I've been posting bits and pieces on Facebook and Twitter about what happened to me early Christmas morning (aka why I haven't put up "Simple Gifts" on my Fictionpress when I said I would, or posted much at all for nearly a week), but I thought I should take this opportunity to set the whole thing down in as clear of order as possible.
I was driving at highway speeds towards my parents' house at about 3:45 AM on Christmas morning (in, I should add, a borrowed car), when Poppy the cat tried to jump onto my lap. I became distracted by her movement, allowed the car to drift slightly, then overcorrected, sending the car into a skid across the road's two lanes.
After I struck the embankment on the left side of the road, I blacked out. Upon waking up, I tried to turn on the four-way flashers, only to discover that they would not work, nor would the doors unlock. The airbags had deployed, the windows were shattered, and my glasses and cell phone were both missing, as were the cats.
I could not see very much (3:45 AM, unlit section of highway, no glasses) and was rather cold, since I had taken off my coat because the car's heater worked very well, but I could tell that the car was safely off the road, up against the median. I was also, to my great surprise, mostly uninjured, barring a few minor facial cuts and bruises.
After a few minutes of trying to find my phone, with no luck, I decided to climb out the window, grab my coat and bag, and start moving towards the nearest light, both to keep warm with exercise and to try to get some help. I began to walk along the shoulder of the highway. When cars passed me, I would try to flag them down.
Three or four cars passed me with no luck, but then one pulled over and put on its flashers. I crossed the highway to knock on their window, and when the lady in the passenger seat asked if I was all right, I said, "no, I just crashed my car". She very kindly let me sit in her seat and warm up while her husband called 911 for me.
The police and an ambulance both arrived quickly, since I was only two miles outside a good-sized town (actually the same place I went to college), and the paramedic confirmed that I had probably broken my nose and had a small cut above my eye but did not seem to be otherwise injured. Still, I agreed to go to the hospital to be sure.
While I was in the exam nook at the hospital, the policeman who'd gone to the scene of my accident came to interview me, and to tell me that he had seen two sets of cat tracks running away from the scene of the crash, with no evidence that either Poppy or Sesame had been hit by a car. It was the first time that night I remember crying.
It was about 5:45 by the time a technician was able to get me a telephone, from which I called my parents and the roommate (who was in Kentucky visiting her family, with our two dogs). I have never heard my father say "Oh God" quite so much in all my life, and would strongly prefer not to hear him say it in those quantities again.
My mother made it to the hospital to pick me up at about 7:30 that morning, by which time I had been scanned, examined, and discharged with an official diagnosis of a slightly broken nose and minor facial cuts. After Christmas breakfast and opening of presents, plus much hugging, I slept most of the rest of that day, and that night.
The next day, December 26, Mom and I, along with the older of my brothers, went out to deal with the things I'd lost. We made an appointment for me to get my eyes examined later that afternoon, then returned to the town where the car had been towed to have a look at the damage I'd done, and to collect my clothes and items.
The tow truck driver said that judging by the damage to the car, I had probably rolled over, possibly up the hill on the median and back down. To my astonishment, he took the time on the side of the road to pick up my presents for my family, which flew out of my trunk on impact. To my further astonishment, every one of them was intact.
My cell phone was nowhere to be found, either by examining the interior of the car or by listening for it to ring, so that had to be written off as a loss. More astonishment, though, ensued when my glasses were discovered neatly folded up on the back seat. I simply unfolded them, cleaned off the lenses, and put them back on my face.
After returning home and obtaining a new cell phone, I decided to cancel the appointment with the eye doctor in person, since we were very close by the office. I got to chatting with the receptionist and mentioned that my cats had gone missing, and she gave me the name of a Facebook group for lost pets in our area.
The posting on this Facebook group netted a sighting of Poppy and Sesame, alive and together, in the same town where I was taken for treatment, late Christmas Day. They have not been seen since, but I have messages out to all the animal shelters in the area. With any luck, they will get hungry enough to let someone catch them soon.
So, that's the story of how, about twelve hours after posting a story in which I declared that a halo wouldn't suit me and wings would be a nuisance, I nearly got to find out if I would be a candidate for either. My mother calls my survival a Christmas miracle, and my father is recommending the Honda Accord to everyone he knows.
Yes, I was very stupid to let myself get distracted. Yes, if and when we get the cats back, they will be riding in carriers from now on, no matter the level of noise they make (which is why they were riding in the laundry basket in the first place). Yes, I feel properly ashamed of myself for crashing my family's car. Any other questions?