I was in a car accident last night, on the way home after night one of the #queerfail festival. I don’t know what to say about that connection, if a connection even exists at all. I am ok, physically, I think. Sophie, who was in the back seat, is ok, too. And this morning, my sweet little electric blue Prius has a smashed up passenger-side front bumper. The car did her job, just crunching up around the impact when the other car hit us. I don’t even want to go look at her in the daylight, my poor little car. Seven years old, and now her face is all smashed up on one side. She looks a little like Sophie with that snaggle-toothed look she gets. Now I get the pleasure of dealing with insurance to try to pay for the damage to get fixed.
Have you been in a car accident before? This was the first time for me. I was freaked out at the scene, shaking, could barely speak, didn’t know what to say, kept diving into the glove box and center console for little pieces of paper on which to write down bits of information. Other cars drove around us, just trying to get wherever they were going on a Tuesday night.
I had just cleaned my car, vacuuming out all the dust, beach sand, dog park dirt. I was going to be transporting my sweetheart’s boy, and didn’t want him to have to get into that car again and have it be so filthy.
Yesterday felt weird and off all the way around. Sophie got a cut on her ear while we were playing ball in the back yard, and she and I spent the next hour or so together trying to get her calmed down enough to let the wound close up — every time she shook her head,she’d open it again, and the blood would drip down over her face, onto her front ruff, splatter her toes and the concrete. Dogs ears are highly vasculated, they say, full of blood vessels, which means that wounds like this bleed a lot. A lot. I had some other plans for yesterday morning, but those got derailed by the need to sit with my pup on a concrete driveway, holding a paper towel to the side of her ear, holding her ear up, waiting for the bleeding to stop. We went through two sets of bandages, but the third held, finally.
Then a group I’m in came apart, one of us deciding that it was time to leave.
I spent the day worried about Sophie, afraid, when I was away from her, that maybe the wound had reopened, maybe it would get infected, maybe she would bleed all over the house.
I went back and forth about attending the first night of the Queer Fail festival — it was my first Radar event ever, despite being in the Bay area for over ten years, and I wanted to catch something of theirs before Michelle Tea left. Plus, my friend Manish was reading, and his work & performance consistently inspire the hell out of me. So, even though I felt weird under my skin about leaving my dog, and about something else I couldn’t find any words for at all, I headed up to 6th and Market for the event. The show started 45 minutes late, and I left at 9. I was grateful to have been able to hear Manish, Baruch, Cooper Lee. There were other bits I wasn’t so grateful to have heard, but that’s part of going to a reading. I walked through the bit of Market St. not quite yet utterly transformed by gentrification, bought a Street Sheet from a man outside Powell St. Station and read it on the way back under the bay.
And then, on the way home, a car hit me in an intersection.
Yesterday morning I registered for classes for the first semester of my MFA program. It should have been a good day.
If I had stayed for the whole show, I wouldn’t have been hit. If I hadn’t gone at all, I wouldn’t have been hit. If I’d taken Sophie out for a walk around the neighborhood instead of immediately us into the car, we wouldn’t have been in that accident. I spent a lot of last night thinking that way. What could I have done differently? But why do we think that way? What difference does it make now?
I have things to do today, a life that is shaped around having a car, and I am afraid to drive my car until I know if anything got broken inside. My body is shaken up and I am heartsick for things I can’t name. What was that weirdness under my skin? Why didn’t I listen to it and stay home? How do I take a deep breath and trust, as my sweetheart says, that it’s just a car, that everything’s going to be ok?
So I’m taking deep breaths today, feeling the places in me that froze when that other car hit mine, feeling the animal parts that aren’t relaxed yet, that need to shake it off, the way Sophie does, trusting that things won’t come apart if I do.
Be easy with yourselves today. Drive safe. And keep writing, ok?