I missed the last letter, and I promised myself I wouldn’t miss this one, even if I had to be a couple days late.
Two Fridays ago, on the night I got back from Pennsylvania, I hit a patch of black ice on the freeway and wrecked my car. I’m uninjured, thankfully. And there weren’t any other cars involved. It was just me, in my Prius, sliding left-headlight first into the concrete wall. When I finally saw my car again in broad daylight, it reminded me of Rocky II.
Julia happened to be a couple minutes behind me that night. I’d just gotten the car’s brakes and exhaust system repaired at the shop, and had parked it nearby at my parents’ house before my trip. Julia and I had driven up together to fetch it. I texted her right after the accident, she pulled over in the shoulder behind me, and we waited together in her car for the tow truck.
I’ve thought a lot, as one does, about the conditions that made the crash possible: the light flurries and freezing cold that night, the bend in that section of Southbound I-75, my wanting to finally get home and sleep in my own bed after a week of travel, and all the stress surrounding the new book and the house. It reminds me of natural disasters, or big political and historical events; wind and ocean currents spit out storms all the time, but every once in a while, you get a hurricane or World War II.
I don’t want this letter to be too gloomy. J. and I had actually been talking recently about going down to one car. I work from home; she’ll be starting night shift at her nursing job in the next months; and car insurance rates here in Detroit are the highest in the country. This accident forced our hand, but it also nudged us in the direction we were already going. Things could have been much worse.
I think I’ve only just recovered from all the mental stress around the accident – dealing with insurance claims, rental cars, etc. But I feel lucky. And grateful. And I already know both my resolution for the new year and my blessing to you: Do less. Take things a little easier.
Following in that spirit, this is my final letter of 2018. I’ll pick up again sometime in January or February. Maybe once we’ve moved into the new house.