Here's a secret: I wasn't just going to the bank. I was planning on stopping off for an egg sandwich and a coffee first. So when the woman crossed the double yellow and slammed into me, I felt - among other things - guilty. As if my intentions for being on the road at 9am were impure. I could have eaten a package of oatmeal or fried up an egg at home, but I really did need to deposit a check, so I thought, Why not feed two birds with one worm? (Thanks to my daughter's keen observation of the cruelty of this casual idiom, we no longer say Kill Two Birds With One Stone). I can't imagine hurling a stone at one bird let alone two, although I'm not fussy about crows. I catch them watching me, squawking back and forth in their crow-speak. Maybe they had something to do with the accident. Perhaps they've been plotting it all along - anticipating what would have to be the road kill find of a lifetime. A feast for the whole flock - the stuff of crow legend.
But there's always something. A rejection email from a lit mag. Two rejection emails. No emails. An email that begins with: I am writing with sad and disappointing news: you did not get the job. And the self-pity collects like dog hair, clustering and lighting on every surface until you begin to believe that fur is a conspiracy against you. All of this despite the fact that you can't touch an email or smell its breath.
On the morning I was hit, I am not sure that I brushed my teeth. In fact I'm certain that before leaving the house, I'd slugged back half a pot of coffee and put the car into drive without so much as a stick of gum to soften the blow. The bank teller would have been protected by a plastic barrier. And I could have spoken into the drive-thru speaker to order my egg sandwich, taking care to smile with my mouth closed when handing over the cash at the window. But the woman who stopped to hold my hand after the crash came face to face with my dragon breath and never flinched. She did not wince with disgust the way the nurse tasked with extracting the staples left-over from my C-section cringed at my oozing abdomen. She hadn't even witnessed the accident. Had no legal responsiblity to pull-over and give a statement. But she did pull-over. Dressed in white, she appeared in the smashed-out window of my beloved little red car and took my hand. She offered me her phone, as mine was lost somewhere in the debris of broken glass and mangled chrome. She zipped my purse. Stayed until the police came and my car was towed away. Waited with no regard for her own egg sandwich agenda.
And so, for this, my inaugural blog, I want to say thank you. Thank you to the woman who held my hand. To all the women and men who stop. Who take the time to touch a stranger, renewing a forgotten faith. And though I miss my car - the only car I've ever loved, I say thank you to those who would crash into us as well. Thank you for ramming some perspective into my sideview mirror and for reminding me how precious the dog-hair disappointments in life can be.