So, on Tuesday I rear-ended a car while waiting at an intersection. Dumb enough, but there was a cop directly next to me who saw this happen. When I screw up, I cover all the bases. Even though I barely tapped the other car, I went into full blown hysterics over what could have happened to me and the baby. Full pregnant crying hysteria is a surefire way to get the cop and the guy who was hit squarely on your side and off to the hospital for an ultrasound posthaste. Fortunately the baby is fine–and at that speed, of course it would be, but…I’ve been distracted in a car before. I was really lucky. And perhaps it’s a first-time mother’s overreaction but the worst 30 minutes of my life was between the hit itself and the all-clear from the tech, mostly from the realization that if anything had gone wrong, I would have no one to blame but myself. The tech was kind enough to offer the hospital’s sandpaper-grade tissues and a few photos from the ultrasound; I’m too lazy to scan so I took a photo of the photo using my Macbook’s iSight camera, which is why “body” looks like “ydob.”
Incidentally, I was not issued a citation or so much as a verbal warning. The cop, whom I chatted with a bit, had a pregnant wife at home and a clear dislike of the guy I hit, who was not American-born and barely spoke English. He was driving for his shady employer, who he got on the phone and the owner then tried to pressure me into not getting a police report and to settle things quietly, not realizing that the ONE POLICE OFFICER on that part of Kamehamea Highway watched me in my stupidity and was already there. The other driver, who did nothing wrong, DID get a citation for driving without a valid license and possibly in trouble with INS, if I followed the conversation about immigration lawyers and the availing of correctly. I was so far beyond comprehending anything other than “I’m an idiot and oh god I could have killed the baby” and crying all over the extra beach towel in the back of the car that it took me until Wednesday to figure out that I totally used sexism and xenophobia in my favor, even if I didn’t realize it. Then I felt extra-worse. So, I apologize, other guy. Here legally or not, your life is probably complicated enough without an airheaded blonde yuppie mashing your bitchy-sounding boss’s car out of nowhere and getting you busted by the police. Sorry, man.
What did make me happy was my call to Geico to file a claim. $100 deductible for us, no deductible for the other guy–we don’t have to pay a dime for their new bumper! Rental car completely covered! They cover whatever part of the ER trip our medical insurance doesn’t cover! Their customer service reps work 24-7 and were quite pleasant! And our policy is very reasonably priced anyway–or at least it will be until this goes on the record–even though I’m under 25. Tom was very pleased with that development, as was I. Hooray for good insurance policies! The sad thing is that we just bought all this extra coverage through Afflac for accidents and disability and the like, and we have a meeting to discuss additional insurance on my life coming up soon–the policy payout is double if I die in an accident. So being smart and sensible and responsible-parent woman has been on my mind a lot recently. Not enough, it would seem. Again, it was a 5mph fender bender, but still…I can think of other times I’ve been distracted, even just by my own thoughts, going full speed on the highway, and thank whatever gods exist that my wakeup call was at such a low speed.
Tom also reinforced that our decision to have babies was a good one by being very awesome about the whole thing; a lot of people would have gotten angry with me for being careless, especially while carrying our child, but he let it go in favor of the “You’re making yourself feel worse than I ever could” argument and just mentioned that the damage to the car was slight and superficial. We joke that he’ll be the softie when it comes to disciplining our kids, but I think he’ll hold his own well–he knows when to step back and let me punish myself, which is as important as knowing when to push the point. (I think he’ll be particularly good at the sigh-head shake-“I’m very disappointed” method of order-keeping with the kids.) I’ve seen enough of this kind of conflict resolution to know that no behavior or attitude problem or incident response was ever made better by berating someone until they feel even worse, so I’m pleased that Tom keeps such a level head, particularly when I’m losing mine.
So, to sum up–baby’s fine, I’m fine, car could use a new hood and bumper, baby photos and Geico good, xenophobia/sexism/negative behavioral reinforcement bad.
And that was the week that was.