About That Time I *Supposedly* Got in Two Car Accidents in One Day

January 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

If you asked my mother, father, or brother, they would tell you that I got into two car accidents on the day of my grandmother’s funeral.

I maintain that it was only one.

When we pulled up to the funeral home that morning, the funeral director (who, in a twist, also happened to be my 10th-grade history teacher) asked everyone to squeeze their cars as closely together as possible. It’s a small town. There is only street parking, and parallel parking at that.

My brother and I arrived in birth order; so I parked my car behind him. The funeral director/history teacher waved me closer and closer and closer until BUMP I was touching his car. I shrugged, and Scott and I went in. My brother was displeased when he saw this after the service but everyone should keep in mind that the car in question was his NINETEEN-NINETY-FIVE DODGE NEON. It has almost 200,000 miles on it. Maybe we settle down, right?

After the funeral, we all drove to the cemetery, which is on the outskirts of town, for the burial. Worst part of the day, therefore I’m skipping right over it, to the dinner that was back in the main part of town afterward. Same deal: It’s a small town. These are one-lane-in-each-direction roads, with parallel parking along them. On my first pass by the restaurant going east, I noticed a spot open on the other side of the street, facing west. My split-second thought process:

    1. No one is coming down the road going west.
    2. No one is terribly close behind me, going east.
    3. I drive a Mini Cooper.
    4. I can easily pull off a U-turn right here in the middle of the street.
    5. I’ll grab that plum spot right in front of the restaurant!

Makes sense, right?

It did.

Except I didn’t see a woman who was pulling out of a parking spot facing west. So as I pulled my U-turn, she was pulling out of the spot and, guess what?

We hit each other head on.

It happened REALLY fast. Obviously. And luckily, everyone was going fairly slow so no one was hurt and damage to both cars was minimal — her front bumper was scratched a tiny bit, and the front license plate had broken off the Mini. (It’s worth noting that her car, like my brother’s, was a wreck.) My cousin drove by, shaking his head, and said, “I was behind you. You’re an idiot. I’ll tell your parents you’ll be late.” I took full blame, and after he noticed my hands shaking, Scott took control, found a pen, gave her my insurance information and contact information, and took the keys. The whole exchange seemed to take forever; I think the woman we hit wanted to hang out with us.

He finally parked us, about two blocks from the restaurant, and as we were walking toward it, we saw what remains my favorite happy memory of the shittiest of days: Mom, Dad, and Brother walking out of the restaurant, their faces equal parts protective and pissed off, looking bad-ass in all-black suits, looking for Scott and I. In that moment, I couldn’t have adored my family more — they banded together, and they were coming after me, and they looked like they were going to kick someone’s ass. (Even if it was mine, I loved them for how determined and serious they went about it.)

Scott and I caught up to them, and Dad said, “Everyone OK? No damage?” and Mom said, “The priest is annoyed, he wants to say a prayer to start dinner and you’re not there…” and Brother said, “Scott’s driving the rest of the day. You’re a jackass. You just got into two accidents in two hours.”

Needless to say, Making Fun of Shitty-Driver Meredith provided the levity the whole extended family needed during dinner.

I still maintain it was only one accident.

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