Monday, October 10, 2005

OK, That Thing That Happened

I volunteered to drive two colleagues down to the City for our conference last week. So last Tuesday I picked up the first co-worker--the one coming to Florence with me--and we headed down to the other rendezvous point. I pulled off the freeway, we were talking about her recent spa experience, and I was trying to figure out where to go in the intersection, and I ran a red light. Just like that. The red light, the most important part of any intersection, literal, philosphical, or otherwise, just didn't register. It somehow didn't apply to me at that moment.

Fate and God must've been on my side--no cars were coming from my left (at least, I don't think they were, or they managed not to hit me), and I was able to pull a NASCAR move and crank the Wonder Wagon out of the path of the large silver SUV coming from the right. I somehow pulled off the road, the passenger of the SUV cursed me roundly as they drove by, my head in my hands, trying to digest what had happened and how. My companion took it very well, considering she was several inches from serious injury. We decided not to tell the other person we were picking up to spare her nerves (I had gone to the wrong side of the freeway, so she blessedly had not been witness to this incident).

I had a hard time sleeping that night, and was exhausted the next day at the hot, crowded, noisy, never-ending event--no wonder I have a cold now. Every time the thought of that SUV sliding so close to me popped into my mind, I would give an involuntary little gasp, and a bit of adrenaline would squeeze my heart. I'm still walking around making little sound effects.

But, on the bright side, suddenly my priorities were realigned. So what if the New York Times didn't write a story about the conference? I was safe, my car intact, and best of all someone else wasn't in the hospital due to my incompetence. I talked to her later, and said that I could completely understand if she didn't want to ride back with me, but she pooh-poohed that--it happens to everyone, she said; she'd been in two accidents herself. Which was M's response also. But, it hadn't happened to me before. And it was a pride-goeth-before-a-fall-kinda moment, too. I have to pump myself up before these conferences in order to get through them, so I was feeling all suave and competent. It was probably good that I had to continue driving into the City, and had to drive everyone home again a few days later. I'm still fighting feelings of fear, stupidity, and guilt, and need to rev my confidence a bit.

I regularly wonder when my car accident will happen. It's just a matter of time, given how often I'm in my car. And now that I've had a close shave, is the big bang even closer?

Thank you FSM, good luck shamrock charm, God, fate, etc.


At 7:27 PM, October 11, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It really could happen to anyone, Suz. I'm sorry you were so shook up, as I would be, especially as I am such a cowardly driver. It will just make you a safer driver.


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