I’m not the best driver. It’s not like I speed or text while driving. I’m just not very good at it. I don’t like people merging too close to me, or really the concept of merging at all. I’m awful at trying to drive somewhere I’ve never been before unless I have Garmin chirping in my ear. I can’t remember directions to save my life. Almost literally. If you told me how to get to the hospital, I would probably forget what you had said a half-a-mile later. And parking… I’m not so great with parking. I’m that annoying driver who has to back out of the parking space at Walmart twice just to make sure my car is in the lines.
But I am a safe driver. I always respect the rules of the road and have only ever been in one accident whilst I was driving. And it was not my fault. I was driving home from the gym in my trusty car, Pam, with a dear friend. In order to get back into our condo, you had to stop in the middle of the road and wait to turn left. I stopped as far to the left of my lane as I could with my little flasher going as my friend and I laughed about how awkward the word jaunty is. And then boom! A car hit my back end! And then another boom!
Naturally, my first response was to scream at my friend, “Are you OK?!” She shouted back, “Are you Ok?!” So I screamed, “Are you OK?!” This went on for a while until we established that both of us were, in fact, OK, at which point I screamed, “What do we do?” then realized that I had been in training for this event since my preschool’s “meet the fireman” day.
I pulled out my phone and called 911. The nice lady asked what was wrong, and I told her we were in a pile up. My friend said it wasn’t a pile up, it was just a car accident. We agreed to decide on what exactly counted as a pile up at a later time.
I told the lady I was fine, and she asked how the other cars were doing. I got out of my car, and much to my surprise, there were three cars all smashed up behind mine! Three cars had hit my beloved car, Pam! The woman in the car behind me looked pissed; the man from the car behind her was rocking in the grass, sobbing; and the dude behind him was swearing at his car.
I told Miss 911 that everyone looked fine. Except maybe the crying man. He looked like he might need a valium. And a new car, since his engine was showing. I then, with terror in my heart, turned to look at Pam. And low and behold, she had a dent the size of a basketball on the right corner of her back bumper. She had shielded us and lived to tell the tale.
The police and firemen came with sirens blaring. They kept trying to tell me they could get Pam towed. But Pam could still drive, and I could have pushed her to my condo, which I could see from where I was standing.
Eventually, they let us leave, and the insurance company called to tell me that the accident had in no way been my fault! The woman behind me had tried to cut to the right side of me. The crying man had hit her, causing her to ricochet into me. And the swearing dude had gotten so caught up in the drama, he had forgotten to hit the brakes. I was vindicated! They gave me money to fix Pam’s bumper, but I used it to put a payment on my student loans instead. She had won a battle she had never agreed to enter. How could I steal her war wound? It makes her look badass.