In honor of the fact that my driver’s license is finally expiring after what seems like ages and since they didn’t just mail me a new one again like last time, I actually have to brave the DMV and a camera for a new photo (two of my least favorite activities) . Over the remainder of this week I’ll be sharing some of my adventures and lessons learned while behind the wheel.
There are many memorable moments that we collect throughout our lives. A first car accident can be one of the more traumatizing ones. Surprisingly to all of you probably, I’ve actually only had 2 car accidents where I was behind the wheel. Actually three if you count the one where I crashed my dad’s car into our garage when I was 2 years old, but we’re not going to remind anyone (especially not my father) of that one.
The second more recent one was when I was 21. I was rear-ended while waiting for a red light to change by who I quickly learned was a professional NASCAR circuit race-car driver (Busch Series/Winston West Series). Had he been driving a regular car the damage would’ve been minor. However, he was driving a definitely higher than regulation lifted truck, so it completely smashed in my trunk—thankfully I was not injured. Due to trying to keep his insurance from skyrocketing and having any negative points appear on his driving record (as it was his livelihood), he instead asked if I would allow for my car to be repaired by his stock car maintenance team. Despite initial hesitation with that plan on my father’s part, we decided to try it letting him know that if the car wasn’t repaired in a satisfactory manner, we would be gong through the insurance company. In the end, the car was repaired and back in tip-top shape and so I was done with the world of race car driving—or so I thought. Somewhere along the way, the “race-car driver” had gotten used to checking in with me a couple of times a day about the progress of the car and while at the time I’d assumed it was because he was trying to keep me happy so that I wouldn’t sue (the thought actually hadn’t even crossed my mind, as all I wanted was my car fixed). However, once I started receiving flowers from him and also his phone calls and voice-mails continued months after my car was fixed, I soon realized that was not the case and that he perhaps had mistakenly come to the conclusion that we’d made some sort of love connection despite the small fact that he was married. He had no way of knowing that my nature is generally to be nice to most everyone, even people who rear-end me at stoplights. I ended up ignoring him and eventually he went away. I actually hadn’t thought much about this incident in recent times; however, I recently dug up an old cell phone as I was trying to find an old friend from college’s phone number that hadn’t transferred over to my newer phones and came across his phone number. It took me a second to recall who that was. I wonder what became of that guy; I don’t wonder enough to Google him though.
My first car accident brought with it a bonus lesson that I’ve never really forgotten. For this one I was 17 years old. This one occurred on a gray drizzly day as I was heading home after school, possibly contributing to my abhorrence of overcast days. Once again I was at a stop, this time at a stop sign when a small SUV careened into my car. It seemed as though the driver had swerved trying to avoid a pothole and somehow ended up overcorrecting and sideswiping the front end of my passenger side (I didn’t have a passenger with me). After making contact with my car, his car went on to hit the electric pole on the corner as well. Once again, I was thankfully ok aside from being a little shook up. All I could think, was my parents are going to kill me even though the accident was clearly not my fault.
I recall the people that lived in the corner house running out to see what happened. I learned that they were kids (a brother and sister) who went to my high school. I ended up staying inside of their house until the police and my dad arrived. They were super-empathetic and comforting during a scary experience. However, although the whole experience was surreal at the time, I do recall wondering why the younger girl seemed so excited to have me in her house. Despite the fact that the last thing I wanted to do at that moment was talk to anyone, her incessant chatter and questions proved to be somewhat comforting and helped me get my mind off of what had just happened for at least a little bit. I learned that the girl was a freshman and the boy was a junior. At that time I was a senior. I was surprised that I didn’t know him. They both seemed to know me, or at least know who I was as when I thanked them for allowing me to wait inside their home after calling my dad I introduced myself expecting that since I didn’t recognize them that we didn’t know each other and thought that maybe they went to a neighboring school.
The boy’s response completely caught me off guard, as it as a cold almost angry one (more…)