Operation Dumbass Attack

I was not driving too fast on the freeway. I was driving too fast for an exit and the slowdown wasn’t marked… a sign that should have said “this is a 25 mph exit curve on a 60mph freeway.” There was not enough time to slow down before I rammed my car into a guardrail. In order to avoid the collision, I would have flipped the car and made everything much, much worse. I feel so bad because I have been a grandma driver and babied the hell out of my car because it’s a Toyota and I intended to drive it until the wheels fell off. Unfortunately, the whole front end was first.

The title comes from my lack of foresight. When I got insurance for my car, I had plenty in savings to buy another one, so I only carried liability. Then, I spent the money on my ITIL certification and grief. It takes savings to completely fall apart and not be able to get out of bed. In the first few months after my mother died, I left the house maybe once a week, and alternately slept and cried, what it took to allow my body to release the thunderstorm I kept hidden the entire time I was in Houston for the funeral… because I had to suppress my grief in order to be able to function. As a natural introvert, it was hard emotional work to handle the business of death, and to meet hundreds of people who knew my mother and not me, or hadn’t seen me since I was a baby/toddler and thus had no memory of them. In addition to grief, for the first month or so, I had what the interwebs call an “introvert hangover.” It means isolation after having to endure enormous amounts of social interaction, especially since I did most of it without the social lubricant of alcohol, because I didn’t want to feel any more numb than I already did. I’d also done my research. A lot of people turn to drugs or alcohol after the death of a loved one, and I didn’t want to become a statistic. Because I live in a household that doesn’t drink, I just naturally followed their lead before my mother’s death.

Afterward, being sober all the time was even more important to me because of what I saw as an enormous trap for the grief-stricken. I’ll have a drink now and again when I go to trivia or out to dinner, but I don’t keep my own alcohol at home and my vice of choice is fair trade, organic hippy douche coffee. As Christian Lander says in Stuff White People Like, “anything else is liquid oppression.” So, not only did I baby the car and drive like a grandma, I was stone cold sober when I realized that my car was gone and I probably wasn’t going to get her back. There’s probably $2,000 worth of body work that needs to be done, and it is unclear to me whether it would be worth it to pay it even if I had the money on hand. This is because Toyotas keep their value, and the car itself is worth about $6k on the private market. For that money, I could also buy another car that hasn’t been wrecked. The point is moot because I’d have to ask for the money to fix it or another car, when I really don’t need one to begin with. It would be asking for a “want,” and I’m just not in a position to place wants over needs.

The best option at this point would be to sell the car for scrap metal in order to save up for a new car, or to buy a year-long Metro pass. In the past, the only time I ever used an Uber or a Lyft was when I was coming home from the grocery store. Safeway and Whole Foods are both within easy walking or bus distance. It’s getting all the bags home that’s a complete bitch. I am more than willing to pay five bucks for the use of someone else’s trunk.

It’s funny (weird, not haha) that I was just saying yesterday how I needed more exercise, and I got it. Just not today. Today I am sore beyond belief, and am not going to push it until tomorrow or the next day.

In the first few seconds after the accident, I’d never felt more alone. I didn’t know what to do. First of all, I was going to Waffle House for some Southern comfort food. I’d found one near Frederick, so at least I was not out in BFE Virginia… but still, 30 miles from home. Secondly, I didn’t know who to call in order to take care of my car AND didn’t want to call 911 because it didn’t seem like that terrible an emergency. My airbag did not deploy (which, in retrospect, I have no idea why). I was sore, but still ambulatory…. albeit dazed with shock and pain. Good Samaritans stopped about two minutes later, and called the police and ambulance for me. I didn’t really need an ambulance, but who else was going to take me to the hospital to see if I had a concussion or any other injuries? Even the police didn’t offer to give me a ride. It was ambulance or nothing. It was another moment that reinforced how alone I was, but also the kindness of strangers. Even the police were sympathetic, saying that they see a lot of accidents on that very turn, and the same exit on the other side of the freeway is worse. I’d like to publicly thank MD trooper J. Deater, because even though he would say he was just doing his job, I would say he went above and beyond the call of duty, even following the ambulance and meeting me at the hospital to see if I was all right. Maybe that’s just protocol, but it seemed sweet to me.

I turned out to be mostly fine. No concussion, just strained the muscles in my neck and shoulders to the breaking point and was given a muscle relaxer because my PA thought my pain was going to get a lot worse before it got better. She was not wrong…. although I am surprised at how well OTC pain meds are working when I expected to need a narcotic for a couple of days. I didn’t ask for any, though, because the PA seemed confident and I trusted her judgment that the muscle relaxer would be enough. As it turns out, the shame and embarrassment is way worse than the physical injury. I just have to believe the officers when they said my accident was nothing special, shit happens, there probably should be a sign, and I really shouldn’t beat myself up. But I’m so good at it! How dare they take away my one superpower?

I just wish I had the tools to go and grab my Bluetooth stereo out of my car, and not to save it for my next car… although I would have. It’s because it was the last birthday gift from my mother. Thank God I still have the birthday gifts from years past that I use every single day. I have a Bluetooth alarm clock with badass speakers and a multi-device Bluetooth keyboard that I carry every single day because I am so bad at texting on my phone… and would be lost without it at Starbucks, where I connect it to my tablet in order to blog away from home when I don’t want to carry my heavy laptop. If you have an iPad and/or an Android tablet, it is a must have, and right now it’s on sale. As an aside, when you set up an iOS device, it provides Mac keyboard shortcuts. If you set up an Android/PC, it sets up those. Just sayin’ because it confused me at first, but is very handy now that I know. I am linking to all of the products because I wholeheartedly endorse them, and not because they were “Mom presents.” In addition to sentimental value, they are all ridiculously useful.

I am also torn up emotionally about wrecking my car because it was a gift from my sister, and when it arrived, smelled like her and reminded me of home…. complete with NASA sticker in the back window. Especially because Eggsy was a gift, it was just more motivation to take care of her. My little “spy car” became my child, because even though it’s an inanimate object, I don’t have kids or a pet, and she was the closest thing. So I always bought her top shelf “drinks,” used premium gas on occasion to clean out the fuel injectors, and watched many, many YouTube videos so I could do my own maintenance.

At this point, I’m not sure which is the bigger wreck…. Eggsy vs. the guardrail or my logic vs. my emotions. Time will tell as I pray for discernment, getting into that small, quiet space where I can listen to what the universe has to say.


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