Downtown Disney where she was going to buy me an early dinner. Since my income had completely stopped and my unemployment benefits had not yet kicked in I was thrilled to be getting out of the house and not have to worry about where the money was going to come from to pay for my entertainment. Sitting around the house was starting to depress me so I was pretty excited about getting to be Disneyland adjacent.

It was a warm and beautiful day. The sun was still shining brightly as I left the house. I was less than 10 miles away from my house doing about 45 mph approaching an intersection. I had a 2 second fleeting thought that something was wrong but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it and before I knew it (insert ominous music here..) I had plowed in to the back of the car in front of me.

In slow motion I heard my breaks screech, I felt my head turning away from the explosion of the airbag in my steering wheel, I inhaled the powder that is inside of the airbag, I heard the sickening thud of my car hitting the car in front of me, I heard glass breaking, I heard metal bending, I felt my head snap forward and backward and the next thing I knew I was standing outside of my car. My first thought was that I was very, very happy that I was standing up because that meant that A. I was still alive and B. Apparently I wasn’t gravely injured. Then I realized that I had actually hit another car and I could have killed someone. You just don’t know the relief I felt when I saw the person in the other car get out and walk over to the sidewalk on her own two feet. I had never before in my life seriously thought that I might have killed someone and it’s a thought or feeling I do not ever care to have again.

My shaky, wobbly legs carried me to the sidewalk and I walked up to the woman from the other car. She literally greeted me with open arms and embraced me saying, in broken English, “I’n sorry…I’n sorry.” I asked her if she was injured and she said no. Any further conversation was going to be very limited because she didn’t actually speak English. Out of nowhere a father and his teenage daughter were suddenly standing by my side asking me if there was anything they could do to help us. As if by some miracle the daughter spoke fluent Spanish and was able to confirm that the other driver was not injured and did not need medical attention. The girl told me that the driver was asking me to not call the police because she didn’t have a driver’s license. She said that the car wasn’t hers but she was insured to drive it. I asked the father if he could help me to dial my phone because I had made about 10 attempts to call my sister and IMOM who are both on my speed dial but I was such a nervous wreck that I couldn’t make my phone work. It was a total out of body experience when I heard myself telling Tori that I wanted her to come and get me because I had just totaled my car.

I tried several times to call my car insurance representative and wouldn’t you know it…when I was finally able to successfully make the call the police showed up. So all at once I was trying to answer questions from the police officer and talk to my insurance agent. Neither one wanted to yield to the other so I had to hang up on the insurance guy. The police officer asked us if either one of us were hurt at least 5 times. He offered to call an ambulance if we thought we needed one. We both assured him that we were fine and he separated me from the woman in the other car and we both gave them our version of what had happened. When he asked me what caused me to hit her I had to tell him the truth…”I have no idea…” Sounds just as lame today as it did last year.

I was able to get the insurance people back on the phone and requested a tow truck and answered all of their questions. I had finally been able to calm myself down enough to realize that my right inner arm was on fire. I was wearing a tank top and thus there was nothing between my skin and the exploding airbag. My whole upper arm was burned. Not so bad that I needed medical attention but bad enough that it really hurt.

Tori arrived just in time to help me try to get some of the stuff out of my car before they towed it away. Mr. Paul was there to offer his help and Jake was doing his best to run around in the intersection in an effort to show us exactly how he felt about his trip to Disneyland being thwarted. People who know me well know that I pretty much live out of my car. I keep clothes, shoes, blankets, cds, food and everything but the kitchen sink in my back seat. As Tori and I dragged object after object out of the car the tow truck driver grew impatient. I asked Paul to carry a 13 lb. bag of cat food over to his mom’s car and he assured me that it was too heavy for him to carry but he was sure that I could do it just fine. Finally the truck driver told us that he had to get my car to the tow yard and that if I wanted anything else out of it I would have to get it later.

I will never forget watching my smashed up car go off in to the wild blue yonder, Jake still having a cow because he still wanted to go to Disneyland, cat food still sitting on the sidewalk because no one has picked it up, arm on fire because it was attacked by an airbag, the relief that I didn’t hurt anyone and thanking God that this mess was only as bad as it was…and thinking that my life couldn’t get any worse than this.

October 14, 2010



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