Wherein driving carefully (almost) pays off

Or: It’s a good thing there was deodorant in my purse.

On my way to work this morning just after I switched from one freeway to the next, I came upon a bunch of stopped traffic.  Because I am a cautious driver and leave a bunch of space ahead of me, I was able to keep from hitting the stopped cars.  But, I still got hit by the two cars behind me.  One, technically, but I’m going for sympathy.  I was the top piece of a Honda/Dodge/BMW sammich.

Of course I was in a middle lane and had to get over to the shoulder.  That was sure fun.   And now I know where to turn the hazard lights on.  It only took me five minutes to find that big button by the CD player. 


I am fine.  My neck is stiff, and I don’t look forward to tomorrow, but no real harm done.  The poor guy who hit me was on his way to the VA to get nighttime equipment for his trach, and I felt really badly for him.  He’d been smashed into by the BMW behind him.  After I gave way better info than I got (I guess I was a little rattled, I was all, Here take my card!), I got back into my bumper-slightly-crunched van and went to work.  There’s no way I’d miss a chance to see Jenny, and she came into the office today.  Luckily for her, I’d thrown some deodorant into my purse this morning.  Having a scary freeway crash made me have stinky, scared, not nice smelling sweat.  And, you know, I made her sit right next to me for the short time I was there today.

I left early to get to a doctor’s appointment (because better safe than up shit creek with no documentation of how you got there) and so missed a solid half day of work.  Which, really bad.  I’m behind as it is.  The doctor was nice, but stingy with the drugs (she says for me to take tylenol, since I can’t take ibuprofen). 

Tonight at home the kids were really sweet.  I guess John didn’t tell them what happened (good call, that) and so when they found out they all pampered me.  They did sort of piss me off by going to play out front while I was in the shower, but who can blame them when the weather is nice and there are trikes and bikes calling to them.  I stood on the front porch in my bathrobe and a towel around my head and called them in.  Which reminded me of a story that one of my former husband’s friends told about hearing her neighbor calling to her daughter who was playing in the back yard (this is my all-time, A number one, top favorite quote ever, hands down.  I’m not sure why.)

Margie! Git on sum panties ore yore not gittin a pork chop!

You can’t make that shit up.

Anyway — the kids came in, I got on my favorite pajama pants (red flannel with little kid cowboys and cows and horses.  even lassos! they rock, hard) and a comfy old tshirt and rather than being responsible, I started making brownies with the kids at what would be bedtime in a house run by a mom who is smart enough to be sure the kids get enough rest.  I’m sorta more about the fun sometimes.   They had baths during the baking time, and then we all hung out in the kitchen, eating hot and totally gooey gluten and dairy free brownies that did not suck and were so superfabulous Sophie asked if we could make them for her class on her birthday next week.  The boys cleaned up as best they could and we struck a deal about allowance and chores.  I have been crunching numbers to see if I can hire some housekeeping help, because holy hell do we need help around here, but why do that when I can pay my kids so very much less to do almost the same stuff.  Sure, the floor is less clean when Nate cleans it as opposed to a professional, but he only charges five dollars a week.  Plus, clean floors in my house are not much more than heartache waiting to happen.  They also put away a bunch of laundry, made their lunches, read stories to the girls while I cut up bell peppers and strawberries for the lunches, and got all the laundry and towels picked up off the bathroom floor.  And they didn’t bitch and gripe about it AND they picked up stuff that didn’t belong to them without convulsions, like they usually have if I even consider requesting that they help pick up an item that isn’t theirs.  You think I am being facetious.  I swear I am not.

Back to the wreck for a second, and then I will put myself to bed:  I’ve had much more dramatic close calls in my life, but I think that even a minor accident on the freeway will get a person to thinking about stuff a little differently.  We want to have no regrets, right?  That’s somehow related to having lived a good life.  I don’t know, sometimes you rack up the regrets in totally legitimate ways.  That’s a whole other subject, though.  What I mean is that the importance of things in your life shifts a bit when you can identify a point in your day where you stood a reasonable chance of dying.  My priorities were shuffled, is what I am saying.  I was already having to let go of something that I’ve been turning over and over in my head for about a year, something that I couldn’t figure out and that had a considerable amount of power over my happiness.  What a total relief it is to let that go.  To stop worrying about it.  To wave at it as it floats and bobs away, carried downriver on waves of oh well, whatever.  I feel lighter.

4 thoughts on “Wherein driving carefully (almost) pays off

  1. Marsha

    Yesterday while driving on the freeway, I got stuck in two separate traffic jams due to accidents. And I felt sorry for myself due to all the delays. I guess I have been living in the all about me bubble. I am glad you are ok and feeling lighter. I think kids who help around the house feel more grown up and valued, eventually.

  2. je-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-en! a car acc

    je-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-en! a car accident?! oh honey, are you feeling okay today? should i send muscle relaxers?

    (and um, yeah. maybe we should change our time, i don’t want you driving whilst on a call every week. xoxoxoxo)


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