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. :)