I think many will agree that yesterday (November 1st or October 31st, depending on where you are in the world) was just a crappy day. It was crappy everywhere, and for so many reasons. For me, for a brief moment, it felt like the cosmic energy that rules the world was out to get me. It was just one of those days: the kind where you have to laugh and take it with good spirits or you’ll break down in tears.
The way I started my day: being hit by a garbage truck.
I knew that the start of my NaNoWriMo season wasn’t going to be off to a good start — before it started. I have so many things to do and there doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.
Before I get too carried away, I should probably explain that NaNoWriMo is an important time of the year for writers. Everywhere around the world, writers have pledged themselves to writing at least 50,000 words, in the attempt of completing the first draft of a novel during the month of November. On the Editor’s Blog on Black Wolf Editorial Services, I often talk about this event, and how writers can work through writer’s block and other things.
This year, I was heading into NaNoWriMo knowing that I needed to get three chapters edited and polished, sending them off to the editor for Putting Science into Fiction. It’s a publication that’s going to be published by Writer’s Digest next year. This is a paid contract, and is a big deal. So, I’ve been working hard to finish the chapters in time. Well, I’d finished them during the Tuesday write-in session that I attend most weeks. I had finished the nonfiction writing and could feel confident going into NaNoWriMo writing fiction.
However, I know that I can’t start on the project that I wanted to write for NaNoWriMo. I still need to finish the draft of Eagle Order. I’ve been working on it for months, and it’s nearing completion. Only 20,000 words to go, and it can sit in that metaphorical drawer while I worked on my NaNoWriMo project.
Now… October 31st. Midnight barrier write-in. So not off to a good start. I got 3 words. 3! I kept getting distracted, but I needed to reread the last chapter I had written, knowing that I needed to get my head back into the story after taking the break to focus on the nonfiction project. So not a good start. But we trudge along the best we can.
Then the sun rose on November 1st — the day I want to erase.
It started innocent enough: the annoying alarm coming from my daughter’s room that won’t shut up (she sleeps through it), followed by my morning shower. Then the drama queen herself starts in about how her leg hurts. (In all fairness, she did have a bad reaction to an insect bit which made her leg swell to the size of a tree stump. I had taken her to the doctor about it on October 31st.) Finally manage to get everyone out the door and into the car. That was when hell started.
I had pulled up to the intersection of QEII Drive and Main North Rd, intending to turn left. This is a major intersection and is busy at the best of times. However, for reasons that I didn’t know when I pulled up to the intersection, it was extra busy. Anyway, at this intersection, its normally four lanes across heading into the intersection, even though there is actually only three lanes. Everyone does it. The traffic turning left squeezes over as far as they can, and the traffic going straight squeezes through. (I think you can see where I’m going with this.)
While waiting in the line of cars to go left, stationary, I suddenly get hit and have this thud, thud, thud, going all the way down the driver’s side of the car. This big white thing whizzed by my window. My daughter, sitting in the back seat, screamed. My son, sitting in the front passenger seat, hollered and swore. My own language wasn’t exactly clean. The assaulting vehicle passed me and just carried on. I had just been hit by a garbage truck.
Stunned, I reached into my purse, pulled out my phone, passed it to my son and ordered him to take a picture of the truck that hit us, getting a clear shot of his license plate.
With the way that intersection is laid out, there was absolutely no way of pulling out of the traffic safely, for either one of us. However, the driver of the truck never even realized that he had hit me. (Considering his size compared to me, I’m not surprised.) But this is an element of the story that I’ll come back to.
Carrying on, attempting to take Child No 1 to school, only to discover that the reason the intersection where I had been hit was abnormally busy was because at the intersection just around the corner had been another accident; however, in that case, one car was left abandoned in the middle of the road (clearly no longer drivable — at least I could still drive mine).
Joy. Both children were now late for school because of two accidents and the resulting traffic.
I ordered my son to txt his father, telling him to have the kettle boiled for when I get home. My son’s message: “Boil the pot. Mom’s gonna need it.” I got my son to school, and took photos of my car while in the car park. Next child to get to school. Next drama to face.
Then, I get a phone call from the repairman who was looking at my clothes dryer that had begun making horrible noises last week. (Grind. Grind. Clunk. Bang. Those can’t be good noises for a clothes dryer.) Well…
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but because of everything that is wrong with your dryer—” a big long list that I didn’t understand or resister because I was still shaken up from being hit by the garbage truck — “we believe that the dryer is not worth repairing. Would you like us to dispose of the dryer on your behalf?”
“Um… Yes, please.” JOY! CRAP! and words that really don’t belong on this blog.
I passed the phone to my daughter for her to make the next txt message to my husband. “We have just gotten a call from the dryer company and they are disposing of the dryer. And by the way we have just got hit by a truck.”
You can imagine the txt conversation between my husband and my daughter after that one. Let’s just say that it ended with my huddy saying that he’ll have the coffee ready.
I got home and called the insurance company and the garbage truck company. Those conversations went about as well as can be expected.
Fast forward to the afternoon. I was supposed to be recording a radio show. Yeah… That never happened.
Instead, I get a phone call from the station manager. “I need you to write something on behalf of the station for Manhattan.”
Of course, I hadn’t heard about Manhattan. I knew nothing about it. I was totally wrapped up in my little word and fixated on the fact that I had been hit by a garbage truck. Seriously! A garbage truck! I know it’s their job to take the garbage away to be disposed of, but MY CAR IS NOT GARBAGE! See, even now, I struggle to get past the idea that I was hit by a garbage truck.
Anyway, I did the work required of me for the station, then I had a visit from the fleet manager for the garbage truck company. He needed to see my car — he needed to see proof that I was hit by one of his trucks, and all because the driver says he didn’t hit anything. Right… If you say so… So, where did that convenient streak mark running down my car come from?
After that visit, I took the car to the panel beaters, only be to told that the car needed to be checked by a mechanic too, getting a wheel alignment, because it was so obvious that the garbage truck had hit BOTH of my wheels on the driver’s side as it passed by me. JOY!
Two hours later, and I finally get to sit down at the computer to write some more words for NaNoWriMo. NOPE, that wasn’t going to happen either. I had after-school mom’s taxi duty, an appointment with the bank, and a phone call from the husband informing that he needed to head out of town on business next week. By the end of the day, I was a mess, and I hadn’t even opened my writing project.
I’m sorry, but November 1st was crappy beyond belief. Therefore, I hereby announce that November 1st will be deleted from history. It never happened.
I’m trying to be the Little Miss Optimist here, but I’m failing. Someone please tell me that there is only one direction to go — please tell me that I haven’t rolled halfway down the hill, only to get stuck precariously on the outcropping. Surely there is a story somewhere in the chaos of today. I’m a writer. The imagination will eventually take over.
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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017