I was covered in glass. Big chunks, little shards, stardust. All over.
It took a fraction of a minute after the impact to get the car moved the rest of the way across Magazine St. I began to ride out the full-body case of shakes after we stopped completely and while I was doing that, I realized I was covered in glass and just froze. The guy that hit us was already running over to check us out, his main concern being Yours Truly, the passenger, who was on the side of the car that got hit. Watching his hands shaking too, I didn’t feel so bad, and all three of us verified we were okay and I conversed from the neck up because I refused to move because I was covered in glass.
Passenger door couldn’t open. While J and our new acquaintance took care of the insurance business involved in incidents of this nature, I stopped shaking and sniveling and began plucking shards, large chunks and small, out of my lap, shook out my left shoe, pulled down the visor mirror to see that I had a small, yet dramatic, trickle of blood coming out of my face near my right eyelid, and began to try to pack up items that we would need to take with us. Then J reminded me that the car was driving just fine and that we would probably be able to get it home, and I stopped packing. But it’s funny, the things you impulsively do during a situation like that. I pulled the bobblehead pirate skull off the dashboard and put it in my purse. Subconsciously I remembered that it was the first piece of personalized Stuff that I ever put in that car, and I didn’t care to leave it behind.
When every surface around you is covered in the detritus of a shattered passenger-side window, the distance between your seat and the egress out the driver’s door looks like a million-mile minefield. Once I felt certain that I was relatively uncovered, from the pieces I could see, anyway, I made the crawl and joined the outside world.
It’s handy, when the person you wreck with has the same insurance provider. We covered all we needed to just by passing one phone around.
The cops never showed up, bless the NOPD. I’m not sure how long we stood out there, taking care of things, checking on each other, eyeballing the damage, but it was long enough that the sun moved and I got cold in my tanktop. We eventually called them off because we were done. And cold. I couldn’t put my sweater back on, because it was full of glass. I couldn’t drape J’s jacket over my shoulders because when I tried, my own sheen of debris poked me all over. The other guy said, when I first came out into the light, that I sparkled in the sun.
He was a nice guy. Only in New Orleans, when you crash just outside a bar, would the person who hit you, even though the wreck was YOUR fault, offer to go in and bring everyone out a round of beers.
It was itchy, too. And I wouldn’t scratch, and I made sure by feel that my face was clear of anything that could wander into my eyes, and even though my nose was snotty because I got wimpy and cried for a minute, I wouldn’t sniffle because I didn’t want to inhale anything. I just kind of…stood there, on the side of the road, and picked glass off of and out of my surface.
J felt bad. And he couldn’t even hug me because I was covered in glass.
I hate glass.
We wrapped up, shook hands, expressed all the way around that we hoped to meet again under different circumstances. I rode home in the backseat, looking like some battered woman, which made us laugh, got home. I cleaned off, checked myself out, got the near-my-eye injury tidied up and realized it wasn’t so bad, made some phonecalls, and then it all kicked in:
Why did it have to be such a pretty day? We ran our Bead Drop errand in the Marigny, and had plans to just come back home and get stuff done around the house. But it was such a pretty day. First I wanted to swing by the cemetery and check on Mama Laveau’s pink tomb. But we missed the closing time by about half an hour. Then we decided to go out to Parkway for a po-boy. But there was a football game on and the line was out the door so we nixed that too.
It’s funny how hindsight shows you the signs.
We wound up going for a drive, checking out a used bookstore up on Tchoupitoulas that is going out of business. THEN we headed home, and we were sitting on a side street at an incredibly blind corner at Magazine while I jabbered on about the stuff I was still planning on getting done around the house when J thought all was clear and started to go and then HOOOOONK SCREEECH BAM! And there you go.
I’m fine. Surface nicks, couple of scratches. They’re already disappearing. Sore muscles that are already recovering, definitely not whiplash-neckbrace material. But if my head had been turned just…oh, about an inch more to the right, the glass that glanced off my face would have been in my eye instead. I got lucky. I can’t quit thinking about that.
Anyway, we’re okay. J is without injury as well. The insurance company totaled the car I’ve had for nearly 10 years. We were about due for a new one anyway, although we’d rather it had been on our own terms. We’ll start shopping tomorrow. Meanwhile, we’re alive and unbroken and I’m not blind in one eye, so I’ll call that a victory.
Credit #1: Title is from CreepingCootie. It was the subject line of an email she sent to us later Sunday evening after I called her and told her what happened. It has a good ring to it.
Credit #2: Photos by J, because I couldn’t get out of the car yet.
Featured Image: Obvious.