I recently posted about the naïve stupidity of my little sister, accepting rides from shady strangers in New York.
I thought I was the smart(er) sister, when it comes to things like safety….common sense….avoiding risk.
I was wrong.
Karma came and kicked me in the face today. But I don’t blame Karma, I blame myself, and as I “punished” my sister by blogging about her lack of judgment, I am punishing myself now by blogging about my own-even worse-mistake.
What kind of mistake?
The kind of mistake that happens when you for some reason are exhausted at the end of the day, and find yourself literally slapping yourself in the face to stay awake as you drive home. The kind of mistake that finds you on your street, mere houses away from the safety of your garage when you suddenly find yourself WAKING UP as you drive into a pole. Rather, as I drive into a pole, on a tree lawn, down the street from my home.
It was not a huge pole, nothing like telephone pole size. It was a black street light. The slow motion that happens when you find yourself facing a sure collision allowed me to see it, and hear it’s gentle, almost eggshell-like crunch as I destroyed it. There was no sensation of force, it literally just folded on contact. As did the corner of my car.
That woke me up.
To the reality of what COULD have happened had there been a car around that curve in the road instead of a light. Or a child playing. My OWN little ones were in the back seat, completely unaware somehow of what had just occurred.
So I find myself painfully awake and aware of what just occurred, and it’s amazing how quiet the street is around me. How can it be no one saw this? Acutely embarrassed, I backed off the pole-now under my car, and was thankfully able to drive the short distance to my home.
I went through the initial panic of not knowing who to call first, but settled on the police, sure I just destroyed city property and wanting to make sure I called before someone else called on me. They were nice, sent an officer to the house within 20 minutes. His first question? Was I texting? NO! Thank god, because I know I couldn’t have lied. I already considered using the deer always around our street as an excuse, but knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it together. My Catholic guilt has always served me well.
It was bad enough that I gave him a name and a face for the cliché “typical female driver”.
Some more questions, lots of raised eyebrows…. I was given a citation with a nice fine for failing to control my vehicle. I can contest it in court if I want next month…pretty sure I won’t be doing that. I’m allowed to pay the fine without appearing there.
On to the husband, the insurance company, the repair guy, a cop friend. With each call, and each persons kindness, I actually felt worse. I’m a dangerous driver! Equal parts humiliation and disappointment in myself. How can these people tell me to relax, it’s just an accident!?
I understand that accidents happen. But the what if’s….. they are killing me. How could I have allowed that to happen?
Maybe I could blame it on the 2 year old who kept me up last night, or maybe the babysitter who doesn’t drive, requiring me to take her home each day. But the blame is mine. I KNEW I was so tired driving home, hence the face slapping. I think I just finally relaxed too much, literally on that final stretch…
I SHOULD have stayed fully aware and awake. I can’t believe I didn’t. Thankfully the damage to property and my vehicle is repairable, I could not have lived with myself had I hurt another person.
I’m left to figure out who I need to talk to about the street light, resting right now on the ground in the dark. I hate the thought of driving my very visibly damaged car, giving pause to anyone who will see it to wonder what in the world did she DO?! My 4 year old thought I was going to jail today, as he watched the officer taking pictures of my car. My oldest watched me sit on the floor and cry after he left, so upset with myself.
I am not feeling very confident right now. Not feeling like a great role model, and definitely not feeling like I have room to lecture anyone else about poor judgment.