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The Kindness Of Strangers And My Brush With Death

Nothing like a brush with death to put life into perspective, amirite?
The Kindness Of Strangers And My Brush With Death
This is the new car you all helped me get. Thanks!

Good morning, readers. I'm happy to be here, and even happier not to be dead!

There I was on a Sunday afternoon, driving along and minding my own business. The next thing I remember is watching and hearing my driver's side mirror crunch, and thinking, "Oh no, those things are really expensive to fix!" And the only thing I remember after that is frantically trying to pull my car out of a spin before it hit the concrete underpass holding up I-95. I can't hit the wall. I can't hit the wall.

Oh shit, I hit the wall.

The neighbors all came running out: "Are you okay? Can I call anyone?" One woman said her 12-year-old son saw the black SUV that hit me, but didn't get his plate number because he took off so fast. (You could see the skid marks. I guess he was either drunk or uninsured. When you're uninsured in Philadelphia, they take your car.)

At some point in this mess, the driver who hit me hit another car and pushed it into me. That driver was still in a daze; he didn't remember anything, either.

My neighbor took me to the hospital, and all x-rays were negative. I could hardly move my left hand -- I figured out later it must have been in front of me when I slammed into the steering wheel. Boy, did that hurt. (My chest still does, especially when I hiccup. I had no idea I hiccuped, but when you get an ungodly stabbing pain every time you do it, you tend to notice.) I suspect I might even have a teeny concussion, because I keep typing the wrong words.

But I am "Polish girl, strong like ox," as my Babci used to say. I'll be fine.

When the tow truck driver told me I could be dead if I wasn't driving my Subaru, I decided then and there I had to get another one. I mean, geeze. It's going to be hard enough getting behind the wheel again without getting into a tin can (like my beloved old Tercel). So on that much, I was clear.


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I read this wonderful book last year: singer and artist Amanda Palmer's "The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help." It's really hard to ask for help, and Palmer examines all the reasons why we don't -- and why so many judge us harshly when we do. (Hint: It only feels that way. Most people don't.)

After this accident, I was ready to ask. So I did.

I was thinking small. I was going to ask for just enough to get a junker, but one of Palmer's rules is: Ask for as much as you need. So I did. I figured it would be enough to get a car that wasn't going to suddenly blow a head gasket after I got it.

I am touched at how many of you chipped in to put me back on the road again.

I can't tell you how lonely this job is sometimes. You grind and you grind, and you really don't know if anyone appreciates it, because by its very nature, a comments section is dominated by people who like to complain. Which means you're working really hard, and the vast majority of the feedback you get is from people who hate your work. Oh well.

So it's not just the donations I appreciate. It was the many, many kind and supportive words from those of you who instinctively sensed my back was to the wall, and wanted to help. I am so very grateful so many of you did.

So I'm getting another Subaru Forester (a 2002 model -- a car that's "only" 13 years old). My mechanic is picking it up today (it has a blown head gasket, as many Subies do, it needs some major front end work and a bunch of other stuff). But the body's in really good shape, my mechanic is going to transplant whatever is still usable from my old car into the "new" one, and he promises I will have what is virtually a new car.

I still have to figure out all the paperwork (that's a whole other story, because the cop never gave me back my driver's license) but I should be back on the road by next week. Thank you all so much for your kind support.

And thanks to Karoli and the rest of the C&L gang for filling in for me!

P.S. I'm not a "journalist." I'm a former journalist who's now a blogger. Political bloggers do occasionally commit acts of journalism (as defined by the courts), but we are openly biased. That's why we're not journalists, and we don't pretend to follow their ethics codes. We follow blogger ethics, which in many cases, are a much higher standard. There seems to be some confusion, so I hope this clears things up.

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