Yep, I got ’em both. Someone told me one time that addictions were simply compulsions that harmed my body. I don’t believe that is true, but I can understand why one could think that.
Five years ago, I was hit from behind and while sitting at a traffic light at about 9 pm on a Tuesday evening. I was on the way home from church. It was raining, but there wasn’t much traffic out and I was just waiting for the green light so I could get on home. Suddenly, there was a sudden loud sound like an explosion and I was shot into the intersection forty feet or so. The seat broke loose from the frame my Ford Focus, but the belt sill held me in place. All so sudden that I didn’t know what to think.
Then it was quiet, almost silent. I could hear the raindrops splattering on the windshield and the intermittent wipers swooshing them off. I put the trans in PARK, turned off the motor, unbuckled my seat belt, and got out. Still no idea what happened.
Outside, I looked back where I had been waiting for the light to change. The was a white car at the light where, moments before, I had been waiting for the light to change. I could see what looked like steam rising from the car. Suddenly I understood that that car had hit me from behind and knocked me into the intersection. I could see that I had been rammed in the rear by this wrecked car. I turned and looked at the rear of my car, but I couldn’t see any damage. It was crazy. The car that had booted me into the intersection looked totaled. Mine seemed to be barely scratched.
I thought, then, about the driver of the other car and hurried to see if I could help them. It was a woman and she was still seated behind the steering wheel. “Are you alright?”, I asked.
“I’m OK,” she said, not looking at me. I looked into the car and I could see that it was filled with paper–fast food wrappers, receipts, soft drink cups, empty cigarette packs and the like, but lots of it, six inches deep it seemed. She proceeded then to poke through the trash. “I’m looking for my purse,” she said. “I had it right here.”
“Are you sure you are not hurt?”
“No, I’m not hurt. What happened?”
I looked up at my car still in the intersection. There wasn’t much damage to be seen, I thought. I said to her, “You rammed me in the rear and shoved me into the intersection”
“I what?” She looked up at my car and then turned and looked at me. “What did you say?”
I said it again and she shook her head. “Well, I never.” Then she opened the door and got out. I realized that she had been drinking when she fell back against the car door after she closed it. “I’m alright,” she said.
I remembered my cell phone then and ran back to my car. It still didn’t look as if there was any damage. I felt where I usually kept my phone, but it wasn’t there. I felt around of the floorboard, but couldn’t find it in the darkness. I turned on the flashers and wondered if I could still drive the car. I went back to the other car. The driver was on the sidewalk now. She must have found her cigarettes because she was taking a deep drag on one when I walked up. I could see that she was unsteady on her feet. She had her cell phone, too. I overheard her telling someone to come and pick her up.
There was a man now standing by the car and he turned when I walked up and said, “I called the police. I didn’t know if anyone was hurt so there’s an ambulance coming, too.” I thanked him.
I asked him if he saw her hit me. “No, I didn’t. I was working late in my office and heard the crash.” He pointed to a building on the corner, I knew there was an insurance business there. Then he walked closer to me and said, “She’s been drinking. I heard her tell someone on the phone that she was at the bar in the Mexican restaurant up the street.”
I asked him if he’d let the police know when they got there and he said her would. The sirens could be heard a few blocks away now and were getting louder. I walked back to my car to see if I could find my phone again.
Still, no luck. The seat I was sitting on wouldn’t slide anymore, but I could rock it side to side. I felt underneath it and there was my phone. I got it and walked back to the car that had hit me. A couple more people were standing there now and the police drove up just I reached the car. They were followed by the ambulance which was followed by another patrol car. The paramedics were already out of the ambulance by the time the cops opened their doors.
“Oh, shit,” the woman said when she saw the police. “Who called them.”
“Are you injured,” one of the paramedics from the ambulance asked her. “No, I’m not injured and neither is he,” she said, motioning towards me.
“Do you want to go to the hospital for an examination. You might be injured and not know it,” he said.
“Hell, no, I don’t want to go to no hospital,” she said.
Just then, one of the police officers came over. He was tall and lanky and looked to be in his twenties. “Are you the driver of this car, mam?”
“Yes, I’m the driver,” she said.
“Have you been injured?,” he asked.
“I already told the paramedic that I’m OK. God, what do I have to do around here. I’m not hurt and I don’t want to go to the hospital.”
The officer was patient and told her he was only looking after her care. The paramedic asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said I’d drive myself when I was through here. I looked back at me car and wondered if I could still drive it that far.
Suddenly, I saw that the police officer was in the process of handcuffing the woman who had rammed me from behind. She had tried to leave when she saw her friends drive up. Later, after talking with her friends I learned that they had been driving around looking for her. They were afraid she was drinking somewhere and she might get into an accident because her boyfriend had just broken up with her.
Well, I could continue, but the essence is that I had just been hit from behind by a drunken driver. I was not hurt much, I thought at the time, but within two years I would have to have two lower back operations totaling 10.5 hours of surgery and still be left with much ongoing pain.
The irony of it all is that barely two weeks before the accident I had vowed to never drink alcohol again. I had spent over fifty years of my life as an alcoholic, most of it my most productive years, and had finally realized it.