Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Shots and wrecks and compassion

Experiences that allow for empathy are good things.

In theory.

Last year about this time, I needed a steroid shot. I hadn’t had a shot in forever, which meant I’d forgotten how much it can hurt. It’s been a year since the blazing pain passed, but I am still keenly aware that I need to offer compassion to anyone enduring a similar delivery of meds. 

Last week about this time, I wrecked my car. I was pulling out of a parallel parking spot and didn’t see the Chevy Malibu turning the corner at the same time. Thankfully no one was hurt, but our cars certainly didn’t come out unscathed. The front of his passenger side ended up in the front of my driver’s side, blowing out my tire and doing a major job on both our cars.

I like to think of myself as a pretty good driver – fast, yes, but I’ve never hit a moving vehicle before. (We will not talk about the stationary things I’ve hit. That’s not indicative of my driving ability, just my poor spatial reasoning. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) Even now I have no idea where that car came from. I’ve replayed the incident over and over and I cannot figure out what happened. I looked, checked my mirrors and looked again, but I totally missed him. Honest-to-goodness, I did not see him coming.

As I surveyed the damage and looked at the tangle of tires, I was reminded of the steroid shot. I wasn’t happy to have the shot, but the lesson was good and has lasted. Similarly, I am NOT happy I had an accident. I hate that because of me, someone is now dealing with a rental car, body shop and the insurance company. I know I’ll hate my next insurance bill when it comes with that inevitable bump in rates. But the good news is that if anyone else in our family has an accident – hopefully not, but if so – I will remember that accidents are called accidents for a reason.

And I hope to offer as much compassion as Sean did when he hugged me and said, “These things happen.” 

If only my insurance guy felt the same way.