“Mom, it’s bad.”
“What?” My mind scanned the possibilities. She wasn’t dead, or hurt so badly that she couldn’t call on her own behalf. Did she kill someone? “Did you get in an accident?”
“Are you okay.”
“Yes, the airbag went off and injured my hand, but that’s all.
I gulped and braced myself for the answer: “Is ANYONE hurt?”
“No. The woman is fine. It doesn’t look like there is much damage to her car, but the front end of mine is completely smashed.”
“Were you texting?”
I was heating up left over hamburger patties when she called – organic, grass fed hamburger patties, to be exact, because, as you know, I am kinda’ BOO-zhee.
I grabbed my purse.
“You can have both burgers,” I said to the hub as I headed toward the door. “I’ll pick something up for myself on the way home. I’m starving though. I hope this doesn’t take too long.”
She and her smashed in car were about 45 minutes away, I knew I wouldn’t be eating any time soon.
And then I did something that I have NEVER DONE in my entire life. I put down my purse, and said, “I’m going to eat my burger before I go. She can wait.” I assembled my burger – mustard, ketchup, pickles – and
ate it wolfed it down.
On the way to the accident site she called and said she had ridden along in the wrecker to the tow yard. I should pick her up there. The ONLY reason I answered her call en route is because I have hands free calling and answering built into my car. Otherwise, I would have waited until I stopped at a red light and called her back.
She skipped class last night to get together with a group of friends who are in town from Cleveland and Chicago. She is allowed one absence per semester, and she spent this one on a get together of tumblr friends. On the way to the gathering the hostess sent a group text, and because she COULDN’T EVEN WAIT until she stopped at a red light to read it, her sweet, easy life just got a whole lot harder.
I couldn’t help pointing that out to her on the way home.
She’ll have to kiss goodbye the job she lined up for the summer at the Boys and Girls Club – which she loves, working for her old boss – whom she loves, because it is 25 miles away and she no longer has a car. Instead she’ll have to get the kind of job she hates because those are the only jobs within walking distance of home.
Kiss summer fun goodbye because she has no car and every bit of money she earns will have to go towards saving for a new one. And towards car insurance because she will no longer be on ours.
I would not have been quite so disgusted, quite so quick to boot her from our insurance if this had never happened before. But it did. Just one year ago. Her car was still drivable that time. But the $500 deductible to get it fixed pretty much wiped out her savings.
“You could have killed someone and ruined your life,” I said that time.
“You could have gotten yourself killed and ruined my life,” I said.
Before the first accident, she swore she didn’t text and drive. She lied. And that was the hardest bit, because the one thing I had always admired about her was her honesty.
She said she learned her lesson back then. And maybe she did. But it didn’t stick.
“Why can’t you grasp the concept that if you are moving forward, you have to be looking forward?” I asked.
“I do understand the concept,” she said, “and if I ever have a car again I am going to lock my phone in the trunk while I’m driving.”
That kind of struck me as being like an alcoholic saying, “I’m going to lock my booze in the trunk while I am driving.” He won’t.
The sheriff didn’t ask her if she was texting. He should have. Texting while you are driving should be as legally egregious as drinking and driving.
This morning, as I drove her to work, I asked what she might have missed in class last night. She said, “Probably not a whole lot. Ever since the professor started to date someone, we take a 20 minute break and then he says, ‘Have we had a break yet?’ and then we take another one.” I’m assuming so he can resume his text, e-mail or facebook conversation. Lord have mercy on this text addicted society.
DO YOUR JOB AND THEN TALK TO YOUR GIRLFRIEND. When you get home. Like a grownup. Like a professional.
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD. Text when you get home, or to your destination, or AT A RED LIGHT.
I ran some errands after I dropped her off at work. A woman was walking through the Costco parking lot with her head down, looking into her phone. WATCH WHERE YOU’RE WALKING! She could have easily been hit or backed into by a driver who, head down, was sending a quick text.
Lord have mercy, my head is going to explode.