The scariest thing ever happened to me on Saturday: I gave my parents a perfectly valid reason to say “I told you so.”
I also slid off the Interstate at 75 miles per hour, but hey, perspective, people.
I’m fine, and while my car’s bumper is hanging down on one side, my car is also mostly fine.
Actually, the outcome of the accident was about as good as it was possible to be. I didn’t hit anyone or anything but snow. My car didn’t flip over. I didn’t even have time to be scared or worried, and afterward, I sat in the driver’s seat of my car on the median of I-29 about 20 miles south of Fargo, and thought: Well, huh. That happened.
A deputy arrived about 10 minutes after I called. A tow truck arrived about 25 minutes later and tugged me gently out of the median. Its kind-hearted driver told me my bumper was down on one side, and advised me to ask someone at a local truck stop to help me use a bungee cord to secure it temporarily, so that I could get back Jamestown okay.
I drove slowly to the truck stop and stood in line with some bungee cords; then I asked the cashier if she knew anyone who could lend a hand. The man in line behind me said he’d look at it and that I should wait before buying the cords so I could be sure I was getting the right ones.
He looked; I swapped the cords for a different set, and then he rigged the bumper up.
I went to my board game gathering in Fargo–two hours late–and asked my friends if one of them could put me up, because while I was in relatively good spirits, my taste for driving was definitely gone for the night. Two people offered me guest rooms, so I chose the one with the cat. (It is a particularly beautiful cat.)
On Sunday, my kind host fed me bacon and hot tea and sent me on my way.
The drive from West Fargo to Jamestown was awful. Along the way I saw multiple accidents. One woman sheltered a small golden-colored dog as she walked along the interstate to a waiting car, away from some sort of a wreck. At least one semi truck lay in the ditch, its weight clearly unable to protect it entirely.
Another accident occurred right in front of me, as an SUV from the opposite lane from me slid into the median. Only that unfortunate driver wasn’t lucky like me and his or her vehicle ended up on its side. As I passed, I saw one frail-looking arm push the heavy door up.
I called 911 and reported it, worrying that reporting the accident would cause me to get into another accident, but it didn’t.
It took about twice as long as usual to get from Fargo to Jamestown, but I stopped several times just to give myself a break.
It wasn’t until I was safely home that I realized the true horror of my own position. Before I left Jackson, Minnesota, to return to Jamestown, my parents had told me that the weather was bad and the roads terrible. I told them I’d simply drive more carefully.
Well, it turned out they were right, and now they have earned the absolute and total right to say “I told you so” for at least the next decade or so.
And I’m doomed.