Calamity Jennye

Thursday, September 22, 2011

An early Thanksgiving

I had this great realization on the way to work today:

This week I was supposed to appear in court for an inattentive driving charge from my car accident earlier this summer. I pled not guilty to the citation because I simply did not feel that I was driving inattentively. What happened was a terrible accident, someone nearly died (which is why the officer felt the need to cite someone). But he didn't die. Everyone was okay. And there were four separate things all contributing to the cause of the accident. I just happened to be the last thing.

That's what got me thinking. Any of these decisions/happenings could have been the thing that actually led to the accident:

The dump truck driving a bit faster than he should have.
Causing the pickup in front of him to feel he needed to immediately pull into a driveway he clearly could not proceed down and thus blocking my view.
Same dump truck causing the motorcycle coming in the other lane (which I now could not see because of said truck) to hug the white line in order to be as far from the truck as possible.
All of this causing me to begin edging out not knowing any other way to break the gridlock the truck and I had going in the driveway.

Ending in me not seeing the motorcycle soon enough (since he was really hugging the white line) and him not being able to swerve, since the dump truck was now practically even with us in the other lane.

So yes, without me beginning to edge out, the accident would not have happened. But what came clear to me suddenly, is that this is how decisions in life work. If you don't take a second to really think through the impact of your decisions, before you know it you've arrived at the decision that actually brings it all tumbling down. And if you haven't stopped to think about the little decisions before that one. Or worse yet, if you've actively kept yourself from thinking about the little decisions, you will not think before acting on that last decision either.

And that will be the decision that you will live to regret.

I was extremely blessed to have collided with a generous, honest, forgiving man. One who wrote a letter to the court saying that from his perspective I, indeed may have ultimately caused the accident, but my driving was not inattentive. Thanks to his thoughtful, careful decision to speak up on my behalf my citation was dismissed.

And I've walked away certain that I want to be that careful and thoughtful in my future decisions. I want to take an extra moment more often than not. Not just to look both ways an extra time at intersections. But to, metaphorically speaking get out of my car and walk a circle around it when my view is blocked. In hopes that in those extra seconds, which really don't cost me anything, I will gain invaluable perspective.

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