And then the bottom fell out.

17 May

How was your weekend? It was good? That’s nice.

Hmmm? My weekend? Oh, my weekend sucked. Great big, sweaty donkey balls.

OK, that’s not entirely true: the beginning portion of my weekend was fine. With the exception of helping my parents with their myriad of technological questions, I had a perfectly pleasant visit with my family. The trouble was when I was on my way home.

The highway that goes from my home on the coast to where my parents live inland is a three-hour journey through the mountains. For the past 10 years I have driven that road in every condition imaginable – fog, snow, ice, hail, rain, forest fire – all without incident. But this time, as I was driving up the first big summit, around the first really tight hairpin turn, my tires hit a slick spot on the road and my truck spun into the oncoming lane, towards the edge of the road, an edge that was a straight drop down the hill.

I remember all the rules for this type of situation: don’t slam on the brakes, turn into the swerve to regain control and then turn back out. But at that moment, when it looked like I would either run head-first into traffic or fly off the cliff all I could think was Don’t Die. And that meant cranking the wheel in the opposite direction. Which meant slamming my truck head-first into the side of a mountain.

In the grand scheme of things, everything turned out well: the truck took most of the impact. At the scene, I felt fine with the exception of my knee, which hit the steering column. But I was still taken to the hospital in the ambulance, strapped to a backboard. And, as is my way, I hid my fear with humor:

EMT #1 (to EMT #2): Gee Gary, it looks like you’ve done this before.

EMT #2: Nope, never done before in my life.

Me (as I’m being strapped down): Oh great, I get into an accident and you guys send some guy you just picked up off the side of the road.

EMT #1: Well, he seemed nice enough.

Me: And he was wearing the vest.

After a quick look over at the ER, it was determined that I was OK, save the knee and a nasty mark across my neck and chest similar to a rope burn. It’s clear that I am very, very lucky that I was able to walk away and that no one else was hurt. But, the logistics are a little worse: I just took collision coverage off my truck two months ago, so it’s a complete and total loss; I have no health insurance and I’m terrified to think what the hospital bill will end up looking like.

The next day, my father gave me a ride home, but that meant I had to miss part of a day of work. Things at my job had been…tense over the last few weeks. My supervisor and I had never gotten along very well during my six weeks there and it seemed that no matter how hard I tried or however I approached her, it just annoyed her.

So when she was terse with me on the phone when I explained what happened, it worried me.

When I got to work a few hours later and she wouldn’t look me in the eye, it bothered me.

When she let the entire day go by without once mentioning what had happened to me or pretend to show any concern, it pissed me off. It also clued me in that I was on my way out.

And sure enough, when I showed up for work this morning, all my belongings were in a box on my desk with my last paycheck, I was told that it “wasn’t a good fit” by the big boss, and my supervisor refused to look me in the eye.

So, a quick rehash of the last 36 hours: terrifying car crash, loss of my sole form of transportation, swollen knee that makes walking painful, expensive ER visit, and no job. Yes, it could be worse, but it sure-as-shit could be better.

So, what do I do now? I’m not entirely sure, but I think for today I’m allowed to sit and wallow. I’m allowed to cry and cry and cry. I’m allowed to eat cookies for lunch. I’m allowed to leave weepy voicemails for my boyfriend, even though I’m usually not that kind of girl. I’m allowed to throw myself a pity party and invite my friends and allow them to buy drinks for me until the burn of the last few days is numb.

And tomorrow? Well tomorrow, I’ll get up and I’ll start again. Because that’s all you can do sometimes.


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