The last few months have been filled with more trials and tribulations than a Lifetime movie, and to be quite honest, I'm getting a little worn. It would be unlike me, though, to not want to go big or go home.
So this week, I opted to get myself involved in a car accident. Besides my car being a magnet in a parking lot for other vehicles, I've never been in a moving collision. So this gave me perspective into all the crazy thoughts and strange behavior I encounter at scenes when people are panic-stricken and flustered because they experienced a gaff while driving.
My first reaction was to peek at my temperamental, red-headed queen sitting in her car seat, still reading her book. Despite that peace of mind, I have to admit that I haven't been as mortified in a very long time as I was during that first moment sitting in my car.
I mean, what do you say when you are door to door, with nowhere to go, with some random person with whom you just collided? Today's etiquette suggests inquiring about personal injury -- which I did -- but honestly, there's not much else to say at that moment.
I tell people all the time that you shouldn't move your vehicles after an accident for the sake of safety and so the police can evaluate what happened, but asking if we should move was probably the third thing out of my mouth. I don't know why I asked that -- I live with a police officer for heaven's sake. There were so many other little mishaps
I have seen my situation dozens of times, standing in my own boots, and have heard the same scenario from complete strangers and it all sounds the same. I even threw in my personal favorite line of "I don't even go this way, ever."
Of course, I never drive that particular route in that direction of travel because of the intersection where this accident took place. However, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich was getting the best of queen bee in the back seat, so I chose to pull onto that road because it's quieter. Of course.
I guess out of all of this mess, I have to learn to accept that things could have been worse, which is what I tell everyone. I could have had a bruised up baby, the other car could have been a truck, the other guy could have been a jerk or any other amount of unfortunate mishaps. So in reality, other than a bruised ego and a bruised side door, I only have to worry about increased insurance premiums and points on my license. I think I'm more upset that I can't harass my other half anymore about dinging up my car's bumper after owning it a month. Darn.
There's more to an accident than swapping insurance information -- more than I was ever aware of. At a motor vehicle accident, after I have either transported or gotten signed refusal paperwork from parties involved, I vacate the scene and leave the cleanup to the men in blue. Well, after talking to the police, I learned about citations and picking up accident paperwork. Once I left the scene with a sense of being a felon, I was given the accident report process all over again at home.
My little experience has been a reminder that I need to learn to practice what I preach. If you're in a roadway, you really shouldn't get out until the police request you do so. It's unsafe and you never know when those crazy drivers are going to drive by. I also know better than to move vehicles, even if you feel like you are congesting traffic. Do yourself a favor and sit and smile to the passing drivers who whip their heads around to stare.
Accidents happen and dwelling every day afterward on the string of events that led you to make whatever choice you did probably won't do you any good. So, no, I'm not pleased with my choice, but it's over. My car is still running and has a little extra character on the driver's side. I can't wait to see the estimate for that cosmetic repair.
However, I have a sleeping baby upstairs and a normal life routine because I wasn't injured. So all in all, I survived my first, and hopefully last, car accident.
Kaitlyn Kline is a full-time paramedic for North Adams Ambulance and part-time paramedic for Village Ambulance of Williamstown. Beyond the work she does to provide skillful and compassionate care to those in need, it is her goal through this column to educate the community through her resources, knowledge and continuous learning experiences.