I hate commuting. I absolutely loathe it (Duh, most ADHDers – scratch that, people – do). I’ve spent two hours, round-trip, driving (very slowly, mind you) in the car for more than five years. Like a lot of people with ADHD, I have trouble sleeping and…thus, trouble waking up. Traffic in this area (as in all areas, I imagine) has been getting increasingly worse. Every time I think I’ve found a shorter/faster route to work, it seems the rest of the world finds it, too…the very next week.
Anyway, I find myself in a panic more often than not, trying to get to work on time. This morning was no exception. I was five minutes away, about to turn right…one more turn and I would’ve made it there without a hitch.
…but not today.
The truck in front of me had to turn, too. There were some cars coming through the intersection to the left of us, but I thought he had time to turn before they came through. I guess I didn’t really pay attention to whether he actually turned or not. I just pushed the gas to go…and I ran smack into the back of him.
We had just been stopped, so I wasn’t going very fast. Still, it sounded pretty bad. Paralyzed, I just kind of sat there for a minute, not sure what to do, shaking…and trying really hard not to burst into tears. The other driver (We’ll call him, “Bob,” so I don’t have to keep calling him, “the other driver.”) got out of his truck and I thought, “Oh, I should probably do that, too.”
We bent down to look at the damage and I was surprised (and quite relieved) to see that it was minimal. The truck’s trailer hitch caught most of the impact. Well, that and my car (which still wasn’t that bad).
Thankfully, the other guy…ahem…BOB…was super nice. It wasn’t Bob’s truck, so he said he needed to call the owner to see what they wanted to do. Otherwise, he would’ve just let me go. Fair enough, I thought. I mean, I figured we should at least exchange information. Anyway, I’m guessing the guy on the other end of the phone was pretty nice, too, because he was okay with just exchanging information.
At that point, we’re still holding up the turning lane and my flashers are all a rage, calling attention to the “crime scene.” Bob suggested that we pull out of the way, so we could exchange info without calling attention to the accident…and to hopefully keep the cops at bay. I was grateful for his wisdom in my time of panic…and quite thankful for his thoughtfulness.
We pulled down the street a little bit and then off on a dirt road (not as sketchy as it sounds). I rummaged through my book bag for a black pen, but kept pulling up stupid pens with childish-colored (green, red, orange) ink. Then I went for paper, but could only find the notepad where I scribble blog ideas. I finally found a black pen and a blank page in my ADHD scribble pad.
I stared at the blank page for a minute not knowing what info to include. I wrote my name and phone number and then reached confidently for my handy, little car insurance/registration wallet-folder thingy that I always keep in my glove box. Alas, it wasn’t there. Where was it? I rifled through the random papers in the glove box, thinking maybe there was another copy floating around in there, but nothing. I panicked more and then spotted Bob exiting the truck.
I climbed out of my car ashamed about my misplaced insurance, but hopeful that Bob would just need my name and number. As soon as I got out of the car, I saw the cops go by and was, again, quite thankful that Bob had moved us out of the way. Bob said, “I did the same thing about a year ago and the cops gave me a $95 ticket, so this is way better,” and handed me the scratch paper he had written the relevant info on. My eyes were immediately drawn to the infamous insurance info. Sigh. I was like, “So, you need the insurance information?” I felt guilty, like I was trying to pull one over on him or that that’s what he would think I was doing.
Bob and I walked back to my car and I opened the door, “I don’t know where it is. I always keep it in my glove box, but it’s not there. I’ve only had this car for a few months, so I don’t know…” I spouted off excuses as I halfheartedly looked through the glove box again and glanced around the backseat of the car. God knows if something’s not where it’s supposed to be in my life, there’s no telling where it might have ended up.
It occurs to me that I can pull up my insurance info from my phone using the app. I’m thinking I might be in the clear, but I’m also panicking because I tend to forget the password for that log in on a regular basis. Yup…can’t log in. At this point, I want to throw up, for so many reasons: for being an idiot and rear-ending Bob, for being an idiot and not having my insurance, for being an idiot and not remembering my password and for basically just wasting the poor guy’s time.
To further solidify my childish, idiotic ways, I tried calling my dad to see if he had a copy of the insurance anywhere. But seriously, guys, why would he? And he didn’t. My dad did mention being able to pull it off the website. To which, I had to explain that I had already tried, but that I would try again.
Amazingly, that time I was successful! I was able to pull the info off and write it down. Whew! I don’t suck completely! I apologized profusely for wasting Bob’s time and said, “Thank you,” like fifty million times. I’m sure that poor guy was just ready to see this punk kid pull away, so he could get on with his day.
As I turned around to finish my trek to work, I began shaking and fighting back tears again. “This is why you can’t have nice things,” I thought to myself. You know, just in case the countless other mishaps of my past weren’t quite making the point.
Side note, no pun intended earlier when I said, “…one more turn and I would’ve made it there without a hitch.” Oh, the irony.
Emotional dysregulation makes it really a lot harder to deal with stressful situations like these. Just be happy that if you had to hit someone, you hit someone nice. Imagine what it would have been like if he’d been a rage being!
Oh, I totally agree! That’s kind of why I kept pointing out how thankful I was that “Bob” was so nice. It’s also why I ended with the picture and it’s caption, “Could have been worse.”
I genuinely meant that. It could have been way worse…on many counts. Bob was super nice, the cops didn’t get involved, no damage to Bob’s truck, only a little to mine…and, most importantly, nobody got hurt.
I walked you guys through the emotional turmoil because I think a lot of adults with ADHD go through a similar thought process when they screw up.
We tend to be too hard on ourselves, myself included (obviously). Even “normal” people make mistakes. We ALL do.
One of the biggest struggles that ADHD adults face is learning to forgive themselves for their old mistakes and general imperfections. Until we reach that point, I think our knee jerk reaction to a screwup will always be internal torment like I described.
While I love a lot of my ADHD characteristics and am a strong believer that they contribute to my awesomeness, I still have a lot of self-healing to do in the way of forgiving myself for a lifetime of, what often feels like, failures. My OCD perfectionism doesn’t exactly help the situation either. 😉
Hey, I was actually pretty impressed at the way you handled that. I used to get into situations like that and start stuttering and saying stupid things and crying and it really didn’t help solve any problems at all!
Oh, I’ve been there, too! Nearly backed up into a police car once because I was so upset about getting pulled over! Guess that’s why I felt like I could’ve handled this situation better…because the crazy emotions felt the same as they have in the past. But hey, I didn’t actually become hysterical or almost back into a police car this time, so maybe I’m getting better at handling my emotions after all. Baby steps, my friend, right? Ha ha
God knows losing your mind never helps a situation, but sometimes…it just goes before you can even think about keeping it together.
You’ve got that right!
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