Whoa, hey, what?
What are you doing here? I wasn’t expecting to see anybody today, what with Average Fantastic opening its proverbial doors. I mean, yeah, I’ll still be blogging here three days a week, but seriously? You’re here, instead of over at Average Fantastic?
Go check it out while I take the curlers out of my hair and put my face on. It’s got new content every day this week. See you in a few minutes.
La dee dah.
Oh, you’re back now? Excellent. We can get started.
I suppose it’s about time I told ya’ll about the car wreck.
Since I was fifteen, I’ve been driving an old Toyota Camry. It was my Grandma’s car. I drove her to her appointments in it, and to dialysis when my parents were busy. In return, I could borrow it whenever I needed, but it was always Grandma’s car. It was never mine. When Grandma died last year, I drove that car to her funeral. I drove it when I moved some of her old things to Corvallis to furnish our little spider-filled apartment. Somewhere in there, it should have become ‘my’ car, but it never did. It was always Grandma’s car that she was graciously letting me use.
Last Wednesday when I left work for my lunch break the car wouldn’t start. I maybe should have seen that as an omen and stayed in the building, but I didn’t. Instead, I found a friendly coworker to jump the battery and went on my merry way. My lunch break was pleasant. Taylor and I watched an episode of Louie, that new FX series starring Louie CK. It’s kind of a weird show, but it’s growing on us.
I was nearly back into the office, listening to that cover of Hey Ya that I’ve gotten so fond of, when I noticed a semi truck looming up next to me. It was going faster than I was. No problem. I kept an eye on it. Suddenly, though, I noticed it seemed to be getting kind of close. Too close. It was definitely veering into my lane. I felt my breath catch hard in my throat and I honked as violently as I could.
The truck couldn’t hear me.
The chorus of Hey Ya was playing as the truck slammed into my side, dragging me next to it as I hit the brakes and screamed obscenities. The sound was terrible. Grinding, snapping metal, creaking as the silver panels of the car peeled back and shredded.
“Heyyyy yaaa….Hey yaaaaaa….”
The car pressed against the sidewalk. I quickly checked to see if I was about to kill any pedestrians or bicyclists. Suddenly, the truck broke away, swerving back into its own lane. I coasted into the nearest parking lot and sat. I could feel my heart thumping in my temples.
“You think you got it…whoooaaa you think you got it, but God you just don’t get it…”
I turned the car off.
The driver’s side door was crunched, but I was able to open it and get it. I stood for about two minutes, just looking. Finally, I heard the frantic footsteps of the other driver coming up the sidewalk. He was sweating, his face pale.
“Are you okay?” he asked me.
Was I okay? I had no idea. The car was wrecked. Grandma’s car. Was wrecked. I wasn’t cut, though, and my bones weren’t broken. I was just dizzy.
“I’m okay,” I said. “Are you okay?”
The driver didn’t answer. He was distracted by the state of my front fender and the popped tire that sank into the pavement.
“Ohh man,” he murmured. “Ohhhh no. Oh man. Aw, no.”
A minivan stopped, and a woman rolled down her window. She asked if I was okay, and did I need help? I could see her kids in the back seat. I smiled broadly and told her no, I was fine, a fender bender, more like a fender shredder, ha ha ha, nobody seemed hurt. The woman in the minivan eyed the other driver.
“Are you…getting everything that you need?” she asked me.
“Yeah, I…no….I…I just need to call my dad,” I said. “I gotta call my dad now.”
The woman nodded and drove away. I called my father, who was calm and helpful and told me exactly what I needed to do. I called my insurance agent, who told me what I needed to get from the other driver. The other driver gave me all of his information, and my insurance agent (waiting patiently on the phone) told me that the other driver could leave now. I tried to crack jokes now and again. Nobody really laughed, but I did it anyway.
The next three hours was a maze of phone calls, tow trucks, and a trip to the Urgent Care clinic. My back and shoulder had started to ache. Everyone I spoke to was very kind. The people who worked in the business that I had pulled up to poured out and asked me if I needed anything, took me inside, let me use their conference room. The guys that came with the tow truck patiently explained the law to me, what I could and couldn’t do. The receptionist at the car repair place that my poor destroyed Camry got pulled up to asked me if I was okay, and a mechanic there told me he’d give me a ride, no charge, to wherever I needed to go. People kept stopping to see if I needed anything.
I kept saying, no, no, I’m fine. It’s okay. People get in wrecks! It’s no big deal! I’m a little sore, maybe. A lot sore, actually, but it’s okay. I’m fine. Thanks for stopping.
The doctor at Urgent Care told me that my bones weren’t broken, and it was hard to tell the extent of the injuries at that point. I’d be sore for several weeks, she estimated. She could give me something for the pain. I joked that I had never been to the Urgent Care center before, and I was glad that it was actually for something urgent. It’s nice to make a grand entrance. The doctor laughed, which made me feel a little better. I was trying not to think about the car itself, all torn and crushed up and sitting alone in the auto garage storage lot.
About every five minutes I got a phone call, from my dad, from my mom, from my friends that I had texted just after the crash, from the insurance people, from my boss, from my assistant, from my coworkers, from the mechanics. I calmly talked to everyone and gave the appropriate information and signed the right forms to make sure that everything could be taken care of as efficiently as possible.
I finally got home about five hours after the crash. My boss had picked me up at the clinic, since I didn’t have a car, and drove me back to the apartment. When I got in, I called and talked to my mom, told her about the doctor visit, and assured her that I was okay. Or she assured me that I was okay. Probably a little of both. By that time, my heartbeat had gone back down, I had a little color back in my face, and there was a clear way to proceed. All in all, I felt very adult about the whole thing. I’m twenty three, I thought. I can handle a car wreck.
Taylor got home at six. He opened the front door, and parked his bike.
“Hi,” I said, grinning at him. “So, how was your day?”
“Oh, sweetie,” he said.
Suddenly the part of my brain responsible for holding my shit together all day just snapped. I began to sob. Taylor sat on the couch next to me and hugged me while I soaked his shoulder with snot and tears.
“Grandma’s car is wrecked,” I told him. “They broke Grandma’s car, and it’s never going to work again.”
“I know,” Taylor said. “I’m sorry.”