When a traffic collision pauses a well timed waltz

The crash into my driver side door was no match for the fear generated by having to rush to find pickup options for my autistic twins.

3 min read Filed in Personal

I pick up the twins from school in the afternoon. It’s been this way for a couple years, always a waltz of precise timing; when to schedule the last meeting before pickup, the perfect time to leave the office to miss traffic through town and get to school earlier enough to make the two block walk to the classroom as the bell rings.

When this waltz is not perfect, the effect can be swift; their autism does not favor unplanned changes well, especially when it comes to school.

So imagine my surprise while I was driving down the throughway only to find my perfectly timed waltz swept away in the most jarring of fashions.

The front driver door of my Prius after the being hit.

Yeah, so much for that precise timing. The clock read 1:52. I was now vastly out of step.

I never saw the car; its left turn into oncoming traffic was at best more like an angled injection into my driver side door. I walked away unscathed by all accounts, though I say that wondering when the adrenaline runs dry if the pain will seep into view.

My panic however wasn’t for myself, my car, or the other driver. I immediately tried to find the rhythm again to recover my dance steps and timing.

“Who’s the closest person to the twins that can pick them up without major issue?” I thought this out loud as I rummaged through the my dash seeking my insurance card. The list is very short; there are few people who can do this job, fewer still nearby that aren’t at work.

I make a frantic though calm call to my Mom, who works a couple minutes away from the school. She no doubt saw through my thinly veiled calm; she is my mother after all. She heads out of work to grab the kids and take them to our house, putting the waltz back into step with the music. The kids are overjoyed any time to see their grandmother. She is nonetheless bombarded by their questions.

“Where is Dad? Dad was supposed to pick us up. Where is Mom? Mom picks us up if Dad doesn’t.”

“Are they okay?”

My Mom tells them nothing of the traffic collision, showering them with love. They return to their routine, reading their books as they walk out of school, finishing their their math homework in the car, telling their grandmother about their day.

My car has seen better days, but the kids are okay. That’s all that matters. I thank my Mom as she heads back to work. I visit with the kids as I wait for the insurance company on hold. Monica arrives home overjoyed that I am in one piece. She turns on the oven to start dinner.

The oven failure code as we try to start dinner.

An error code; control board failure. When it rains, it pours. But at least I don’t have to dance around a broken oven. Well, at least not as rapidly.