This weekend I should have packed it in, stayed in bed, and eaten ice cream like I wanted to. I worked on Saturday, and most of it was overtime which was nice. My only complaint is an odd one; I was bored most of the day. Okay, all of the day, except when I was sleeping.
I generally avoided thinking about what the day could have been. I marked it in increments of time, and it passed. Hours good and bad will always pass. I left work and headed home. On the highway, I got a ding in my windshield. Rock versus glass made that painful little ‘crack!’ and I knew it had left a mark. To illustrate how I have been more myself lately, I only emitted one curse word, and decided to call someone to fix it on Monday. I surprised myself with my calmness and I took heart in it. The incident with the bug must have calmed my angered nerves.
Later, I went to have lunch with some NH friends who were in town for, well, nothing. It was very nice as six of us ended up hanging out for most of the afternoon catching up and reliving old times. I headed home for the second time that day. As I headed down the highway, I drove into a wicked rain storm. I have seriously not seen rain like that in a long time. Traffic had slowed in general as visibility was seriously decreased. I was in the ‘fast’ lane and following the road down an incline when I saw a state trooper pulled over and another car in the middle of the median ahead. As anyone does when they see a cop ahead, I checked my speed and found it acceptably under the limit.
Without warning, as these things happen, I felt that my back tires were no longer acquainted with the road surface. I attempted to compensate and stayed out of my neighboring lane, but ended up doing a 180 into the car that was in the median, narrowly missed the trooper, and came to rest facing the wrong direction in the median against the guardrail. A lot of things seemed to happen at once. A quick head-to-toe of myself, putting the car in park and turning it off, and getting out to assist the poor sap who was in the car I hit. The trooper met me before I could get out completely, and asked if I was okay. “Yeah,” I replied, “I’m a paramedic, is he okay? Are you okay?” They were both fine. But I thought it was funny that I sort of felt that saying I was a paramedic exempted me from being hurt. I feel like I could have had my arm off and as long as I assured everyone that I was a paramedic, no one would question me. Meanwhile, it was raining buckets, and in the few minutes I was outside the truck, I was absolutely soaked. From what I could tell, the truck was okay, although I could only see one side of it. I still felt shocked when the trooper said I could drive it away, as long as I had four wheel drive. Ironically, the other car had just been in a wreck, which is why it was in the middle of the median. I know I did damage to it, but it already being messed up was small consolation for me. After handing over the necessary documents, I spent 5 minutes locating my phone which somehow got into the backseat. I then put my seatbelt back on and called my mom. It’s amazing how quickly one can say: ‘I’vebeeninanaccidentandI’mokay’ to someone. It’s also amazing how the paramedic in me can take over and make me sound perfectly calm when I felt absolutely not calm.
I was not given a ticket, although getting one might have helped to assuage my guilt. I tentatively pulled out of what was now a seasonal river in the median, and got back on the highway. Luckily, I was close to home and drove straight to a body shop. The damage seemed to be mostly cosmetic. You could definitely feel it was damaged and there was wet grass absolutely everywhere. My parents picked me up, and randomly, we went to my brother’s café, as I needed ice cream, stat. We stayed there for a while. I attempted to reconstruct the scene using a key, a penknife, and some cough drops. As I did, I realized how much I missed in the mere seconds of the accident. For example, I have no idea what I hit with the drivers side of my truck. It will remain a mystery. Then, my sister and her family arrived, and we all hung out together. It had been a long time since we had this opportunity, and it was wonderful.
Sometimes the silver lining is hard to find. Sometimes the advantages of crappy situations people come up with are silly and petty. For example, not having to go to the DMV this week to get my Maryland plates is not a silver lining to this. Unlike other recent events in my life the silver lining in this was obvious. I could have killed people. I could have killed a state trooper. I could have flipped over, and I’m not quite sure what stopped me. The truck could have been totaled. I could have been injured, a lot.
So, here I am, breathing in and out, putting one foot in front of the other as best I can, looking for somewhere to put my sadness. Life can be unpredictable and confusing, but never dull. Shit.