Quite possibly, I am the possessor of some genetic anomaly that when combined with certain factors leads to the unexpected side effect of car accidents. Can you relate? If so, perhaps we are related on the wrong side (well, less safe side) of the human genome? Let me explain.
The Ford Fiesta is the car in which I “legally” learned to drive circa 1985.
Boy was that a fun little car to drive. Of course, being driven on the Oregon coast as long as she was, we typically called her the “Rust Bucket” or some other not-so nice names.
Let us hope the stage is now properly set for the tale I am going to share. It should be illuminating. Especially if we share the same “weird accident gene.”
One day, my mom seemed a bit more disheveled and flustered than usual. After a cigarette and a cup of coffee, she shared this little tidbit.
“Well, I wrecked the car today.”
“I just don’t know what happened. I was stopped at the mailbox and I had just noticed that the mailman had forgotten to put the flag down even though we obviously had mail, even if it was only three circulars and that dang bill from-”
“Mom, you’re drifting. Focus. How ’bout more coffee?”
“Ah yes, where was I? Oh. Mailbox. Anyway, I was just about to get back into the car when I heard this terrible hullabaloo and here comes this young buck running down the mountainside like he was being chased by the hounds of Hades themselves. Anyway, the stupid thing ran into the side of the car. It lay there for a bit and then got up like it had one heck of a headache and just took off.”
I’d like to note that odd things happen in my family, so this story was not completely unexpected. However, it still caused my eyebrows to raise. “It hit… you?”
“Yes! The car was stopped. Who gets into an accident when they aren’t even driving?”
Well, apparently my mom.
And now, me.
Okay, so my current “ride” is a Honda Odyssey. Ford Fiesta small, Honda Odyssey big.
To be fair, I suppose you could understand how a young deer might be spooked by some scary animal and unwittingly take a shortcut down the mountainside and not be able to clear the wee car blocking its path (as well as the 40-something-year-old lady with the 1976 spectacles reading the newspaper inserts right next to the said car). But my big ole mom-van should be a bit more eye-catching.
(Because my “ride” certainly is eye-catching. Well, maybe only to those who secretly and/or loudly covet automatic doors and a DVD player. Myself, it was the heated leather seats that got my attention, but then I think we all know how I like being in the hot seat.)
So just the other day, I’m on my way back from taking kiddo 3 and the almost-5-but-acts-like-a-puppy, Charlie, to the dog park. I am about 5 blocks from my house, stopped at a red light. There were cars stopped in front of me. Cars stopped behind me. I am going nowhere.
Suddenly, the whole van shudders while a loud “thunk” breaks my concentration. A bicyclist hit me. ME. Sitting at a red light.
Totally freaked, I immediately bail out, “Are you okay? Oh my god, let me call-”
“No, I’m fine.” And he took off, dragging his not quite “drivable” bike across the road and onto the sidewalk where he made a mad dash that was part jogging, part peddling, part hopping to avoid the chain that kept whacking him in the ankle.
Heart racing, I drove home. And then suddenly thought about my van.
Yep, he cracked the tail light and left a honking scratch in the tailgate.
Great, I have a $500 deductible. I figure I’ll just repair the van out-of-pocket to keep from hearing my agent laugh at me.
Because I know what it’s like to hear your insurance agent laugh at you. I heard it long ago, as my mother phoned after the unfortunate run-in with the deer.
“Um, yes. Well, I was hit by a deer…”
I swear, if I become any more like my mom, it is going to get scary. She and I share some seriously scary genes, so perhaps I should just embrace what is hurtling toward me. I just never expected it to be a hit-and-run bicyclist.