I have a very good driving record. Very, very good. I got a 97 on the driver's exam (I didn't know where the defroster was in the damn borrowed car, or it would have been a perfect score). I can parallel park in downtown city traffic. I can drive a stick and, as I've mentioned before, hills don't scare me. I'm good in ice, snow and rain. I know what to do in the event of a skid (turn into the skid, in case you were wondering) and I constantly keep my eyes open for "ditch" options, in case someone else makes a bonehead move (like passing in a no passing lane or swerving into oncoming traffic) and I have to make an unconventional choice of route- like into the woods, down the embankment or into the other lane. I have never had an accident that was even ostensibly my fault.
Until the last year. In the past 6 months I've had one fender bender (which was really no one's fault- we both backed up at the same time out of slanted parking spots) and one "foot slipped off the brake and onto the gas and the car lurched forward and bumped a parked car in the parking lot." That last one? Today. This morning, actually.
Fender benders happen, though. That's why we have that cute little rhyming name for them. They are no big deal- so why am I writing about these two very minor incidents here? Simple. It isn't the little dings and dents that get me. It's my total inability to manage the situation. I am totally cool in 99% of disaster situations. Blood doesn't bother me. Storms, tornadoes, broken appliances- no big. But these two little bumps have left me frozen, crying and calling my husband so he can tell me what to do.
Quite frankly, it's embarrassing. Why this particular situation turns me into a 16 year old girl (and not even the 16 year old girl I was- I turn into some foreign creature whom I've never met) is totally beyond me. And the thing is, it's such a visceral thing that I don't even have time to divert it. The tears are welling and my chin is wobbling and the cell phone is in my hand within milliseconds. The first time, I could chalk it up to inexperience- I'd never had a real accident before, with damage and another driver scowling and trying to get me to say it was my fault. I needed guidance and my darling husband knows his way around an accident scene (though that's another story for another day). Today, though? Today I had no excuse. Sitting quietly in my living room now, thinking back on it, I knew what to do. I needed to leave a note and let the other driver know that I'd bumped her. There wasn't really even any damage, just a teeny scratch and some green paint (which confuses me 'cause my car isn't green, but I digress). So why the tears and the drama and the sense of impending doom? Why do I fall apart in that specific situation? I have no. freaking. idea.
It's so not badass. Badass would know that she knows how to handle the situation. Badass would curse, pound the steering wheel, and write the damn note. Badass wouldn't need to call on The Man of the House to fix it. Apparently, Badass took the morning off.