So I lost my Jetta this week. No, I didn’t misplace her in a night of drunken debauchery — although that probably would have been preferable. No, she was a victim of vehicular homicide. It was icy on Monday morning. Black ice. I wasn’t even out of my subdivision, on my way to work, when a woman in a Honda, coming home from work, lost control of her car and slammed into me. It was the longest 4 seconds in my life, watching her coming straight at me and me completely unable to do a thing about it. I swerved to the right, and as she rammed me, shoved my car up onto the curb and into a fire hydrant. Her car smashed the left side of my car in the front and the fire hydrant did the same to the right. Broke the axle and everything. Given the fact that my car was 11 years old and had over 170k miles on it, the insurance company, despite my pleas, determined it was not worth fixing. Yeah, right. They don’t have to make my car payments. As soon as I apply for a copy of my title (it’s been 7 years, I have no idea where said document is), they’ll give me $2500 for my poor baby. Granted, for my car, that’s generous. But it doesn’t go very far towards a new one.
It took me a good four hours just to stop shaking from the adrenline surge and the shock. Banged my head on the side window, somehow scraped and bruised my knee, wrenched my shoulder from the seatbelt and twisted my ankle. And I was only going 5 miles an hour!! My glasses flew off my face, broke against the dash. It took me ten minutes to figure out why I couldn’t see anything.
So… I’m a writer. Surely there’s grist for the mill here. As I think about my current protag, as she’s running from the baddies, taking fire, getting blown up, I’d like to think her reflexes, her courage, her ability to function on an overload of adrenaline would be far superior to mine. Because I now know for a fact, that faced with oncoming destruction, my brain fogs up, my senses dull, and I become and addle-pated, babbling idiot. I’m sure the EMT guys who checked me out once they’d pried me out of my vehicle would concur whole-heartedly with that assessment.
Still, some of that shaky, hyper-speed, revved up behavior should be evident in even the most phlegmatic and battle-hardened action heroes. So let this post be my reminder that when I go back to revise, I need to pepper in some of that, to give the thing verisimilitude. Gods know this experience has to be good for something, right?
Of course the bad news (other than the premature demise of my sainted Jetta, no matter that the air conditioning didn’t work, the cup holder was broken and the glove box wouldn’t stay closed) is that since Monday, my whole life has revolved around trying to figure out how I was going to pay for a new vehicle and then finding said new (cheap and crappy) vehicle. What a freaking nightmare. All of which has completely derailed my writing.
However, much like my heroine, Maggie, I may falter, but I always get back up. Kind of like a Weeble. So okay. I lost three days. It’s now Thursday and it’s time to get back in the saddle. I have a new car, which I am NOT in love with (but don’t tell her that, she can’t help being inferior to my beloved Jetta), and have almost figured out how I’m going to make the car payments. It’s going to be a complicated process, involving taking what little savings I had in investments, cashing all that out, putting it all against the car loan, then having to refinance my loan for the new smaller amount to make the payments smaller. Did I say what a freaking nightmare this all is?
And tonight, after I finish doing homework with the small fry, I’m going to sit down and start committing words to paper again. Or pixels to monitor. Or whatever. I have a new added incentive. I need to sell this book (or many many copies of it, to be precise) in order to afford my astronomical car payment for my cheap, crappy car that will be a rust bucket before I even have it paid off.
Nothing like desperation to light a fire under one’s keister. Do you suppose this is what the Muse had in mind when she took over that Honda woman’s body and smashed my car into smithereens?
Knowing my Muse… you’d be a fool to bet against it.