the secret lives of prothros.

September 11, 2009

the accident

Filed under: Uncategorized — prothro @ 1:57 pm

So yesterday it happened: my first car accident in ten years of driving. And it was all my fault. I should start by saying that everyone is okay. By the way, that is also how you should start a phone call to your husband concerning an accident, rather than with a shaky voice and murmured wailings that  you “were in an accident”. Yes,  other than some accident related scrapes and one severely bruised ego, everyone is fine. So here is the tale.

I was driving Jessica back to work after lunch, we were talking in the car, so my attention was definitely split. We entered a merging turn lane behind a large, green, Chevrolet pick-up. The lane has its own dedicated merge lane. From what I remember, I looked forward and his brake lights released and he had started moving, so I looking over my shoulder to make sure I was safe to continue, going about 5mph at this point. Then I hear Jessica start screaming for me to stop.

I look forward to see the Chevy is right where it had been before, waiting in the turn lane. As I’m moving forward, I desperately try to get my foot to make contact with my break pedal, it seemed like there was plenty of time, I wasn’t going that fast, but somehow there wasn’t and as I hit my brake we hit the Chevy. We both recounted later that although we didn’t hit so hard, it seemed like it shouldn’t have been more than a tap. I guess thats what a couple thousand pounds of weight does to a collision. Now this is where the fun starts. And by fun I mean intense embarassment.

So, I’m sitting in the car utterly shocked, saying obvious things over and over like: “We just got in an accident” “Oh my gosh” “Crap” “Oh no”. I was like a bad, obvious and redundant broken record. Similar to that George Harrison song I got my Mind set on You, okay George we get the point your mind is set on her, now what? Well luckily Jessica was there to help calm me through to the next part: clearing the accident. Now I knew that was supposed to happen, I was just waiting for my poor victim to start the process. Jessica helped in informing me why he hadn’t.

My bumper was stuck on his trailer hitch. Awesome. He tried to move, no luck. I tried to reverse a little, no luck. We were conjoined. So I jump out of the car, take a quick glance back at the line of cars waiting in the turn lane, felt a quick jolt of embarrassment and adrenaline and went to the business of unhooking my bumper. I unhooked it to realize that it had essentially detached from my car. This is also when I realize something far worse. Something mortifying. My car is moving. Backwards! In the rush to unhook the bumper and clear traffic, I hadn’t put it back into park.  My car was reversing into a domino stack of cars just waiting to be knocked down. And the lead domino was a mini van, a blue mini van that for all I know was packed full of six newborn babies straight out of the delivery room. Austin’s newest sextuplets resting quietly on their way home with my car careening toward them out of control, in reverse and without a driver.

So we both start running. I can see the woman’s face in the mini-van as I sprint back to my car. I was surprised she didn’t look at panicked as I no doubt did. Maybe she didn’t realize what was coming, that she was parked behind me on my unluckiest of days. That she was in the peripheral of my own waking nightmare. Poor lady. Well, not so poor afterall, somehow I fumble back into the car, slam the brakes and throw it back into park.

During this mad sprint the actual physical damage occurred. You see sweet, wonderful Jessica was also running to keep my car from careening into that blue mini van and whatever infant children it may have carried. She was so focused on salvaging my back bumper and whatever was left of my ego that she didn’t see the storm drain while she was running, tripped and skinned her leg and arm. We later found out that she was also somewhat close to getting run over by my sweet CR-V. I’d give her a Purple Heart if I could. She fought valiantly.

So this is the aftermath, reserved for those of you who are truly bored waiting for your Friday to come to a close so your weekend can begin.

We throw the bumper to the side of the road and turn into a parking lot off the street. I’m still mumbling mundane obvious statement and starting to shake a little, no tears though. I get out of the car, approach my victim and say hi, he says he’s ok. He’s hispanic and his name is Antonio. He doesn’t speak a ton of English but we’re getting by fine. I go to my car and start writing my information out to give to him, to be honest I’m a little clueless as to procedures since I’ve never been in an accident so I feel like a mix between a wandering zombie and a chicken without a head. He tells me that we should call the police to get an accident report, I don’t know if that’s normal or not. So I ask him if I can call my husband first.

I call Evan and scare the bejesus out of him by offering that I was in an accident, whimpering for a while and offering no notion of whether I was okay or not. Once I said that I was, he calmed down and I proceeded to apologize a lot. The monetary cost was starting to calculate in my mind. He told me to stop (I love him). He gives me instructions on what to tell the man and then I pass him over to Jessica, to keep him in the loop.

Jessica had been dragging my bumper back towards my car. What a saint! It wasn’t until this point that I put together that she had been hurt. She had a mosaic scrape on her ankle framed by the leather of her gladiator sandals. I felt like such a jerk, my friend had been hurt and I didn’t even know. I just didn’t even think about a post-accident injury. Luckily someone else was looking out for her.

Well naturally God was looking out for her, but there was also this older retired man in the parking lot who came up to her, asked how she was, and informed her that she was covered under my insurance. He also let her know that she was almost run over. He then proceeded to stalk around watching everything in the parking lot. It was very mysterious. Like an ambulance chaser when no ambulance was coming.

I sat on the curb and waited for Antonio to get off the phone, he was speaking in fast spanish, I could understand a decent bit of it. I heard him saying that no one was hurt but that Jessica was bleeding, I spoke up adding “she fell after the accident when we were in reverse”. I guess I wanted to give him the courtesy of knowing that if he said mean things about me in Spanish I had a decent chance of understanding. Thanks Rosetta Stone-I haven’t even gotten to the car accident module yet!

So next up arrives, a tall, hispanic cowboy in a big white truck. I assume he is a friend of Antonio’s. He gets out walks up and asks what happened. His finger is in his ear. I ask if he’s on the phone, he says no, I tell him I thought he had the world’s tiniest bluetooth. He starts laughing and then give me a lengthy explanation of his days as a Marine and how whenever it’s cloudy he gets a ringing in his ears. He also give me a full background of his previous injuries including being run over twice as a child and his service history. Then he proceeds to put his fingers in my ears and move them in circles to show me what his internal rain radar sounds like. I COULD NOT MAKE THIS UP. I’m nice enough about it because I want to leave this thing on the best terms I can, no tickets, no mad people. And maybe he can help talk Antonio into being extra gracious with me. So I let him swirl my ears around?!?!!

My judgement was impaired.

Well then up pulls a police officer, cowboy man informs me that he got there too late and Antonio had already called the police. As we do introductions with the officer, I come to find out that cowboy man doesn’t even know Antonio. He stopped because he thought we might need a translator. He told the officer than he speaks four languages. Just being a good samaritan. WHAT!? I mean that is wonderful and kind, but that guy stuck his fingers in my ears and I didn’t say anything about it and he doesn’t even know Antonio??!? The nightmare continues.

The policeman is nice enough, has us fill out a form about the accident with our information, doesn’t give me a ticket and doesn’t put it on my record. Then he and I start talking shop. He tells me projected costs on fixing our vehicles and I tell him that I’m hoping my handy husband can fix our car. He tells me he’s handy and that is what he would do so I tell him to come over to my car and give me an estimate. So, no joke, he walks around the car with me explaining how to fix things and how much it will cost. I ask how handy Evan would have to be, he said “not that handy” to which I grinned, “we’ve got not that handy covered!” Which was meant to say that my husband is far beyond being categorized as not that handy, but instead came out kind of degrading. As you’ll see, my husband is EXTREMELY handy.

So we get ready to leave, say our goodbyes and then old man ambulance chaser that I was so creeped out by approached us. Turns out he’s a very nice man from Arizona, in town for some golf. He was in the parking lot waiting for a tow truck which is why he was lurking. He told us he’d been in the insurance business so this kind of stuff really shakes him up. He was looking out for us. What a guy!

So Jessica and I climb back in the car. We review the days events trying to put back together a cohesive story. She consoles me more. What a friend!

I drive back home timid at every turn, over silly things like turning left that I’ve done a million times before. Then again I’ve turned right a million times before and never managed to rear end anyone, so I might as well be cautious.

I get home to Gina, waiting for me with a Reese’s concrete from Shake’s. I go over the story again. I keep saying I want to cry but I never do. Evan walks through the front door and tells me that he’d be working from home the rest of the day. I hugged him tight.

After Gina left, I curled up in Evan’s arms and finally cried a bit. In his arms I felt safe and loved even though I’d been a big screw up all day.

He set me on the couch and told me to turn on a movie and then he went to work. By the end of the night he had assessed all the damages, bought parts and completely replaced my radiator and hoses. All for less than $250. He was covered in grease, sweat and radiator fluid and he couldn’t have looked more angelic. He told me how fun it was to work on and how glad he was to replace my radiator anyways since it had been leaking a bit.

All in all not the worst day. Everyone involved was nice, Jessica was there to be my strength and sanity and somehow Evan waved a magic wrench and made it all better. Another blessed day. Not one I’d like to repeat though.



  1. JULIE! I am SO glad you are ok! Your story almost made me cry at how sweet your husband is! Love ya’ll and you, jessica, and the care are all ok!

    Comment by Jessica — September 11, 2009 @ 9:12 pm

  2. HoLy CRAP! hahahaha… Oh man… First of all…yes.. it was scary at the beginning…and SO Sweet at the end.. (Yay Evan!) BUT that MIDDLE PART! hahaha..I could NOT stop crying/laughing at the swirling the ears “I COULD NOT MAKE THIS UP” thing… Hi-LAR-IOUS! OMG! lol I had to regain my composure…before I could start reading again…and then I had another LAUGHING fit and had to regain again! You are a GIFTED writer!! (im a friend of Jessicas… so you dont even know me…) but… BRAVO! 😀 WHAT a story!! 😀

    Comment by Lacy — September 14, 2009 @ 10:47 am

  3. So glad you liked it! I laugh every time I think about the accident now, which is a pretty big gift. Glad to now other are laughing along with me.

    Comment by prothro — September 14, 2009 @ 1:46 pm

  4. […] prothro @ 11:49 am So lots of you got to hear about the embarrassing ordeal of my first car accident. Well, apparently my shame quota wasn’t filled for September because last Wednesday, less […]

    Pingback by insult to injury. « the secret lives of prothros. — September 21, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  5. It’s a touching story. If you still need any compensation, go and ask an Austin accident lawyer for help.

    Comment by Lilian — September 25, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

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