A few weeks ago, I got into a really bad accident on my way to the pet store. It had been snowing and the roads were covered in ice, but people I knew were starting to get out again. I figured things would be fine.
After playing a game of fetch at the dog park in my apartment complex, my dog and I got in the car. It was actually my mom's car. I had wrecked my OWN car right before Christmas. Let it be known that I'm the safest driver in my family. I'd never been in a wreck before that and I qualified for all good behavior benefits because I had nothing on my record.
But in less than a month, I wrecked two cars. The first blow was fine -- it was an unavoidable situation and I wasn't completely in the wrong. My car was already starting to fall apart (Volkswagen problems).
But the second time...
I put my foot on the brake pedal as the signal turned yellow. My car didn't stop.
There was a giant SUV in front of me. I was driving a sedan.
The impact caused my airbags to pop, and I could hear my dog cry in the back. My heart was beating so fast and my legs felt like jelly.
It felt like my brain bounced inside my skull for a few seconds.
Luckily, the folks in the car in front of me weren't hurt. The driver was an older white male, and I only mention his race because it had a part in how I felt during the experience.
As soon as I saw him, I felt powerless. Not in a Fuck I just hit his car way but in a I came to his country and ruined his car way. I know it's not right and I know it's absurd, but that's how I felt. This country is, of course, as much mine as it is his. I can't reason with my emotion there.
I immediately started struggling to hold back tears as he spoke to me, talking down to me as anyone would if their new car was just rammed into. He called me irresponsible. I was just braking, and I had started braking from a good distance. Trying to be careful on the ice.
I was so worried about my dog. She's already afraid of riding in cars as it is. I didn't want to leave her alone that day because she had been feeling sick and was especially clingy.
I called my mom and she made me feel guilty for leaving the apartment at all. As if I didn't already regret the decision. We had been stranded for a couple days and I'd run out of dog food. But that wasn't a good enough reason. There was chicken in the freezer.
I hung up and didn't call her back for a while and decided I needed to handle all of this on my own. My parents began to worry as hours went by and I continued to reject their calls. I did text them. I was on the verge of tears and the police officer was escorting me back to my apartment. I didn't want to get on a call because I knew I'd erupt.
I couldn't get myself to call anyone else at that point.
My mom and my dad apologized later on and realized that's not what I needed in that moment. I was honestly just terrified and in a bit of physical pain. A thoughtful reaction often takes time.
But I realized my decision to leave the apartment was foolish. And that added to an already upsetting situation.
*I want to emphasize how grateful I am that neither I, my dog or anyone involved suffered severe or life-threatening injuries. I realize things could have been much worse.
The #100daychallenge writing series is my way of holding my right brain accountable for all the brain fog in hopes that I'll learn to creatively organize my thoughts and learn something(s) new about myself in the process. The challenge includes prompts from the San Francisco Writers' Grotto's 642 Things to Write About. You can also follow my #100daychallenge here.