Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Why Can't Bad Things Spread Themselves Out?

I must be at the bottom of my biorhythm. When I was a kid, I spent my summers on the Santa Monica Pier, and remember that somewhere near that famous merry-go-round that has been in so many movies, there was a biorhythm machine. You'd put a quarter in the machine, place your hand onto a hand-shaped pan, and get a printout of an X placed somewhere on a serpentine graph. If you were at the top of your biorhythm, good things came your way. If you were at the bottom, bad things came your way.

I've been having dreams that always end in me seeing a human skull. For instance, in one dream a woman was folding towels. She pulled one towel out of a dryer, shook it out, and I saw that it had a line of skulls all the way down the length of it. When I have persistent dreams, I pay attention. They almost always mean something. Of course, a skull is a symbol of death, so these dreams put me on edge.

My husband has been going through a series of tests to determine the condition of his heart and arteries, because he's been having chest pains. My mother has been sick with flu-like symptoms and people who have tried to call her haven't been able to get through to her. My brother said he had some form of bone cancer only to change his tune and say he just needs to take more calcium. Could that be a play for sympathy followed by the truth, or the truth followed by a downplay so that we wouldn't worry? My son is learning to drive, which makes me very nervous. My neighbor friend has been missing for weeks and her son has been taking care of her horses and driving her car. These dreams combined with the circumstances in my life make me wonder... has somebody died or is somebody going to die soon?

After finishing work last night, I received a phone call from my in-laws. They informed me that my husband's aunt has cancer in every organ of her body. That was depressing news, and possibly solved the mystery of my prophetic dreams. Just a couple of hours later, my daughter and son came home from the gym and announced that they had been involved in a car accident. They were stopped at a stop sign, and some man in a white pickup truck rear-ended them so hard that his hood was bent into the shape of an upside down V. He threw a business card of an insurance agent at my kids and drove off. Fortunately, a witness stopped and told my kids to write down his license plate number as he was driving away.

All they got was the license plate number, a description of the truck, and a vague description of the driver. It was dark. We don't have a name, address, phone number, or policy number of the other driver. The name on the business card was that of a woman, followed by the name of some independent insurance company we've never heard of. My kids were too shook up by the experience to think clearly. They just accepted the card, trusting that an adult was being honest with them, and they came home.

My son said he thought the man was drunk, because he was talking loudly and staggering a little. Our rear bumper was cracked, warped and scratched up, and my son's neck hurt for a little while. My daughter said she was fine, but she seemed pale and in shock. She said the man scared her and she didn't want to get near him. I told her she never has to get out of the car in the case of an accident. She can lock her doors, roll up the windows, and call the police.

This is my failing as a parent: I've spent a lot of time talking to my kids about how to avoid accidents, but have spent very little time talking with them about what to do if they are involved in an accident. I've told them to fill out the insurance form we keep in the glove compartment of each car, but when you get hit that hard, your brains are scrambled and you can't remember such details. Just this past week I was teaching my kids to leave enough space between them and the car in front of them when stopping at a light, so that if the person behind them is coming up fast and looks like they will hit them, they'll have room to pull off onto the shoulder before they get rear-ended. In this case, the accident happened so fast that they weren't even aware that someone was behind them.

The man had said that he lived right around the corner from where they had the accident. I wanted to call the police, but my husband doubted they would track the guy down by his license plate number, go to his house and give him a breathalyzer test. My husband called the insurance company to file a report instead. Since the man said he lived nearby, I wanted to look for his truck to get his address. I doubted that the insurance card he gave my kids was legitimate. My daughter and I drove around at night only to discover that there is a white pickup truck parked in almost every driveway of every residence in our neighborhood. We decided to let our insurance agent hunt him down based on the license plate number and description.

I am thankful for the witness who stopped and advised my kids to get the license plate number. Technically, this is a borderline hit and run. The man did not properly provide the information that should be exchanged in an accident, and my kids were in too much shock to think things through.

The irony is that every time my kids drive somewhere, I worry. I always hear sirens after they drive off for some destination, and I fret that they may have been involved in a car accident. I have even gone so far as to follow emergency vehicles to the scene of an accident just to make sure that it wasn't my kids. However, they always come home unscathed. Just this past week I came to the conclusion that I need to relax and just trust that everything will be okay. The kids have been driving a while and have never had any accidents. Their car has a dent in it from when someone hit it in the high school parking lot and left without leaving a note. We couldn't afford to fix the dent, so we've been living with it. However, after being rear-ended, the car looks much worse and will probably need to have the entire bumper replaced.

I know the reality is that most teenagers have to have a car accident at some point in time. I did. My brother did. All of my friends did. However, I never thought the accident my kids would experience would involve getting rear-ended by a drunk. Usually, it's more like the kids, in their inexperience, misjudge the distance to something and get a little scratch or dent or fender bender.

There are so many things I hate about where we live right now, and living in a neighborhood full of drunks and drug addicts is one of them. Every once in a while the sheriff makes an arrest of some drug dealers that specifically came to our town to sell drugs. It astounds me that big time career criminals actually pick out my neighborhood on a map and move here with the intention to intoxicate our children.

Just the other day when I was outside watering the pasture, I was irritated by the number of people speeding recklessly past my house, easily going 55 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. Each time I heard the disturbing roar of an engine bearing down on me, I looked up to see that it was a man driving a pickup truck. That was probably just one more omen of things to come. I considered contacting the sheriff's department and requesting that they set up a speed trap in front of my house, but worried that somehow my whistle-blowing would come back to bite me. I didn't want to put too much energy into negative things out of fear that I would attract them. Isn't it ironic that by trying to relax and ignore the negatives, they invaded my life anyway?

Of course, the positive is that my kids are okay. I know plenty of parents who have lost their teens in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and ATV accidents. If I had it my way, my kids wouldn't drive at all. They'd be chauffeured everywhere... but look where that got Princess Diana. Even the public transportation options aren't safe. The school buses in our district have been in many accidents. One school bus driver who lived down the street from us went for a quick, leisurely flight in a little plane with friends a few months ago, and the plane crashed killing everyone on board. The bus driver was the mother of my son's friend, and his friend had to move out of state to live with his grandparents. It seems that nothing is guaranteed as being safe, and this community has had more than its fair share of tragedies in recent years. Every bone in my body is telling me to get out of Dodge.


S. Lauren said...

My parents are the same way with me, if I even go 2 miles over the speed limit they tell me to slow down and I constantly have to call them if I drive to a different location. Now that I'm 20 and in college they aren't worried so much but I know it's cause they love me. I hope everything works out for you and your family. Some people are just completely stupid, and I hate it when adults try to take advantage of me because I look like a young 16 yr. old. I'm glad your kids are safe at least and hopefully the guy that hit them will get caught.

fernvalley01 said...

Scary times! glad the kids are OK.

allhorsestuff said...

Well hay there, thought to catch up and ...WOW...the bones and "skulls" are talking to you- awake and asleep!

I firstly have to just praise that your kids were alright and I am glad too for the wittness and license taking..it may be tracked down through the DMV. Don't ever be afraid to "Squeek-Up" about injsutice..someone will hear and help. Always file the polic3 report..here it is manditory for accidents over a certain $ amaount of damamge..it does help the insurance Co. too.

What to say avbout the rest though..seems as though your spirit is at unrest living there..from the arena and nieghbors to truck traffic and speeders and just overall dislike.

Truly..WHAT ARE the chances of you looking into a relocation?
Not to say it would be perfectly civil or with out speeders or noise polution too..but sometimes a change lends itself to more changes. Things you maybe would not have considered or have talked yourself out of..become possible and therefore, empowering.

That is just my take on a repetative cycle that I hear. I am all about breaking negative cycles, when aware of them. They tend to OWN-ME- untill I dismantle them!

Be well there friend and know that you are in prayers for all ere mentioned!

ms martyr said...

I don't know how it works where you live but many insurance companies won't treat a claim as legitimate unless a police report is filed. I definitely would have called the police and reported a possible DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

Glad everyone's okay.

Katharine Swan said...

I would have called the police. I think you still could. A breathalyzer isn't the only reason. Let the cops decide if it was a hit and run. Besides, you might need a police report in case his insurance agent fights the claim.

Did your kids by chance get the name and contact information for the witness who stopped to help them?

Sydney said...

That is horrible!
If the man has had a DUI before I know they would be able to track him down again. Glad your kids are ok.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Get out of Dodge, indeed! NM, take your feelings and gut instincts seriously. They were placed there for a reason, my friend.

And I'm just so relieved that your kids are safe and relatively unharmed.


Cheryl Ann said...

I, too, am relieved that your kids are safe! When our daughter was in high school, a friend's wife nearly hit her car and drove off! She had run a stop sign! She didn't even slow down! I would be scared, too! All we can do, as parents, is educate them and then hope they make the right decisions.