No, seriously. I had my first car accident...and it was a good one.
I'm happy to say that I've never had a brush with death before. I've been uncomfortable, unhappy, and down right in pain, but nothing this close to being in real trouble.
Long story short, I hit some ice on Highway 101 and my car and I went careening across the road, hit a ditch, rolled once, and came to a rest on the driver's side in some trees about 20 feet off the side of the road.
When I hit the ice I remember thinking, "This may end badly."
God bless my Toyota 4Runner that gave it's life for me.
Once I stopped moving, I assessed myself using my now defunct EMT skills.
Neck moves? Check.
Legs move? Check.
Bleeding copiously? Nope.
After realizing that I was miraculously unscathed, I assessed the dog and realized that he, too, was miraculously unscathed - if not a little confused.
Then I sat there and took a little time to collect myself, all the while thinking of those cars in all the action flicks that immediately burst into spontaneous flame as soon as they get in an accident.
Luckily, that didn't happen.
I found the down jacket - as it was a balmy 25 degrees outside - and realized I was laying on my down sleeping bag in its stuff sack. The bag had been thrown in front of me when we rolled and, in addition to cushioning me from the cold, wet ground that was trying to come in at me through the missing driver's side window, it had effectively blocked any broken glass that might otherwise have found its way to my face.
Eventually, I leashed the dog and the two of us crawled out of the now non-existent sun roof.
The car was a mess.
The front end was destroyed. The top and the passenger side were crushed in and all the windows were gone.
I think that's when I started shaking.
As I said, I've never been in a car accident before myself. Working on the ambulance, though, I've pulled a lot of other people out of cars that looked like mine. They weren't usually feeling very well.
So in the long run, the fact that I now have to replace my favorite car in the universe that I was THIS CLOSE to having paid off, doesn't really matter.
What matters is the fact that two nice men who were on their way to the hospital took the time to stop and see if I was ok. They called 911 and then called my family when they got to town since there was no cell reception where I crashed. Their brother was in the truck with a broken arm and they stopped anyway.
What matters is the fact that my family came to get me, hugged me, and then made me laugh. They damned my luck and are helping me find a new car even though they have plenty of other things they could be doing with their time.
What matters is that I didn't get hurt and I can now spend my time finding things to play the Pollyanna glad game about. It's amazing how this experience has changed my view of things.
In the long run, it actually does come down to the fact that realizing what you can lose really can make you appreciate your life and what you have.
It's a hard way to be reminded, but I'm going to try to stay positive.
Maybe I'll get a new 4Runner for Christmas.