I Got in a Car Accident Yesterday. How Was Your Day?

Mere minutes after posting my Downton Abbey review yesterday, I was in a car accident. It’s amazing to me how life can spring surprises on you at any moment. TRC’s tooth a week or so ago, and now car damage. Yay?  I’m not going to get into a whole account of exactly what transpired, but suffice it to say that my car was hit as I was pulling out of my driveway. Both driver’s side doors crumpled, but my car is still drivable. The other driver wasn’t injured, and neither was I, thankfully. His car sustained some damage on the front of his car. No idea yet what this is going to end up costing, though I know I’ll have the joy of interacting with insurance companies over the next few days at least.

But of course since this is me, and this is my blog, you know I have some thoughts on the matter. I’ve never been in an accident before, so I got to learn a few things in the immediate aftermath. First up, calling 9-1-1. That was another first for me. It was fairly simple and straightforward, even from a cell phone. Gave them my address, described what had happened. “Any flames or fluids coming from either car?” Thank goodness no. “Any injuries?” Again, no.

The office arrived in about five minutes or so. He took both our licenses, registrations, and proofs of insurance. Asked what had happened. Took fifteen minutes to write up the report, and everyone drove away.

I was shaken up enough after the accident that my hands were trembling. It’s an interesting experience (in hindsight): looking out your window, seeing a car coming, and knowing there’s no way that car is going to stop in time, and you’re about to get broadsided. It reminded me a lot of when I broke my elbow, of course. For me, there came a calm acceptance. There was nothing I could do, and so at that point, it was going to be whatever it was going to be.

I simmered down after a few minutes, mainly because nothing too awful had happened. Everyone was okay, and the cars would live to fight another day. I even made it to jury duty. (Yay?) And once I had time to reflect on the experience, several thoughts bubbled to the surface.

The knee jerk reaction, of course, is to think how easily it could have been avoided. If only jury duty hadn’t meant I was headed into town later. If only I’d been a few seconds slower (or faster) eating my breakfast. If only if only. But on the flip side, it also could easily have been much worse. If the other driver hadn’t seen me in time to put on the brakes some. If I’d been hit closer to where I was sitting.

I was lying in bed after all this was over (jury duty accomplished, kids off sledding), and the thought came crystal clear into my head: I could easily be dead right this moment.

It’s not a stretch to realize that. Yes, the net result of the accident isn’t too terrible, but as I said–it could easily have been worse. And as soon as I had that thought, I had a second: I really believe in life after death. No fooling, folks. I know it’s a matter of some debate for many, but for me, my mind’s made up. My brain wasn’t churning through how close I’d come to oblivion. It was thinking about how close I’d come to the afterlife.

Anyway. I don’t really want this post to get all mopey on everyone. But I will say I was surprised–once I’d had the “I was a few seconds away from being dead” thought–to discover how okay I was with that. I wasn’t worried about things I hadn’t done or mistakes that hadn’t been corrected. I was at peace with the whole thing. You never really know how you’re going to react in a situation like that until you’re in the middle of it, and now I’ve been in the middle of it.

Still, once is enough for me. I’m in no rush to repeat the process. Here’s hoping to a crash-free future, and wish me luck with the insurance peoples, people. I’ll probably need it.

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