Picture this: there were five people in a silver minivan – my dad driving, my brother in the passenger seat, Ro and I in the middle, and my mom (commonly referred to as my mooms) in the back.
We were going down a slight incline and the light had just turned yellow. It was possible to gun it through, but we decided to play it safe and stop. Unfortunately, the kid in the van behind us was determined to speed through the changing light – even if that meant going through US first.
To say the impact made a loud noise would be an understatement. Let’s just say it sounded like the car EXPLODED. I’m talking like one of those movies where you see the mushroom cloud and sirens going off and glass shattering everywhere. IT WAS LOUD.
The force of the collision also shoved us through the intersection – through the red light, so I guess Mr “I didn’t know you were going to stop” got what he wanted. I’m actually not sure how we stopped moving – if my dad hit the brakes, if we swung over to the side and just rolled to a stop. All I know is that all five of us were jolted forward and then ricocheted back once the van stopped, knocking our heads against our headrests.
Ro channeled Velma (from Scooby Doo) at one point when she yelled”MY GLASSES! WHERE ARE MY GLASSES?”, since the violent front and back motion knocked them right off her face. If I had been able to think, I might have replied with “Jinkies, this isn’t the right time!”
As soon as we stopped, my dad and brother (Kev) got out of the front. My dad went to check the damage – after making sure we were all okay – and Kev dialed 911. My mooms, in the back seat, had borne the brunt of the collision. SPOILER ALERT: she’s fine and dandy now – but at the time, she was our top concern.
I suppose the technical term for her would be “hysterical” – when dealing with trauma (or drama, for that matter), she panics. She gets so worked up, her chest gets all tight and her breath comes out in gasps and her eyes roll around and we have to remind her to breathe normally, to focus, to please not pass out because that is the worst thing she can do right now.
For the rest of us, there was a lot of soreness – the aforementioned head-butting the head rest, pain in some shoulders from being thrown back and forth, some bumps and bruises (on my lower back – there is a piece of the middle seat that juts out which can hurt on a good day if you sit on an awkward angle, but is extra painful when it jams into your body at a great velocity).
An ambulance showed up surprisingly fast (I think they were nearby), and two tow-trucks randomly appeared (one might have come with the ambulance, but the other often hangs out at that particular intersection), and a fire truck zoomed over (he actually took the longest, which was odd because we were literally 3 blocks away from a fire station). And yes, as I stood on the grass and glared at the people rubber-necking to see what happened, I was disappointed to note that there wasn’t a single attractive fireman/policeman/ambulance driver in the bunch (because I have messed up priorities).
Then there was a lot of waiting. Waiting as the ambulance loaded my mom up and took her to the hospital to make sure she was okay (her blood pressure went through the roof). Waiting while first a policeman, then a policewoman started to take down information. Waiting while the driver of the other car (who is only 18, which explains why he was such a dick) asked us questions and tried to figure out why anyone of us could have hurt our heads/shoulders because apparently his lack of driving skills also impairs his ability to understand basic physics (i.e. the whole “a body in motion is always in motion” thing or whatever that rule is).
While waiting for the police/accident report to be written up, I had a lot of time to analyze my own reactions (because I like to analyze things). There are apparently four stages that I have to get through when involved in a traumatic experience before I’m “normal” (but what is “normal”?) again (the words in parentheses are examples of my thought process):
Step 1: irrational – similar to when I’m startled awake (DID THE CAR JUST EXPLODE? AM I DEAD? IS THIS REAL LIFE?)
Step 2: mild hysteria (I seem to be ok…BUT EVERYONE ELSE, ARE YOU ALIVE?! MOOMS! ANSWER ME, WOMAN! OH NO, WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE! I CANNOT DIE UNTIL I MET ALEX GASKARTH! OR PUBLISH A BOOK! OR IDEALLY, MEET ALEX GASKARTH WHILE PROMOTING MY NEWLY PUBLISHED BOOK!)
Step 3: anger (HEY ASSHOLE, IF YOU ASK ME ONE MORE STUPID QUESTION, I WILL STRAIGHT UP MURDER YOU WITH THE UMBRELLA I JUST FOUND, I AM NOT EVEN JOKING)
Step 4: sarcasm (Oh, you didn’t know we were stopping? I don’t suppose the BRAKE LIGHTS FLASHING DIRECTLY IN YOUR EYE LINE were enough of an indication?)
I try not to think about how much more horrific it would have been if a car had been coming from the other direction since we would have been T-boned at the same time. And if any of us had been seriously injured, I would be writing this post from a police station after being arrested for publicly assaulting the guy who rear-ended our van.