Saturday, August 11, 2007

DIARY 41 - Welcome to the car smash

I'm barely a few minutes drive away from work,on my way to pick up David from his work. On the slip road approaching the A14 a silver car wavers impatiently behind my back bumper. As we near the motorway he indicates and begins to move out over the cross hatched area before I've reached the inside lane. I'm forced into further accelerating, I can just about see beyond him a red lorry in the outside lane and think the coast is clear for me to enter. The lorry, because my impatient pursuer lies between us, is unaware of me. I'm in his blind spot and he moves into mine. Having passed the silver car he believes it's OK to move back into the inside lane. All I could see was his left indicator light flashing as he whanged right into the side of me. The force of this propels the left side of my car straight onto the hard shoulder, ripping the front off, blowing a tyre and ironing my doors flat. This never seems to happen in car chases in movies, however, I come to a juddery halt. I sit holding my hands tightly to the top of my head I'm in shock, my breathing is panicky,sharp and shallow. All I'm thinking is how I'm going to get to the Crematorium now and to phone David. The car is obviously dead, and I am obviously not.

The lorry driver stops, phones 999, and runs back to see how I am. All doors
bar one are inoperable so I exit out the one rear door that will open. A little
dazed and I stumble out grasping a rucksack and battered Tesco bag. When the police and ambulance arrive I am still a bit stunned and can't quite take in all their saying. They seem to be speaking very fast. There was some sense of mourning for the loss and demise of the car, particularly as I watched it hauled like a crippled insect onto the accident recovery vehicle. After all the expense and effort of getting myself back into driving, in barely a few moments my circumstances seem suddenly reverted to how they were eighteen months ago. Yet I've always had a diffident relationship with driving, seeing it as a somewhat unfortunate necessity tied up with my working at the Crematorium. I don't take much interest in cars generally, my own was no exception, just so long as it worked. Though I will miss the freedom of mobility it brought, it did come at a high cost to me personally and to the environment. To be free of this seems a blessed release.

I've been very lucky, no physical injuries, no whiplash to speak of, just a stiff neck, shoulders, back , and in mild shock for a day or so. I was literally a few inches away from being crushed to death. Fortunately the lorry driver reacted quickly to his mistake in judgement or else I would have become a further statistic to add to the list of A14 fatalities. That the car has become a right off so near to my leaving working for the Crematorium seems appropriate somehow. I wouldn't need to use it much from September onwards, once I'm able to walk to work. Longer term I had been wondering what I would do about the car anyway. Now whatever money emerges from the Insurance I can use towards clearing my loan, which will be a great financial boon.

David has remarked how amazed he is with how calm and unruffled I've remained. I presume my work has had some effect on how I view the proximity of mortality. I'm in daily contact with the aftermath and consequences of death, some of which are quite tragic. So I've not felt emotionally traumatised or tearful, what has happened has happened, and fortunately I'm still alive to tell the tale. Whatever is to come, all those future things I get anxious and fret about, seem less worthy of the attention that I normally give them. The force of my desires for something other than what I currently have, often creates a whirl of suffering and discontent around it. Having been so close to death I feel more appreciative and content with the life I've got, and so grateful that I'm still alive to see that with greater clarity.

No comments: