Friday, May 02, 2008


ac·ci·dent [ak-si-duhnt] –noun
1. an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: automobile accidents.
2. Law. such a happening resulting in injury that is in no way the fault of the injured person for which compensation or indemnity is legally sought.
3. any event that happens unexpectedly, without a deliberate plan or cause.
4. chance; fortune; luck: I was there by accident.
5. a fortuitous circumstance, quality, or characteristic: an accident of birth.
6. Philosophy. any entity or event contingent upon the existence of something else.
7. Geology. a surface irregularity, usually on a small scale, the reason for which is not apparent.

Geez, how can one word have so many different meanings??

I was in a car accident last week. My first ever. Well, the first where I was driving. It involved me and the treads on a construction vehicle, so you can guess who won. :)

I was driving on a four lane, busy road. A treaded excavator was sitting on a flatbed truck, parked along side the road to my right. A delivery truck was to my left, slowly veering toward my lane. I'm not claustrophobic, but with the treads on one side and the truck on the other...let's just say I was fighting panic. The next thing I knew, the treads on the excavator had shredded the right side of my car, as well as the front tire. There was damage to the back of my car as well, which didn't come from the treads, and I have NO idea what happened there. My husband thinks someone hit me, knocking me into the treads. But, honestly, it all happened too fast for my poor little brain.

Fortunately, I was fine - just sore from getting tossed against my seat belt - and my kids were not in the car. But it left me wondering about the sheer number of things that can change on a dime, the snap of your fingers, the blink of an eye.

This resulted in a weird, depressed funk that I just couldn't shake. I felt like I should be more grateful that no one was hurt and my kids didn't witness the event. Essentially, I was denying myself the right to freak out over the fact that I'd been in a car accident. It took me forever to figure it out, and I only sorted it out with the help of some writer friends (thanks, guys!). One also pointed out the silver lining in all this: if any of my characters are in a car accident, I'll be able to accurately write the scene. :)


Write2ignite said...

Car accidents... ouch! I had two accidents TWO Weeks apart. My kids were in the car both times. EEEK!! One lady rearended me (her brakes went out) so I ended up rearending the person in front of me. The other guy rearended me (a teenager who had only received his license a week or so before).

NOT Fun. I'm glad you realized why you were in a funk. Remember it when you go to write that crash scene in your next book! :)

Tabitha said...

Two in two weeks?? Ack!! And what is it with teenage boys? My mom has been in five accidents, none her fault, and all of them involved teenage boys. But they've never been two weeks apart.

I'm not sure what I'd have done if my kids had been in the car. It was a bad crash, and I was shaking so badly that I couldn't even dial my cell phone. I had to ask someone to do it for me. My kids would have freaked out from that, and from getting whipped around in their car seats. They're young still, and my oldest is highly sensitive (the movie Enchanted gave him nightmares). He'd have freaked out for sure. I can only imagine how you kept it together for your kids. :)

Write2ignite said...

well, my oldest was freaked out for weeks. She didn't want to ride in a car and GASPED (very audibly) OR screamed everytime I came anywhere near another car OR another car came near me.

Thankfully that's over now! I'm glad your babies weren't with you, too!

Angela Ackerman said...

I'm just so glad you're okay. I get that clausterphobic feeling when I'm in the middle lane with big trucks on either side. I feel like a sandwich--a big bread delivery truck on one side, a cattle hauler on the other side. And me...feeling like I'm about to become mayo.

Tabitha said...

LOL!! Yeah, I know that feeling.

I'm just glad it's over now! :)

Miss Midwesterly said...

holy bajingle, tab--that's pretty frackin' scary. i haven't yet sorted out that blue feeling after something momentus happens, either. i think it might have specifically to do with the rush of adrenaline; the brief feeling of being 150% alive, and the resulting, comparable, nothing-ness that is "normal, everyday, life." fortunately, every day is fraught with possibility for all of us. cheers!

Tabitha said...

Thanks. :)

Mary Witzl said...

Years back, I was a passenger in a car that hit an elderly man on a bicycle. He was killed almost instantly, and though it was not the fault of the driver -- the cyclist was inebriated and riding in an area of poor visibility -- I was so traumatized by this experience that just going down a flight of stairs terrified me. Perhaps that is why it took me so long to get my own driver's license.

Just driving with my kids in the car makes me so nervous that my neck is sore for days after. I try to walk and cycle whenever possible and leave the car at home!

Tabitha said...

Yikes!! I think I'd be avoiding cars, too. :)

But I live in downtown Chicago, where it's crazier to ride a bike than to drive a car. :) A good friend of mine was riding a motorcycle and was hit by a car. It was the car's fault - an older man who just didn't see her. She was okay, wearing all the proper safety gear, but it scared her off all forms of bikes. She now drives a nice big minivan. :)