I got in a car accident the other day. The problem is I have often pointed out to my teenage children that I have never received a ticket or caused a car accident for fifty-four years. Now I’ve done both. When I stopped at that stop sign, looked right and left and pulled forward, I had no idea how that red car appeared out of nowhere. Like magic - poof! There it was. Crunch.
I am an insurance company’s worst nightmare. I immediately pulled my van off the road, raced to the other vehicle, made sure she was alright, hugged her told her I was sorry for ruining her car and her day.
I think I’ve officially entered my fuddy-duddy stage. I can see through my glasses pretty well straight ahead, but they don’t work so well when I look right or left. I guess what I really need is wrap around glasses so I can see on the sides of my life.
Someone once said to me, “Be nice to old fuddy-duddies on the road. You will become one of them sooner than you think.” Boy, were they right. When I looked around me at my 35th high school reunion, I wondered how all those kids got looking so old so fast. Then I realized I was one of them.
I don’t like to complain about getting older. I mean the only alternative is dying young. I’ve always been happy to tell everybody how old I am on my birthday because if I wasn’t that old, I’d be dead. I have also learned not to take life too seriously because we’ll never get out of here alive.
They say that the joy of life is the ride. What they don’t say is that while you’re on that ride you’re going to get in some accidents right after you change your insurance from comprehensive to liability because you’ve never been in an accident before and you’re tired of paying those premiums. Then . . . wham! You wreck your car, someone else’s car and your pride. There you are minding your own business and suddenly you cause an accident, get handed a FTY citation and still have to pay to get your car fixed on your own dime. Then you have to attend traffic school if you don’t want the bad driver points on your record.
Well, I refuse to be intimidated or humiliated by reality. The real miracle is that I’ve never been in an accident before when I’ve been in so many near misses – my fault and their fault. The real miracle is that no one got hurt. I think we add years to our life and life to our years when we stop a hardening of our attitudes. We don’t have to wonder, “Why me?” “Why now?” The real question is, “Why not me?” “Why not now?” Bad things happen to everybody. Some times it’s our fault and sometimes it’s the other guy’s fault. We don’t have to spend the rest of our life feeling picked on. That’s life.
After the accident, the auto body guy said it wasn’t worth the money to fix our thirteen year old van. It would cost more to fix it than the vehicle was worth. But I fixed it anyway. I don’t think you have to give up on cars or people and send them to the junk yard just because they get a little older or a little banged up. I’m just not ready to let go of my old van . . . my sense of humor . . . or my love of life.