Thursday, November 1, 2012

Silver Linings

So glad I didn`t end up looking like `Zombie Gord`
Okay, so I'm a little late for our Thanksgiving to give thanks, but I'm early for the American one.

You know that trip to my hometown I talked about last week? Yeah, I went. But I had a car accident on the way there. I'm fine, but the front end of my Grand Marquis is Metalliburger.

It was snowing when I left, but it wasn't that bad. After all, I'm a Canadian AND an Albertan and we drive in random crap all year long. I wasn't worried. In fact, the highway roads were better than the ones in the city. Well, at least until I got about halfway to Fox Creek. That's when it really started to get nasty.

No one did the speed limit. We all pretty much limped along, at mercy to the violent gusts of snow...Except those who owned those gargantuan pickup trucks. They moved marginally faster. I saw a white GMC Sierra coming up on my left to pass. His truck took up the whole lane, and I worried that he'd clip me on his way by. So I decided it would be a safe and courteous move to pull to the side a little to give him some room.

I was wrong.

As soon as my tire touched the shoulder, I realized it was SLUSH, and the car began to spin. I kept my head and worked hard to correct, but I hit the guy trying to pass and we both hit the ditch. I smashed into an embankment, crushing my front end and setting off the airbags. He got a broken headlight, and a scary close-call with the opposite lanes of the double highway. His poor 8-month pregnant wife was a wreck. His two- year old daughter looked confused and frightened. I felt like a heel for putting them through such a horrible experience.

As I staggered out and watched my car bleeding antifreeze like an arterial spray, I immediately counted my losses. My freedom to go anywhere I wanted, my time, my various activities that require a car, the money I'd need to get another vehicle, plus my insurance premiums might go up...I cried in frustration, anger and shock. (Thank you to the Edmontonian hunters who turned around to stop and help. They were on their way home to the garrison when they saw the crash. They even offered me a ride home. Special thanks to Peggy, who hugged me while I sobbed.)

Now that I've had a few days to think, I'm counting my blessings. Bear with me. Despite my light-hearted view at times, I don`t think this is a joke.

I'll get more exercise.  I've been trying to fit more activity into my routine. Now that I don't have a car, I'll be doing more walking. And there`s no McDonald`s, Wendy`s or KFC within walking distance.

I don't have to worry about fixing the air-conditioning. Or buying gas, or paying insurance on a second vehicle. A bus pass is less than my monthly premium, and it costs over 50 bucks to fuel up.

I'll have more time to write. True, not having a car means there's few things I'll have to give up. But my plate was getting a little too full anyway, and there was less and less time to write. It's winter and I have no vehicle. What better time in life to sit and work on my novels for hours on end?

I got some GREAT sensory details out of the experience. I was alert and present for the entire ordeal and   my writer's brain immediately conjured up useful descriptive phrases I can use in some future mishap some poor character will have to endure. Did you know a deployed airbag smells like burnt latex and dust?

Airbags. Whoever invented those has saved countless lives, and thanks to that safety device, I walked away with a bruise on my breast and nothing more. I chuckle when I realize the airbag never made it to my face. For once I'm glad I have big boobs to block stuff.

Good friends. Lynda and Ian dropped everything to come and get me in their nice, safe Toyota Tundra. They brought me to their home, and comforted me. They listened to me whine, even though less than two years ago they'd lost their daughter-in-law and grandson in a winter highway accident much worse than mine. And to everyone who expressed their concerns on Facebook. THANK YOU.

Nobody suffered injuries. I don`t know what I would have done if my decision had hurt, or worse killed those people. The witnesses, and the cop, told me not to take it personally when the pregnant woman wouldn`t look at me when I apologized. But even though this is classified as a `no-fault`accident, I made a mistake that could have destroyed their family. Thank God I don`t have to live with blood on my hands.

I'm alive. Alberta weather on Alberta roads kill hundreds of people every year. I wasn't one of them. (And no one else got killed.) My attempts to correct my wild spin may not have prevented the accident, but I DO think it prevented the car from rolling. I'll never really know. All I know is I'm here to tell the story. I'm here to love my husband and my two beautiful cats. I'm here to hug my family and friends, and to appreciate everything I have. And to continue writing.

Enough sadness. Let`s focus on something positive.

So...How did the trip go otherwise? Quite well, actually. We were an hour late for the book club, but I got awesome feedback--good and bad. (As in useful. I can grow from all the comments.) I made new friends.

Due to poor planning on the 'acting' principal's part, no students came to the library to meet me. But I met the librarian, Mrs. Starkey who was super fantastic and it turns out she knows my parents. An old highschool pal, Sharie, dropped by to say hello. Hailey came from the local paper, and I was able to meet her face to face and tell her I used to babysit her. We got pictures together, and ones of me with Mrs. Starkey. They took a photo of me beside my old locker. I still remembered my combination. Later Hailey dropped by Lynda and Ian`s house to introduce me to her kids, and her daughter looks EXACTLY like she did at that age. I am humbled that she did this.

I got to spend quality time with two people who are extremely important to me. I love Lynda and Ian like parents, and obviously they love me too. I`m going to cherish the time I spent with them...and their awesome massaging chair!

Despite the accident, I feel like I did a pretty cool thing and I`m happy.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween.

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