I’m running in Sarah Kovac’s Saturday Sprint. This week’s prompt: “I never thought I’d be so thankful for …”
An anniversary passed this week and I didn’t notice: one year after last year’s car accident.
It was May 13, a Sunday night, and ordinarily I would not have driven home that way after work, but my car was parked in a place I don’t usually park. Even so, instead of turning right onto Main, as I normally would, I kept straight on Capitol. I had the green light, and saw a large pickup with a zebra guard coming from the right, coming too fast, not slowing down at all —
I knew as I entered the intersection that it was going to hit me. Relax, I thought. Don’t go rigid. Look straight ahead. I may have sped up a tiny bit, I don’t know. Then came the impact, and the sound.
He hit me in the rear passenger side door, and it spun the car sideways, and the brakes failed. I was perpendicular to the street and there was not enough room, going at that speed, to correct and get back on the road. Luckily, instead of sidewalk and building ahead of me, there was a former pedestrian mall. I drove down the three or four shallow steps, turned left on the bricks, drove around a tree, drove up the next set of steps, and bumped out onto the street again, a little swervy, not unlike Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disney World. The car fishtailed and I finally got it to stop.
The guy who hit me couldn’t have been nicer. He even took off the flattened tire and put the doughnut on after the police got there.
Normally a car accident would not be something you’d be thankful for, but I have said more than once that it’s one of the best things that happened to me last year, and here’s why.
The car was in the shop for nearly six weeks, having this and that done to it. I started with a boat of a rental and exchanged it for something smaller. So in addition to my job (which had recently returned from furlough reductions to a full 40 hours a week), I had this car stuff to deal with. And the car wasn’t the only one with some body damage. I spent some time seeing a chiropractor, and then a physical therapist, for those six weeks and beyond. And here’s why I’m glad for all that: It taught me that I can do more than I thought in the time that I have.
Time expands or contracts to accommodate what we have to do within it. It was an accomplishment to see that I could go to work, deal with car shops and insurance, see the health care professionals, and still meet the regular requirements of daily life. About two months after the accident, I got a book contract, and I ended up writing a book in six weeks last summer (while traveling two of those weekends and still meeting other writing assignment deadlines). I’m not sure I could have done that without the momentum of the accident. Thanks, wild ride, for knocking some inertia out of me.
Here are the other sprinters, at the finish line …