It was one of those moments, you know? We were driving, the light was weird, the lanes kept getting lost in and out of the mist from the salty water pulled up from the blacktop and the intense bright glare of the sun. Southbound, I-95, just past Washington DC.
Truth is, we didn’t stand a chance.
So, one person in the far left–who had lost sight of their lane in the glare–realized they had drifted out of their lane and were about to hit the construction sand barrels in the left median. They, of course, jerked their car back into the left lane. Which caused the truck next to them to jerk into the middle lane. Which caused me to have to swerve…and I have no idea what happened, but I lost control of the car.
Long story short, we hit the right concrete abutment, spun back into traffic, did a complete 360 and hit the same abutment again. I do remember yanking the wheel to the right after the first hit on the right, because the last thing I wanted was a hit by oncoming traffic. We came back to rest against that same concrete divider.
So here’s the deal: We walked away from this. George and I opened our doors and walked away a little dented but generally, just fine. And while we both think this sucked and wish this hadn’t happened, we also both acknowledge that it could have been much, much worse. So we search for lessons among the wreckage. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
We are OK, because of things like seat belts and air bags. Thanks for doing your jobs, good people of the Honda Safety Division!
My mother was supposed to be in the car with us, then for a few different reasons decided she couldn’t make the trip. I was mad at first, now I’m incredibly relieved she wasn’t with us because no older lady needs to spin 360s in the right lane on I-95 southbound. I need to remember to accept situations as they are, not as I want them to be.
Regardless of what is or is not as I want things to be, 2013 can still go fuck itself.
We were helped by a string of incredibly nice people, some of whom didn’t have to help, and all of whom didn’t have to be so nice. Faith in humanity = shored up again.
This was one of those times when it became all to clear to me that we balance on the edge of a string. And it doesn’t take all that much to get flung off the string or have is snap beneath you and send you hurtling into the abyss. I’ve had a few other events like this in my life (the night a heater blew in an old apartment, the day I nearly got pulled out to sea in an undertow) and…while I don’t like to contemplate the abyss, I think it’s important to recognize those times that bring you perilously close to the edge, where you’re walking away under your own power simply because of a fingernail’s breadth worth of luck.
And so. George and I are in the market for a new car, and it sucks but it’s OK. I loved that car, but it was a car, and it sucks that it’s gone but it’s OK. I’ll be wearing suspiciously high-collared shirts until the abrasion from the seat belt fades, and that’s OK. And we’ll drive off in the morning sun in a rented minivan, which–trust me–is not my dream car. But it’s OK.
Now go hug someone. XOXO