Camera in hand, we set out to bring you another installment of shiny jewelry enjoyment. Today we went to the Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, Connecticut, to photograph the contemporary wampum jewelry by Narragansetts Allen “Tall Oak” Hazard and Craig “Ten Point” Spears, which will be on display through the months of January and February (except as pieces may be sold and removed — visit sooner rather than later). Tomorrow we plan to visit Momminia in Cold Spring, NY, to learn about other shell-material beads and some of their ethnographic ornamentation uses. Sometime in the near future, we hope to try and make sense of the wide and lively world of charm-bead bracelets.
We interrupt this regular programming, though, to bring you reporting of a minor traffic accident that happened in New Milford, CT. We were sitting in traffic on Route 7. The light had turned green. Ahead of us, a light blue Mini Cooper was not moving. Who knows why it wasn't moving. Perhaps the driver had trouble with the clutch. Maybe they were fighting a sneeze. We crept forward a bit, hoping that some movement in their rearview mirror would alert them that traffic needed to flow. Then ...
Yup, the car behind us crashed right into us.
I got out, striking the classic “WHAT were you thinking?!” pose, with about that dialogue. I was upset. The drivers behind us were upset too. Honk!
The driver, an attractive woman with a stylish crocheted hat, was sorry. I wasn't going to be deprived of my mad, though. Fortunately I think the strongest vocabulary I used was “heck.” No, I couldn't tell if there was any damage ... both cars looked OK, but as I pointed out, the last time I was rear-ended there turned out to be frame damage. WHAT was she thinking?
She said she has cancer. “So do I,” I retorted, “and I've just had two CT scans.” OK I wasn't very nice. She is probably sicker than me — but she looked better, although pained. I'd say she looked equal parts sorry/embarrassed for hitting me, and pained/embarrassed to have to witness another adult acting like an idiot in public.
The setting didn't help; paused as we were at a traffic light on a busy road, we didn't exactly have leisure to sit down until the shakiness wore off. Heck, I had some dark chocolate in my bag from the museum; we probably each could have used a dose.
Honestly though it was more a miss than a hit — a reminder or a warning rather than an actual crisis. How often do we not pay attention for what could be long enough to hit another car or, worse, a cyclist or pedestrian? How often do we see something in our rearview that could be a real threat when we are stopped with nowhere to go? How often do we let a moment's shock and anger drive more than a moment's behavior?
I don't know what a better response would have been. Like I said, I didn't even use any bad language, and she DID hit my car. Like we tell our kids, “I'm sorry” is nice but doesn't change what happened. Did she ruin my day? Not really, except insofar as the event caused me to behave in such an ungraceful manner. Did I ruin hers? Who knows?
How do you handle these moments?
As I await your wisdom, I'll share just this one teaser of the photos I took at IAIS today.