I think what I’m saying, is that sometimes, shit happens, someone has to deal with it, and who ya gonna call?
-Venkman, Ghostbusters II
I was driving in to my therapy appointment this morning after some really tough days. As traffic on 690 east-bound makes it’s way into downtown Syracuse everyone was slowing down. I left space between me and the truck ahead of me, and came to a stop behind him, glanced in my rear view window and saw a silver car coming up faster than was needed to stop before making contact with the back of my car. Shit. Cue squealing tires. I
There was a look of absolute panic on the face of the driver behind me that I caught in that brief second. Crunch.
Fortunately she managed to slow way down before the crunch part. I had enough room in front of me so when my car rocked forward I didn’t hit the truck. The person behind her had enough room so they didn’t hit her. We both pulled over to the left shoulder and turned on our hazards.
“Are you okay?” we asked simultaneously. Yup. Thankfully the worst damage was to her license plate. My bumper had a mark where it hit, but there was no damage of consequence.
I could feel my anxiety building. Thoughts racing. I don’t need this. This can’t be happening. I’m going to miss my appointment. It’s one more thing gone wrong.
Her voice was trembling. She was about my age and if I had to guess this was her first accident. “It, it doesn’t look bad? I’m sorry… I’m sorry…”
“It looks okay. Nobody’s hurt,” I said. “Are you alright?”
“We don’t need to call the police, do we?” It seemed to confirm a suspicion that in the moment I saw her in the rear view mirror she was holding a phone, but maybe it was my imagination.
All of a sudden I had this moment of clarity that maybe she was having as bad a time as I was and she didn’t need this today either. My car was okay. If it was my fault, would I want to get the police involved?
“No, I don’t think we do. Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yes… I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry…” She was shaking. Maybe about to cry.
“These things happen. Everything seems alright with my car.” She put out her hand. I shook it and we both got back in our cars.
I worked in the insurance industry for six years. I know we should have at least exchanged information. But in the moment it seemed like the right thing to do- no harm no foul. My car is driving fine, no odd or new noises. I made it to my appointment on time. What could have been an event that sent me over the edge became a chance to gain a little perspective.
Sometimes shit happens. Who ya gonna call? The police? Maybe. Today I think I handled it on my own.