Writing down your thoughts, especially the ones you rarely share out loud with others, has a certain vulnerability to it. All of a sudden people have a window into your mind, something to peer through. They can understand your thought process, how you interpret the world, what makes you tick and what makes you smile.
Writing has been, and I imagine always will be, a medium in which I communicate best. It allows me to convey my experiences and all of the feelings that arise from them, whether those experiences are good, bad, or regrettably, boring.
But sometimes, as this summer has demonstrated, the bad experiences overrule the good ones, and I am left staring at the keyboard, consumed with the guilt of knowing that I shouldn’t feel so down over such petty things.
Alberta fixed that. Driving into the mountains reminded me of how small I am, and that whatever problems I thought I had were minuscule in comparison to what others are going through. I struggled through the first week, as one does when they are working through the odd emotions of shame and confusion that come along with feeling sad when you’re not quite sure what you’re sad about.
Relief came in week two, when outings with friends and the warm reminder of my old life in Alberta left me feeling relaxed and more like myself.
After a day surrounded by mountains, I was happily driving along a stretch of highway, making my way back to Lethbridge. As I normally do on short road trips, I was speaking to a friend on bluetooth, catching up on things during the past week. It was dusk, and I was glad I had made it through the mountains before the sun set.
As my friend recounted a story, he was cut off mid sentence by the sound of a loud bang and what I would later find out was a full minute of screaming. The pleasant drive with the picture perfect backdrop in my rearview mirror came to a prompt stop when my car crossed paths with a deer, sending him into my windshield and over my car.
The car was stopped, but my hyperventilating (I know, I know, how dramatic) was in full swing.
“DIANE! DIANE!” Scott was still on the phone. “Are you ok? What happened? Are you bleeding?”
I looked down. There was glass everywhere. My arms immediately started to burn, and there was blood where most of the glass had hit me. I started to speak, and felt a loud crunch between my teeth, spitting out glass which had found it’s way in during impact.
Luckily, and I’m quite grateful for this, Scott just happens to be a paramedic. He asked me all the important questions, and then told me to hang up and call 911.
After blubbering to the operator, I threw my four ways on. No one had stopped, and vehicles were whizzing past me at 100 kilometres an hour. I knew someone was fairly close behind me when the deer tried to leap over my car, and I had a sad moment for humankind when I realized they had simply kept driving.
As I sat there waiting for the ambulance, assessing the situation for what would be a good 20 minutes since I was aways from town, I began to calm down. I kept looking at the smashed windshield, grateful that the deer hadn’t made his way in. After determining there would just be scrapes and bruises, I clearly remember my second thought:
“Getting this all taken care of is going to be such a hassle.”
For a moment at least, I was thankful to be alive, followed by being more concerned with the headache of dealing with getting my car fixed, and not being able to get back to Winnipeg this week .
My God, had I learned nothing?
Perhaps the unexpected extended stay near the mountains will do me some good.