It seems there has again been a lapse in my writing, I assure you the last two weeks have not been easy. You see, I was in a car accident a few days after I wrote my last post on the way to the hill where I teach skiing.
It was a cold morning after an unseasonably warm night, the highway was fine but as soon as I turned off I noticed the road conditions had changed. That should have been my first clue. In my rush to get to the hill for 9am I passed two cars going well over the speed limit. There is a nasty S turn that leads down to a one lane old stone heritage bridge in the town before the ski hill. The speed limit at the start of the curve is 50km/hr and then turns to 40km/hr at the bottom before the bridge. I couldn’t tell you how fast I was going, I only noticed my tires losing traction as I went down and as I rounded the corner before the final turn I saw a car in a snow bank being pushed out by people at the very end of the curve.
My car was sliding towards them, so in an attempt to avoid the car, its occupants and the good samaritans who had stopped to push them out, I swerved into the oncoming lane. A car was coming off the bridge, luckily not that fast, and I braced for impact. By the time our cars collided neither of us was going very fast, so the damage was minimal. I drive a Saturn, so polymer panels cracked, a bumper smashed, a quarter panel pushed in, a slightly dented hood and a broken light.
The events which unfolded afterwards were truly incredible. All these cars started stopping and asking if the occupants of the other vehicle were okay. Turns out the other car had just dropped off kids at a hockey tournament in town and all the parents driving by were checking in on the way home. The good samaritains got the car out of the snowbank and quickly disappeared. Meanwhile as we were waiting for the police to show I sat and watched as cars skidded in the same spot I had. One vehicle plowed right through the snowbank where the car had been and kept on going. Then a plow finally came by, too little too late for me. My first serious encounter with black ice.
I had phoned the hill to let them know I’d been in a car accident. After the police wrote up the report and deemed the accident due to unsafe driving conditions and another accident, he ensured both my car and I were okay to drive home. He even checked in with me as I went to the village to call my insurance company. I spoke to my supervisor at the hill afterwards, she suggested I go home after asking me how I was doing. I told her I’d rather teach instead as I’d just sit at home replaying the whole incident.
So off to the ski hill I went in my damaged car. The first person I came across is a dear fellow who wears many hats, one of which is a parking attendant. As soon as I saw him I pulled up and promptly burst into tears. He got me parked and gave me a big hug. Now one of his many jobs is to ski patrol so he then proceeded to tell me to breathe amongst other comforting things. He carried my skis and poles for me and simply reassured me by his presence.
My supervisor spotted me, we talked, she comforted me some more and asked me what I wanted to do. I wanted to ski so I assisted another instructor with a young group of kids for a lesson. When I was done, the same supervisor and another reassured me some more, gave me hugs because I was weepy, offered me lunch money and told me to go eat. By the time I was done eating, I was a space cadet. The aftermath of shock probably, so I left but not before I promised to call the hill as soon as I got home to make sure I’d arrived safely.
One of the things which bothered me the most besides replaying the accident incessantly was that I had to deal with it alone. I was challenged by my counsellor as to whether I had really been alone. All the people along the way played their part to ensure I was not. As my man held me in his arms later that night, comforting, reassuring and supporting me, I realized I wasn’t. Old core beliefs sure die hard don’t they?
What accidents happen in your life which make you realize some important lessons and face reality head on? Weigh in.