When I was in my junior year, I got in an accident right out in front of the High School.
A driver decided to run a stop sign and drove into the passenger side of my car without so much as slowing down. I jumped out, adrenaline racing, screaming at her “Why didn’t you stop!? My friend’s little sister is right in my passenger seat! You could have hurt us!!!” (I distinctly remember saying “my friend’s little sister, even though she was only a year younger than us, also very much my friend as well.)
Her answer was that she saw the stop sign, but didn’t stop. K
There we were, right as all the traffic was coming out of the school, blocking one of the busiest intersections on Main street while I sent someone to call the police.
It took a bit, but here came the officer up the street from the police station to sort things out, and the other motorist’s face went from a look of determination to disappointment when I burst into tears, called the officer by name and sobbed into his hug “she hit me and Sara in my jeep, Bart!!”
So off she went to get her ticket, and off I went to start the process of dealing with filing a claim with her insurance, etc. With a LOT of help from my dad.
And so it was… 20-something years later, on Halloween evening, that was sitting at a stoplight on that same Main Street, in my jeep, waiting for a red light to change.
When suddenly, the motorist behind me decided it was time to go. And so he did. Into the back of the Keri-mobile at the still very much red light.
This time no one was in the car with me. This time when I jumped out there wasn’t any screaming – I just said “are you ok? Do you have your insurance info?” And dialed the police non-emergency number.
But it was not-at-all lost on me, the eerie feeling of déjà vu, as I stood there waiting next to my injured Jeep, in the intersection on Main, for a hometown police officer to arrive, thanking the people who stopped to make sure we were ok. Even car crashes in your hometown spark memories.
Information exchanged and reports complete, off I went to take Jr trick-or-treating before starting the claim process (I did refrain from calling my dad for an assist this time, although I had to stop myself a few times – insurance stuff sucks!)
All involved with both of those accidents were fortunate to walk away with damage to vehicles, and not the people inside them, and as so-very-often happens to me now, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratefulness at the sense of community that has lasted all of these years as my little town has grown (and grown, and GROWN.)
We bundled up and walked the neighborhood in the cold Colorado twilight of Halloween, and of course I got misty eyed watching my son with his friends, and laughing and shivering along with our neighbors.
We are so lucky to be here in this wonderful place with these wonderful people.
(So neighbors – go easy on the Colorado native driving the economy rental with Kansas plates, it’s all the insurance company would spring for!)