I decided to write about an experience I had when I was 19...
I was driving home one cold, rainy November evening with a couple of friends after a night out on the town. I had taken this trip home many times and as such, I had established a routine on which lane I used. At the time, I was driving South in my normal lane--left hand lane on a four-lane road (two lanes going north, two going south). As I drove along, my girlfriends and I were chatting it up. At the time, I heard a voice off to my left say quietly but firmly: "Get right." Now eventually I would "get right" but only after I had driven another 2 miles or so. For some reason, I obeyed, likely because being I was having a good time with my girlfriends, I didn't make the conscious effort to question the voice.
And so I "Got right".
Well, thank the guides in the otherworld's that I did for no more than 6 blocks later was I involved in a terrible 3-car accident. Some drunk, driving a stolen car (car number 1) no less, who was coming the opposite way (headed north), decided to run a left-hand turn signal. As such, he slammed into the car (car number 2) that had been behind me when I decided to "get right" and as a result, went on ahead of me. Car number 2 then slammed into my left front bumper. Thankfully I acted quickly and steered the car to the right, avoiding even further damage.
I went into shock immediately. I had stopped the car and one of my girlfriends kept asking "Is everyone ok? Are you ok? Is everyone ok?" Thankfully we all escaped harm. My other girlfriend had already jumped out of the car and, as I would later learn, was chasing after the passenger of the vehicle who had caused the accident (car #1). She was quite the "kick ass" type. I always loved her for that.
I remember getting out of the car, seeing the damage and immediately wanting to kill whoever had hit me. You see, I had just been in an accident less than 30 days prior. I had been hit by a drunk driver (yes, another one). Rear-ended. I had just gotten my car back approximately 10 days previous. And now some other son-of-a-bitch had hit me yet again? What in the hell was going on? I recall thinking. And if that wasn't bad enough, as a child I had been involved in 3 additional accidents while my dad was driving (all minor, no injury) and for a time would not go near a car without screaming. I put off getting my license as a teenager for reasons I couldn't understand. I wanted to drive but something kept telling me driving was dangerous. I would get hurt. I finally got my license, overcoming a great deal of anxiety. And now, less than 2 years later, this happened.
I became a woman on a mission. Kill the son-of-a-bitch who had hit my car. Given I was in shock, I assumed car number two was at fault. It was driven by a young woman, a few years older than I was. I remember seeing her standing by her car. She had been driving a 4-door pinto wagon (which coincidentally enough the previous accident I had just been in, I had ALSO been hit by a pinto, this time the two-door variety). Her front in was completely munched up terribly. She seemed ok, standing there.
So I walk over to her and began yelling at her. "You hit my car! You hit my car! I'm going to KILL you!" And I really did walk over to her with my hands out, which I was going to put on her throat. I tell you, I have never lost control of myself like that. It was both frightening and envigorating. The look on this young woman's face was one of horror.
Well, thank goodness my girlfriend (not the one chasing after the passenger of the actual vehicle at fault--she was still trying to find him) was watching what I was doing. She started calling my name, running to me. I remember she grabbed me by the shoulders, spun me around and made me look at her:
"Nina!" she yelled. "Nina, LOOK AT ME! SHE did not cause the accident, ok? She's not at fault. THAT guy [pointing off to my right at some guy bent over some unknown vehicle] is the one who hit HER. She then hit YOU."
Slowly it dawned on me. I started to come out of my initial shock. I then looked at her and apologized profusely. I explained about my previous accident, how it had been a pinto too. Thank god she was the forgiving type. I remember going over to her, both fo us hugging one another. And then I looked towards the direction my friend had just pointed me in, to the guy who was at fault. He was being held down on the hood of some good samaritan's car by a big burly man in his 40's. Apparently this wonderful man had seen the whole thing and had seen the driver and passenger attempting to flee the scene. While my one friend went after the passenger (whom ended up getting away), this awesome hero went after the driver.
So I walk over to this prick. "You caused all of this?" I asked.
He wouldn't look at me. I noticed a wine bottle lay near his foot.
"You son of a bitch have you been drinking?" I yelled. He wouldn't respond. He just kept looking down on the hood. I just shook my head and thanked the man, but he didn't seem to have any other purpose but to hold down this driver until the police came. I remember him simply holding down the driver and looking around as if saying "this is my job leave me alone".
The police arrived at this point. One of the officer's came over to speak with me, get my statement, etc. We walked back over to my car and looked at it. It was still drivable. I told him about the voice I heard that told me to "get right". I said if I hadn't, I would have been where the other woman was, the one in the pinto wagon. I would have been the first car hit.
The officer looked at the little front end of my car (1976 Honda Civic) and at the long front end of the pinto wagon, which as I said had crumpled up like an accordian. I'll never forget what he said:
"It's a good thing you listened to the voice. If you hadn't, you and I probably wouldn't be talking like this."
Well, at that, I went back into some place of shock. I kind of swooned, falling into the officer. He held me up, opened up my car door and gently placed me inside. I don't recall what he said, if anything at all. I do remember crying, just overcome with emotion. I also remember I had a gray, rough wool blanket suddenly wrapped around my shoulder's. I guess the officer gave me that. I don't remember.
Eventually, things got cleaned up. The driver was arrested and charged with DUI and hit and run. The passenger was never found. I ended up driving the young woman home given her car was not drivable. She was headed in the same direction as I was. My car was drivable, despite the banged up left front end. I probably should not have driven given the state of mind I was in. I don't remember much of the drive home.
What awaited me at home was almost as bad as the accident. I went straight home after dropping the woman off, taking my girlfriends with me. I thought I might need some back-up.
I was right.
My parents always had the tendancy to question me, not believe me. They still do. I have never understood why. The only time I ever boldly lied to them was when I snuck a piece of chocolate cake when I was a child and when I told them "Yes I tried pot but I didn't like it". Other than that, when asked something, I told the truth. Anyway so I arrive home, wanting nothing more than having them hold me, ask if I was ok and tell me everything would be allright. Naturally given it was late they were asleep. I walked into their bedroom and said "Mom and dad, I need to tell you something."
And so I told them.
Instead of asking how the car was, and not even asking how I was, I was given the silent treatment for a few moments before the grilling began.
"But you just got into an accident less than a month ago! And you also said that one wasn't your fault as well." (Apparently the police report and witness statements didn't relieve any of their apparent doubts I was now seeing they had.)
My mom looked at me and said: "You can't expect us to believe you aren't doing something to cause these accidents."
I thought back to the accidents I was in as a child, each time my dad was driving. Each time, someone else had hit him. I don't recall any grilling of my father at the time. Now I was getting this bullshit treatment?
I looked at my mother and said: "Not that you've asked but I am ok. In fact, if I hadn't acted in the way I did, I could have been seriously injured or killed mom, ok?"
She scoffed at the ridiculous notion of that. Ah, that was and is my mother. Completely incapable of dealing with anything outside of her donna reed "everything is fine la la la" fantasy land. So, I did what I should have done a long time previously. I told both she and my father they were both "fucked" in the head and left.
"Where are you going?" they both yelled after me.
"Anywhere but here!" I yelled back.
Aside from that exchange, about the only thing that was discussed in the day that followed was the obvious transportation issue I now faced. Given my car was going to be out of commission for a week or so to get repaired (by our own insurance given the driver who was responsible had no insurance aside from being drunk and driving a stolen car), I needed to borrow one of their cars so I could get to work and college. That all got worked out and nothing was ever said about it again.
A very common experience in my family. I faced something scary, difficult, emotional and I would usually get blamed for whatever it was. I would then either keep my thoughts to myself or I would blow a fuse, telling them how I really felt while ignoring their attempts to tell me I was wrong, and nothing was ever said about the situation again.
Writing this only validates why I don't spend much time with them as an adult as some things simply never change. And it's too bad for they don't really know me. And I, them. I've certainly tried, but those days are over. Today, I am grateful in knowing that, no matter how alone and lost I have felt in this world for most of my life, I do have some guide, some intelligent being in some other dimension who, at least on that cold, rainy November evening, was looking out for me.