I was in a pretty bad car accident today. I was hit head-on by a (drunk?) driver who was driving the wrong direction down my side of a very busy street in downtown Nashville. Then, the guy drove around me, turned onto a side street, parked his car for a minute, got out to survey the damage (he had left his bumper lying in the middle of the street), and then had the gall to jump back in the car and drive away! In the meantime, I was sitting there dazed in the steaming, smoking pile of junk that used to be my VW Beetle.
It’s stunning how fast something like that can happen to you. I must have had some serious angels watching over me, ’cause it looks like all I walked away with was a stiff neck, a sprained pinky finger, and a considerably lighter bank account after having to pay the deductable on my insurance policy, which will end up covering the damage to my car in the hit-and-run. (I would complain about the loss of my favorite car – and favorite car stereo – but that seems petty when I think about what could have happened!)
The experience really made me think about human nature. Like the woman who just happened to be passing by, who spent about a half an hour chasing the other driver in her vehicle as far as she could until she realized his temporary tag wasn’t going to be any help at all (what good are temporary tags if they don’t ID the vehicle?)…and like the witnesses who came forward and stood there with me in the rain while the police wrote up their report – surely they had better things to do at 9:30 on a Tuesday morning….and like the man who hauled me and my Beetle to the collision center, who broke the rules and drove me all the way home to my house afterwards so I wouldn’t have to sit for hours and wait for a rental car….
…and like the man who hit me. Where is he tonight? What is he thinking? Is he hurt? Is he wondering if I am hurt? Does he feel the least bit of guilt for his actions? My mother always told me that the worst thing you can ever lose is your integrity. I wonder if he feels that loss, like a little piece of himself missing. I would. But then, I guess there’s no way to know what else was going on in his life, and why on earth he was driving down the wrong side of the road at 9:30 in the morning.
I’m just happy to be alive right now.