Calamity Jennye

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Motorcycle

(I apologize to those of you I should have called and told this story in person. I can't do it...)

In a completely unexpected turn of events I have managed to find myself in another situation that has left me totally without words.
It is truly rare that I am left completely baffled and speechless. But ever since Friday afternoon at about 3:30 all I can do is replay one event in my mind, marvel at the fact that yet again a completely horrific situation has turned out only mildly horrific, and ask myself over and over and over what I possibly could have done to avoid this.
Have I mentioned that is a mantra I’m getting really tired of?

I was having a great day Friday…well okay maybe it started out not so great. I stayed in bed until 10:30 Friday morning a bit afraid to face the text messages I had sent Thursday night. That is a story for a different time. But the point is I convinced myself to sleep in beyond all reason and not face reality simply because I could. This sleeping in meant that the work I had meant to do Friday AM I did not get to until Friday at noon.
I got to my friends office at their house at noon and had a really productive two and half hours of work. I got everything done that we’ve been trying to accomplish for months and actually couldn’t have felt better about myself, the errands I had left to run, I had dinner plans, the sun was shining. Things were really great.
This work I was doing was for my best friends and they were out of town for the day. Here at my apartment I only have a small stall shower and it’s a little tricky to get in and out of with my foot situation. I actually can’t decide if it’s more or less tricky now that I’m off of crutches but in any case I decided to take advantage of their empty house and great bathtub.

By the time I left the house I was clean, productive and had a clear agenda ahead of me. I drove up their driveway and just as I got to the top my phone rang. I could see it was someone I had called about a business thing and knew I would need to write down an address. I stopped at the top of the driveway, put my car in park (I know this is so not me) and took the call. I honestly have to say as I slid the car into park I had the conscious thought “this is so responsible”.
I was just hanging up the call when someone who wanted to come down my friend’s driveway turned off the highway and pulled up next to me. There are actually two driveways that converge at the top and you can go down theirs or her parents. As he pulled in I thought this person must be going down to Layne and Rolf’s. But then as he sat there for a few seconds smiling at me I realized…oh he’s going to Jon and Alyssa’s. I have to get out of his way before he can go any further down the driveway.
I started to pull out onto the highway to let him by and before I knew it, before I could process anything there was a loud noise and a man on a motorcycle skidding across the highway.


I was in complete shock.  I pulled my car over to the shoulder, hopped out, turned to the man in the truck and said “Oh my God…I hit that man? What do I do?”
I couldn’t find my phone, I couldn’t think straight. By the time I found my phone someone else had called 911. By the time I made it across the road and up to where the motorcycle was laying the man was up.
He came towards me and asked if I was ok (can you believe that?) I said you shouldn’t be standing up. He said it was as smart as he thought to always wear protective gear…I said thank God you do. He then walked over to me and shook my hand. As he stuck out his hand I started to panic, what do you say to the man you just nearly killed? “So nice to meet you in these unfortunate circumstances” were the exact words that came out of my mouth. Did my parents train me well or what?

I stood there in shock as my friend’s brother pulled up, on his way home, got out of his car and came over to be the moral support I needed so desperately right then. The thing I do love about this small town is that one of the local EMT’s was on his way by and even though he was on vacation, stopped and checked the man out just to make sure he was okay before the ambulance arrived.

I walked over to my car to get my id and insurance info and as I walked back I had the horrible realization that maybe my parents hadn’t trained me as well as I thought. You know how all of your childhood your mom beat it into you that you better always wear clean underwear in case you get into an accident?  Well….I had just bathed and as I got out of the bath I realized I hadn’t brought any clean underwear. No big deal I thought, this dress often looks better without underwear anyway. So as I’m walking over to give my statement to the sheriff I realize I just had that accident and it’s not just that my underwear isn’t clean. “I’M NOT WEARING ANY UNDERWEAR!”
I think it shows the state of near shock I was in that I couldn’t even laugh. Not until about seven that night when I told everyone I was having dinner with. We all know I’m an oversharer.

That night at the same dinner my friends dad said to me: "So, how are you feeling?"
 "Done" I said.
"Yes done, you know, like I cannot handle one more bad thing. Nothing, This is it, I'm done."
"Oh, so you're done."
"Yes, done!"

The amazing end to this story is that the man I hit. Wes, called me today to make sure I was okay. I had intended to call him yesterday to make sure he was okay (he ended up going to the hospital, even though he was walking and felt fine) but I chickened out. I’ve spent two days replaying the horrible thing over and over again. Cringing as I fall asleep. Randomly saying under my breath “holy shit I hit a motorcycle”. And I got scared, scared that if I called him he wouldn’t be the guy that shook my hand on the side of the road, scared that he’d say all the things I feared most, “you idiot, what were you thinking, how could you have done this?”
I knew I couldn’t handle it. In all these hours, all these repetitions I can only see one way this could have worked differently and I still can’t figure out how I could have made that happen. It’s been horrible. But yet again, horrible in the best way possible. No one died, my car is drivable, as long as I don’t need headlights, I was right where I needed to be to have family and friends take care of me and tell me they don’t think I’ve totally gone off the deep edge, and then today the one person who has every right to hate me, completely and utterly, calls to say “I don’t think this was your fault.”


  1. Oh dear... You are living on the edge! I never would have known on Fridsy evening when we were chatting via Facebook... You were really on top of things!
    Remain thankful that interned out like it did and move on!

  2. Wouldn't it be nice if we could be as kind to ourselves as strangers sometimes are? I am sure that this was a horrible experience, and I know I wouldn't have held it together, myself. But, I'm glad that no one was seriously hurt and that the other party was so kind. I hope you're able to forgive yourself as readily as he has forgiven you! -ME