The accident was Tuesday, in front of the high school. I was stopped at a red light, in a long line of cars. The impact was unexpected, forceful, and left me shaken, hurting, and unable to account for a moment... some minute time that feels lost. The other driver, freshly licensed, was apologetic, and breathlessly repeated, "I saw you, and I hit the brake, but the brake didn't work and my car just kept going! I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. Are you okay?"
I could not say. Am I okay? It was a weighty question. My hands were shaking, my teeth hurt. I kept asking Max, "Are you okay?" Then I asked him to find my phone. I was aware that something should be done. But what? Call someone. Who? Whom? I felt loopy. My phone record shows that at 3:25 I called 911. Three minutes later I called Geoff. I now know that was more or less the correct procedure. I checked that there were no obvious injuries to passengers. Max felt "fine." Maria was at home, safe, with Alex. Thank God. And so good, it seems I hit more of the what-to-do bullet points.
But as many times as I have read those bullet points about what to do in the aftermath of an accident, I was unprepared. I was more hurt than I could manage to express or cope with, more shaken than was ideal for managing clear thinking and all I really wanted was to go home, cry and sleep. I was dizzy. I was sad. I was muddled. And the other driver was so distraught, I felt this maternal urge to just ease his worries. He gave me his phone number, his dad's name and number, his mother's name and number. He said, "I'm sorry," every time he spoke. I felt bad for him. I still feel bad for him. It's a rough business being a new driver, making mistakes, learning the hard way.
The AAA page suggests staying calm, not venting, or blaming, being polite... and this is the part that I got too right. In the interest of getting home, having my cry, I told him, and his mother, who by this time was at the scene, that we would figure this out... I have your number(s)... I'll call you. And, by my phone record, I see that it was 3:42, and still no sign of a sheriff, or some kind of authority, and I called 911 and said... I'm going home. We exchanged numbers. So 911 cancelled. I sat in my van, gathered my thoughts, took a deep breath, asked Max, for the tenth time, "Are you okay?" And went home.
Then Alex took me to the ER, because Geoff, in San Francisco, was listening to me, and probably basically freaked out by my loopiness, and crying. No one wants to hear ER details, least of all me... what a year! Quick version: CT Scan came back with "no breaks, no blood," but the doctor did say something about asymmetrical bits to your head, prescribed strong medicine, and said, "Tomorrow you will hurt a lot more than you do now. If anything changes, come back."
Here's the thing:
*Never leave the scene of an accident, no matter how minor, without a clear-headed person of authority taking numbers, making notes, doing the right things.
*Never let sympathy or compassion cloud the fact that there are procedures, and there is protocol, and those will save and protect you from a car wreck becoming an emotional wreck.
Yesterday, I was an emotional wreck. My misguided attempt at being "nice" and "cooperative" was received with hostility, accusations, and confusion (for me.)
Now we are back on the prescribed track, I hope. I am hurting, and still shaken. I don't feel quite as naive... something tells me getting my car repaired, unraveling medical bills, and dealing with two insurance companies is not going to be a walk in the park. And I hope that my lesson is something that can save you from bad turns, and unnecessary upset. Read the article in this link. Print it out, and stick it in your glove compartment. Read it, know it, refer to it, depend on it. And be safe.
I have been to Michael's. The place with glitter, glue, foam crafts, and 40% off boxes. And inconceivably long and slow lines. Or short and slow lines. But slow is the common denominator. But that is beside the point. That is... I may have a point, and slow service at the craft store is not my point.
I have been excavating cleaning the room we call my "office." It's one of those spaces that is meant to do and hold everything, serve all, be all. It's the place that sees almost as much action as the kitchen, but is easier to neglect. It's too small for its purpose. It's a mess hardworking space. Like a river meeting the sea, it endures tides and flow, storm and confluence. That is either a poetic and tidy connection between my messy office and this image of a river entering the ocean, or pointless meandering and dallying. I am no judge.
While it was not my intention to shop, I did find myself in aforementioned store, and those 40% off boxes called me, like the sea calls the river... come, let us unite!
That really was pointless, meandering drivel.
OKay. The thing is I brought home five artsy, faux old timey luggage-like decorative storage boxes. I reasoned that those boxes are definitely better looking than my artsy piles and stashes, and because, when I grow up I want to be orderly, organized, balanced, gracious, tidy, and luminous. I have not lost hope. Against all evidence to the contrary, I still believe that someday I will be semi-neat, mostly-mature, kind of together, and maybe even loosely thematic. It's a lot to hope for, and probably not something that can come to pass by posting random absurdities to a blog.
Speaking of which... on my desk, a small sampling:
Las Vegas matchbook from 1996
two dead AA batteries
baby food jar of rubber bands
a broken seed pearl necklace
a new toothbrush
a thread strand from a Fez tassel
an empty Altoids tin
two yards of 3/4" elastic
a puzzle piece
another puzzle piece (gee, even I can see those should just be tossed!)
a stack of mail
a broken dental floss holder...
Let this not be in vain! Tell me there is hope for me yet! Admire, please, my sincerity, and bold determination! And please, please agree that bringing home 40% off artsy, faux old timey luggage-like decorative storage boxes is the key to my success. Please. Also, feel free to offer words of organizational/decorating wisdom. I am listening.
As our three loaves were coming out of the oven, I realized we had no butter! Crisis, right? Almost. I had a small container of heavy cream, and I got shakin'! I tell ya, you earn your butter when you shake it to make it.
All weekend long... FIRST 2102 Team Paradox was on my mind. Sure, I was folding laundry, reading Doctor Dolittle aloud, feeding goats and chickens and bunnies and children, even roasting tomatoes. But while the team was away, playing in the FIRST Regional Competition, at UC Davis, I kept popping over to my computer to catch matches, and read any updates about the event. The action, the suspense, the passion for this spirited team is compulsive, and pervasive!
I had robotics on my mind, even while I was busy, doing stuff I have not enjoyed since last summer... like roasting tomatoes. Ooh, those are yummy, and definitely inspiring me to replant the garden beds. Not sure if it's too soon for tomatoes. Our summer doesn't get hot until we burn through June gloom.
I drizzled these heirloom, organic tomatoes with olive oil, then sprinkled salt, pepper and herbs de Provence, and added garlic cloves. And then spread them over a parchment covered cookie sheet. Our oven was preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and I let them sizzle until they smelled irresistible. My concise and specific cooking instructions are why publishers are clamoring to get me to sign book deals with them.
One more thing... thank you, all of you Paradoxians who post to FB, and take pictures, upload videos, share news links, comment. You give us more to cheer for and enjoy, when we cannot be two places at once.