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Suburban Island

Car Accident Concerns
Saturday, Oct. 30, 2004, 10:16 p.m.

QUESTION: Do you drive defensively?

WHAT I LEARNED: Keep your cell phone on.

This week my daughter was in a car accident on her way to school. Isnít it amazing how an ordinary afternoon, on an ordinary day, driving down the same ordinary road you drive down all the time, to get to the same activity you always do then, can suddenly become something very different and unexpected? I got a call on my cell phone while I was at work from her. A driver on the other side of the road hit the car in front of him and then came across the road in his SUV and hit her car. It could have been a tragedy. Luckily for everyone it was not. Because she saw that he was going to cross over the lane and hit her, she was able to stop and that reduced the force of the impact. Also, it turns out that the Jeep is a good sturdy vehicle.

She was basically okay (she did hit her head on the steering wheel, got some bruises, and has a sore neck and lots of muscle strain). So she is uncomfortable and probably more shook up than she realizes she is but she was able to walk away from the accident and that really was kind of a miracle. Her car Ė though sturdy and stalwart - didnít fare as well. We are still waiting for the official word from the insurance company but there is a good chance her vehicle is going to be totaled.

It makes you think about how you need to keep your self and your life in hand Ė living every day with consideration for yourself and others and trying to live a good life everyday. Some of it means trying to do those small things we know would be valuable but set aside because the day takes over and we rush along forgetting our good intentions. I wish I could remember to do all the small kindnesses for people that are so easily done and yet so easily set aside. They might make a small difference in their life and mine too and yet these are the little tasks, works, and thoughts that so easily get lost in the business of daily living.

This car accident also reminds me most viscerally that itís scary to be a mom and dad sometimes because you do always worry in the back of your mind about your kids and yet you need to let them go live thier lives. When my daughter called me on her cell phone to tell me about being in the accident all I cared about was that she was okay and thatís exactly what I told her over and over again Ė she was pretty upset about her car but I was just glad that she was not hurt. Cars can be replaced even if we really think they are irreplaceable. I think she was annoyed about the car Ė a beautiful black Jeep that we got a great deal on about a year ago. One minute it was driving down the road with her in it and the next it was in a ditch just beat to hell and she was standing on the road talking to the police and looking at the damage done. That car was supposed to take her through college and then some. That was the grand family plan. The car was very cool. The top came off in the summer and then it went beyond cool to utterly fun and amazing. Iím sure somewhere in itís metal and gears heart it is kind of sad about the whole thing and missing out on the exciting life it was leading. Now itís sitting in a lot waiting for an insurance assessor to pay it a visit.

image by Suburban Island

We went by to see it and it was indeed a sad little Jeep. I felt bad for this stoic vehicle sitting in the rain, waiting to know if it would once again be taking a ride to campus, shooting over to work, running down to the store, heading out to the movies, or visiting a passel of young friends.

All the kids were gone. All the loud music was gone. The constant smell of lattes and chocolate was missing. The constant sound of cell phone ringers did not permeate the interior. My daughter took her high school tassel off the rear view mirror and her mats off the floor and her CDs from everywhere. The car seemed very empty and alone except for the company of the guys at the garage Ė who stop by to consider whether the car will be fixed up like new and headed back home again or summarily hauled away by the insurance company.

I felt grateful to her Jeep not only because it has been a part of our family for the last year - performing cheerfully on all occasions and taking every kind of drive and driver in stride (even me behind the steering wheel upon occasion) but also because of something the owner of the garage told me. He said that he thought one of the reasons my daughter came out of the accident so well was because of the solid heavy-duty construction of the Jeep she had. Having taken a look at the state of the front of that Jeep, I think that is probably true. Somehow we all felt this Jeep had done its job and done it well. I was thankful she was driving it when the accident happened and not a smaller vehicle and frankly I am really hoping that this car will soon be home again and fixed up good as new. Only the insurance company knows for sure. And they are not saying yet.

Iím keeping my fingers crossed.

image by Suburban Island

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