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Dear God, can I start this day over?

Posted by on June 11, 2006

The tart powdery smell of the airbag dust still burns in the back of my sinuses. It’s probably the worst crash I’ve ever been in, needless to say, the worst one in which I’ve been the driver. The day started out awful, with a completely unrelated nagging bad feeling that I wasn’t getting what I really wanted from my current relationship. Then. after waiting almost an hour for the water heater to provide me with palatable temperatures, I took a shower and was off to work. By midnight, my overpowering feeling was “Everything’s comin’ up Milhouse.” I interacted with two profoundly satisfying lower level employees- the register jockeys at Hardee’s and Quiktrip, both of whom not only exceeded expectations, but truly went above and beyond. Also, I was averaging over $40 an hour. It was a very good night. Then I picked up the woman and her two daughters who would be present for, and-thankfully-uninjured by, my crash. Travelling on 270 southbound. Rain. Dark. 65mph. Pleasant conversation with the lady in the backseat. The road rushes up on me and all is fine. Then the backend starts to slide a bit to the right. Correct by steering a bit right(Oh Shit). Must’ve steered a bit too far, because it continues to hydroplane, this time left. Recorrect, I guess it was really too far this time, because the spin starts. The G-forces were not unlike a carnival ride as the car pulls hard to the right and drifts toward the median(I think of the little girls in the back – OhFuckLetThemBeOk). After the front end manages to collide basically head on with the median while strafing it to the right at no less than 50 miles an hour, I don’t even know what to do with the wheel at this point, so it answers for me by exploding outward a split second(felt like a couple seconds) after the impact. So this is what airbags are like, delayed and impotent.
I remember thinking on multiple occassions(once today even) “Am I sitting too close to this airbag for safety? I should stay forward for passenger comfort, that’s what comes first- besides, what are the odds I’ll have to deal with that bag anyway?”
Car still spinning back end right, front end left, now the rear passenger corner hits the median and we continue to spin out into the middle traffic lanes. We go one more full spin and next thing I know(was it my steering? just luck?) we’re pointed the correct direction, and we seem to be stopped. The road is still moving towards me, then I realize we’re still doing like 30 or 40 in a wrecked car. I guide it toward the right shoulder, applying the brake. Brakes shouldn’t resist so much. Once we’re stopped, the mom speaks first “Is everyone ok?” I hear the older daughter(11, I think) respond in a meak affirmative, somewhat surprised at her own answer. After she has verified that the youngest is ok, she asks me again if I’m ok. I feel dizzy. My arm stings a bit. I am miraculously whole and, for the most part, unscathed. We sit for a few seconds while a cloud of airbag dust chokes us all and I look around for my phone to call Sarah. Then a fucking truck clips the left rear corner. We barely move, but we did feel and hear it. And as the truck speeds off never to be seen again, I can see it correcting it’s path slightly from the impact. Lucky bastard didn’t spin out.

Everyone is unhurt.

The car is DONE.

I find that my door won’t open without being forced. Not so bad, it is pouring out there. We’re so damn lucky there weren’t any cars around for our spin. It’s really a one car crash. Eventually Edward is gotten ahold of, cops show up, car gets towed, cab 7 takes my passenger home then comes back and takes me home. Not really in that order. Mess got painted over, to be dealt with for real tomorrow.

I wonder if I still work for Edward. I wonder how soon I’ll be able to drive again, I still need money. I kinda hope I get a few days to myself to relax, but I do need to work. I wonder also if I’m going to be the one who has to pay for the car.

The sting on my arm was from where the airbag scraped the underside of my forearm, I will probably have a bruise tomorrow, it’s already swollen. And the dizziness went away within a minute, of course.

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