Off to a smashing start

In which we encounter the first mishap of our trip before even leaving the driveway.

I apologize for the long break between posts (and also for the potato quality photos here—we left our good camera in North Carolina a few weeks ago and finally got it back today).

My excuse is that this is what my life has looked like for the past two weeks or so:

Moving is always chaos. Then, consider the fact that we’re moving away from somewhere, but not to anywhere—therefore, our stuff is being spread out among a total of two houses and three storage units (not counting what we’re taking with us, which also had to be separated and packed).

So, chaos. You know your life is in transition when you’re eating pizza off of paper plates for dinner at 10 p.m. while using a playstation box as a coffee table and an unplugged mini-fridge as a side table. (Side note: an attractive side table with a secret hidden mini-fridge inside for storing beer—does this exist? Because it should and I would totally buy it.)

But anyway, things had been going pretty smoothly. We made it through our last few days of work, had a mini-going-away celebration, held a yard sale, took a quick 24-hour trip to Charlotte to meet our friend’s new puppy (worth it), and even scored wilderness passes for the most famous hike in Zion—all while slowly packing up everything we own into boxes. Smooth sailing, right?

And then.

Two days ago, after a loooooong, sweaty day spent filling a 15-foot U-Haul to the brim with all of our worldly possessions in 90-degree South Carolina heat, we were finally ready to start the 2.5-hour drive to Greensboro. Chris headed out a few minutes before me in the truck while I took Callie for a short walk. Then I locked up the house, hopped into my trusty, beloved Subaru—also loaded to the brim with stuff—and started backing out of the drive.


It took a few seconds for my brain to even comprehend what had happened. “What the $%&@ could I have possibly hit??” was the first thought in my head.

Then, my brain suddenly put the pieces together, and I knew exactly what had happened. Earlier in the day (to make room for the U-Haul), we had moved my car up in front of where we typically park. Before leaving, Chris had moved his car back to its usual spot: now a full car length behind my car, instead of beside it like usual. And as I started to back out, to my exhausted brain, Chris had already left—so of course his car wasn’t in the driveway. The big piles of stuff blocking my rear-view mirror prevented any visual cues from telling me otherwise.

And that’s how I backed up straight into Chris’s car.

The damage isn’t that bad, really. A dent and a few scrapes to Chris’s fender, and a smashed up spot on the right side of my bumper. Nothing that will present a safety issue or prevent either car from running normally.

So of course I started crying immediately. Until this point I had never been in even the smallest fender-bender in my entire life, and my beautiful four-year-old car was still in nearly perfect condition. And in one second, I managed to wreck BOTH of our cars in one go…in a stupidly preventable way…in our own driveway. Days before heading out on a two-month road trip.

I had expected there to be setbacks on this whole road trip thing. But NOW? They’re not supposed to happen NOW. Not yet. I wasn’t ready!

But that’s how it goes, isn’t it? If there’s anything I learned from this (other than being extra vigilant about checking my surroundings before reversing…) it’s that shit happens—and even when you know that, even when you think you’re ready for it—it still sucks. There’s never a good, convenient time to wreck your car. Knowing that mishaps will happen isn’t the same as being mentally prepared for them at the moment they actually DO happen.

You win some, you lose some, I guess. You score the wilderness passes and then you crash your car in your own driveway. So my Subaru will make the road trip with a hole in the bumper (because lord knows I’m not paying to get that fixed right now), and if we’re lucky, it’s the only vehicle trouble we’ll deal with the whole time. And if we’re not lucky, I’ll probably cry. And then we’ll figure it out. And we’ll keep going.

Wish me luck, y’all.

3 thoughts on “Off to a smashing start

  1. Smashing beginnings — isn’t it great the way language works because even with the smashing start to your odyssey it grabs both meanings in one bump. The first is the worst and you got that out of the way. Now it should all be smooth driving and you do not need to worry about keeping the Suburu perfect on a two month cross country trip. Love the adventure and remember that when ??it happens it is material we all will be waiting to read.

    Liked by 1 person

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