Every morning, I review the “On this day” feature on Facebook to see what I was thinking about and doing on this very day every since 2007. In 2013, I posted:
I was driving back to Milwaukee to close out our Wauwatosa house. I was driving alone – Bill was working and really didn’t want to go back the house (he was having a very hard time with leaving it in the first place). It was a long drive, but I was making great time, and in the couple of minutes before it happened, I was just thinking, “I really like long-distance driving. I find it very Zen. Huh. Why is that semi moving into the left lane? I was going to pass him. Oh well, I’ll just hang back here till he moves back and then I’ll pass him.”
Well, he didn’t move back (and then I hit a pothole and figured that was why he had moved, because he knew it was there) and I waited. He didn’t show any signs he was going to move so I sped up a bit and then… he decided to move back.
I don’t remember if I honked or screamed, but he saw me at the last possible second before he would’ve crushed me. His wheel had hooked into my wheel well at that point and he’d torn off its cover. The impact threw me off the road, and I nearly lost control of the car, but I was able to stop on the shoulder just short of the guardrail on the bridge – in the middle of an on-ramp.
Typing it terrifies me all over again.
The damage was strictly cosmetic (although I had a lot of car repairs over the next three years before I traded it in, and I can’t help but think that, somehow, the car was compromised by the impact).
When I pulled over to the shoulder on the other side of the ramp, the driver of the semi stopped to see if I was okay. I looked at him and said, “You. Hit. Me.” It was the only thing I could think of to say. Someone told me once that that was such a mezzo thing to do. All I knew was that I was angry and now I was going to be late getting back to Milwaukee. I really didn’t think I’d be able to drive the car the rest of the way – but I could. And got it checked out and estimated the next morning, and after closing out the house, drove it back the following week.
While sitting there, after I called the police to report the accident and my husband, I posted the above status to FB. And then didn’t post anything for 10 minutes, because I was on the phone with my insurance company to arrange the estimate. I scared the hell out of people for a bit. Didn’t mean to – but I sure was gratified by the outpouring of caring that my friends displayed in those ten minutes and the days that followed.
I am very lucky to be alive. I’m lucky that Mini Coopers are tiny little tanks. I’m lucky that the driver saw me in time to avoid crushing me. I’m lucky that his employer paid for all of my repairs. I’m lucky I’m a better driver than I thought I was and was able to get control of the car.
Since this is supposed to be a singing blog, here’s Natalie Weiss interpreting the words of John Bucchino, which express what I’m feeling now, 4 years later: Grateful.