A Canadian gal living in Britain with 3 men and a dog. Wine helps.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

I could have told this with a more light-hearted twist, but I'm in a serious mood today...

I woke up with a tequila hang-over on New Year’s Day which put the lid on preparing the roast dinner I had thought about making. No one seemed bothered about it, including Andy as we were all having a rather lazy day. While Connor slept most of the day upstairs and Andy pottered about in his office, I slummed it on the couch watching re-runs of How to Look Good Naked and Come Dine with Me. (I could watch this show all day every day – the commentator is hilarious). I simultaneously tried to drink a ton of water and avoid shovelling more rubbish food in my mouth. I woke up the next morning and went to the gym, so not all was lost. I have been eating healthy foods so far this week and can report that I could have had a worse start to 2011.

Yesterday morning I was taking my time driving off of our estate as the roads were covered in a film of ice. As I approached a junction that always plays havoc with my breaks in slippery conditions, I switched to a lower gear in anticipation of stopping. Nothing happened. Although I didn’t gain speed (I didn’t slip on the ice), I sure didn’t slow down and it was clear I wasn’t going to stop. This has happened once or twice before at this spot, however I usually manage to stop in time and if not, the way is usually clear so no harm done.

Not this time. There was a mini-van approaching from the right. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as my car slid through the junction just as the van was about to pass directly in front of me. I braced myself for impact, praying that there wasn’t a child strapped into a back seat; and although I wasn’t moving quickly, I knew the result wasn’t going to be good for either car. Damn. And we had just paid off the 4x4. Just as I had resigned myself to a crash, the minivan picked up speed and managed to creep past and we didn’t collide. It took me a moment to process this fact as I finally came to a stop in the middle of the junction. I noticed straightaway that the van driver had pulled over. We rolled our windows down, me not even thinking of what the reaction of the other driver was going to be, and a woman with dark hair stuck her head out the window and asked me if I was ok.

I could have cried. Obviously she had taken in the look of horror that must have been on my face. (I can look back now and see how comical this must have been). But we were both ok, no damage done.  It still took me awhile to let go of the shock of what nearly happened, which has really surprised me. I must be getting old.  I still don’t know if she had a child in that car; if she did she was still able to process that our near miss was a result of the ice, not speed. Her reaction has re-affirmed to me that there are still reasonable and good people around. Not everyone would have reacted in such a manner; quite the opposite. Road rage is a ‘virus' I can’t understand. Yes we all have moments of annoyance with other drivers, but people who constantly tail-gate, yell obscenities, flash their lights etc. are in my opinion just pathetic.

Strangely, what seems to have taken an eternity to play out actually only took a matter of seconds. That’s how time has a bad habit of playing games with us. It only takes a moment for life to change, however big or small. Sure, no one might have been hurt but two damaged cars is not the way I would have wanted to start 2011.

The world would be a better place if more people were like this woman and would step back and stop being so re-active in negative ways (especially when driving). It doesn’t help matters and making everyone feel awful resolves nothing. It’s not the way I have ever aspired to be and I try hard to ensure this doesn’t happen (other than the odd time when I’m really provoked i.e. when someone drinks my last diet coke, now that's a different story altogether!)


dawn mclaughlin said...

It is amazing how those moments that are only 10 to 30 seconds in duration suddenly become slow motion and you can clearly define the entire thought process you have, eh?

Like I said yesterday, BIG HUG. CAn't wait to hug you in person in a couple of weeks!

Laraf123 said...

What a terrifying near miss. I'm so glad that you and the other driver are ok. She was probably just as frightened as you were. I agree--I wish people assumed the best instead of the worst (both on the road and in life in general).
Be Safe and have a good weekend!

Joanne said...

Oh Jody you had me terrified -- even though in thinking about it you wouldn't be writing if something serious had happened. Anyway I just about cried when you recounted the lady in the van's reaction - bravo to her!!!

Just the other day I was driving my mom to a store - I turned on to the main road and at the next driveway some "fellow" pulled out in front of me- no ice - no reason - just didn't bother to stop. My reaction was just one of wonder -- I even held my hands in the reaction of wonder. His reaction to me -- well it was the lovely one fingered salute - nice eh when I did NOTHING wrong.

I am going to hold on to your story - I like it better.