Apr 17, 2010

Crash Boom Bang

So, yeah. Today I was in a car accident.

I'd heard people say before that time seems to slow down during a road accident. Certainly I didn't expect to have so many coherent linear thoughts in the two or three seconds it took to be collected by The Red Mazda.

I'd taken the Herschel Street exit off the Riverside Expressway around 1:15pm. I'd stopped at the red light, and when it turned green, I drove into the intersection with North Quay.

From my left came The Red Mazda. Time slowed; or more likely, my brain sped up.

"That's not supposed to be there."

"That's going to hit me."

"There's nothing I can do to stop it."

"This.... sucks."

There was a crunch of metal and I found myself shunted from a 12 o'clock to 2 o'clock position. Just wanting to get out of the stream of traffic, I putt-putted my poor battered Corolla off to the side of the road and killed the engine.

Then time went back to normal, or maybe my brain just stopped.

"What do I do? What the hell do I do?"

"Call the Wah!"

"No, wait. Call police! Yes, call the police!"

I grabbed my mobile, keyed in 000 and hit the call button.

"Wait!" yelled my brain. "That's only for emergencies! Think of all those stories you do about people wasting Triple Zero's time with non-emergencies. You're not dead, you're not injured, you can't call the police!"

I rang off.

"Call Dad!"

"Wait. He's on a boat, currently off France. He can't help you now."

"Call the Wah!"

"Yes, that's a good idea."

I called. "Somebody hit me, somebody hit me - can you please get my insurance policy number?"

He did, and then told me he would make his way down there. I rang off again. I was still inside the car, in the driver's seat, not really knowing what to do next.

A nice man wearing sunglasse leant through my open passenger side window. "You OK?" he asked.

"It wasn't my fault!" was all I could think of to answer.

"You're right," he said, somewhat cryptically. Did he mean I was "all right", or did he mean I was right about it not being my fault?

He passed a piece of paper with his name and number on it. His last name was Riddle. He said if there was anything I needed, witness-wise, to call him.

I thanked him. Thanked the Riddler.

I realised I had to get out of the car. I opened my door. It jammed still, leaving only a 20cm gap. I flexed and furled my way out, and turned my attention to the front of my poor, undeserving Corolla.


Some things happened. I called the insurance company and got put on hold. A blue car trying to park under the building we had pulled up next to stopped. The driver turned out to be an off-duty police officer who made sure everyone was OK before disappearing while I was facing the other way, trying to arrange a tow truck. The Wah arrived, dropped off by our awesome Alfa-Romeo-loving neighbour Mike. He snapped some pictures. I had a brief chat with the driver of The Red Mazda. A tow truck arrived. I lodged my claim with the insurance company straightaway, worried I would forget details. The towie organised a detail swap. The Red Mazda was put on a tow truck as a second arrived. The second towie gave me an official form to sign. Coincidentally, even magically, some friends of ours who'd seen us as they drove past pulled up and offered help. I cleared out everything I needed from the Corolla, leaving a carton of Cooper's Pale Ale in the back. The towies assured me their holding centre was secure. My poor car was loaded up onto the tow truck as our friends helped put my stuff in their car. I had a final word with the towie as the driver of The Red Mazda, her own car lifted onto a truck, headed off to find her way home. Our friends dropped the Wah and I home, an absolute blessing.

The Wah walked me up the road to the local private hospital, and a couple of hours, an arseless hospital gown and $300 later I left with some Voltaren tablets and instructions to avoid bedrest. Apparently it's not good for whiplash style injuries. I have a sore neck and shoulder, but all in all, am fine. I'm very, very lucky - a few seconds here or there and I could have been truly t-boned, and quite possibly badly injured. My Mum came over to hear the verdict from the very kind Dr Jeff (said his name badge), and so was OK with me saying that I would head up to the Brisbane Arts Theatre for The Tasmanian Babes Fiasco. After all, that's why I'd been out driving - I'd been collecting the dry ice needed for the show, and was on my way to watch the final performance of The Pied Piper when The Red Mazda appeared.

As for my Corolla, my beloved little "Hummer"... I await the news with trepidation.


  1. Oh my gosh I'm glad you are ok! Car accidents are so scary!!

  2. Geez...I totally reported that...glad you're OK!...Nige

  3. Re the damage you might be OK, if it hasn't hit the front wheels square on. If it has it'll have bent a whole lot of difficult-to-straighten stuff which will be bloody expensive to fix and will either (a) cause the insurance vampires to write the thing off or (b) make it a bit dodgy to drive when they DO get it straightened, so it'd be better to offload the thing and get something new ASAP. Either way I suspect Hummer MkII should probly be in your future as soon as it's financially viable.

    Bloody fab to hear you're OK - and yeah a hit further back along the car's length would have been very nasty!

  4. At the end of it all...
    Cars are a collection of metal (nice as they are)
    As long as you are OK then all is OK
    The Ancient Man

  5. Hi Nat, very glad to hear you are ok. Erin

  6. The important thing is you're OK the car can be replaced, you can't be.

  7. Glad you're okay Nat, take it easy.

  8. Oh WOW.
    Nat, firstly, as I said before, I am SO glad that you're okay.

    Secondly, I drove along that road yesterday and saw your car sitting on the tow truck - I had no idea that was *YOUR* car. crazy.

    As many people have said, cars are cars. There is only one Nat.


  9. Good to hear you are OK, Nat.

    It was disappointing to hear that in your Adrenalin fueled post accident state of shock you left the Coopers in the former object known as the car. Although it may speed up the panel beaters decisions.

    I would have whipped out one of the Coopers and offered it to the other driver... to calm his nerves of course... whilst attracting the attention of the nearest Constable.


    I am so glad you are okay, I suspect the efforts of a shady politician trying to scary you away from the big story or have I been reading too much Ramond Chandler?

    Anyway I hope thats the last bit of bad luck you see for a while.

  11. Car accidents are awful.

    On the plus side... new car?

  12. Hey guys - thanks for your comments - it means a lot. I'm feeling OK, except a little woozy in the head and sore in my right shoulder/neck.

    Will hopefully find out tomorrow what's happening with my car. I certainly can't really afford a spanking brand new one, so we'll see how we go.

  13. Sweet Jesus! Thank god you're okay,..

    ,..and that we share a mutual appreciation for Roxette songs.

  14. Sheesh, Nat, when your TBF fans said "break a leg", we didn't really want you to go out and try to!

    Big hugs, healing thoughts, and may the silver lining on this cloud be bright and bejeweled.


    Yikes, and Ouchies.
    Glad you're OK.

    I know what you mean about cars drifting in from out of nowhere, every time I take the Margaret Street exit into the city there's some clown on my left determined to cross four lanes of traffic to make a right turn into either William or George Street.

  16. Poor Nat.

    And poor Hummer.

    Still, any accident you can walk away from is a good one. Hope the ouchies are subsiding.