Surprise, there’s been an accident

I just heard a teenager cough.  I hope that doesn’t mean another family member is getting sick.

Last Thursday Grace complained of body aches and a headache.  She missed three days of school, including today.  I thought she’d go back to school but she woke up crying, complaining of a headache and coughing.  I gave her some pain medication and she fell asleep again.  No school for her.  But tomorrow, she’ll probably go back.  She wants to go back to school.

My husband was felled by the same virus but seems like he’s recovering faster than Grace did.  He’s going back to work tomorrow.

I’ve been spending a lot of time napping or reading.  I read Jodi Picoult’s Picture Perfect in recent days.  (It was published in 1995.)  But now the weekend’s over and I’m plunged right back into the rushing river that is my life.

Last Saturday I went to a writing workshop.  I’d intended to join a state-wide writer’s group, but had put it off until I heard there would be a workshop about writing dialogue.  I got up early Saturday and left the house by 8 a.m.  I didn’t know anybody at the workshop, so took my seat at a back table.  I’m a back-row kind of student.  I never purposely sit in the front row, unless it’s a concert and then I can’t afford the front row tickets.  Look for me in the back row.  Always.

So, I’m at the back table, alone, tired and reading email on my iPhone while I waited for the workshop to start.  I was in the middle of reading Amy Letinsky’s blog.  I subscribe to it and it comes to my email box.  I’ve been reading her blog for quite a few months, ever since she live-Twittered an event at our church (Mars Hill in Seattle).  My husband attended the event, but I could not, so I followed the Twitter stream.

Anyway, so there I was, reading her blog on my iPhone, when this woman approached my empty table, and introduced herself, while pushing aside her hair to reveal her name-tag:  Amy Letinsky.

That was a seriously weird moment.

The workshop was interesting and it was nice to sit next to Amy and Anngaylia (isn’t that a pretty name?) who looked ordinary but ended up being anything but.

So, while I’m sitting at the conference, a text popped up on my (silenced) iPhone.  I look and read a text from my husband.  He’s at the soccer field with Grace for her last game but can’t find her team.  I run from the room, panicked that I’ve told him the wrong time or the wrong field.  This is her last game.  I feel guilty enough for missing it and now this?

I call another soccer mom and confirm that he’s at the right field at the right time.  I find out exactly where he ought to be.  I call him and let him know.  (He was in the wrong parking lot.)  Okay, all is well.  But I have just locked myself out of the church building where this workshop is taking place.  I circle around outside and enter the front door, traipse through the building and back upstairs to the workshop.

Some minutes pass by and I see on my (silenced) cell phone that my husband is now calling.  CALLING, not texting.  What could be wrong? I text him and ask:  “Did you just call?”

He does not respond.

I text again, “Did you call me?”

He texts:  “Accident.”

I grab the phone and race from the room.  I call him, absolutely panicked, picturing my daughter with her femur protruding from her thigh or her nose bashed into her face with blood gushing or a skull cracked open with her brain exposed or a thumb dangling from a broken hand.  I see blood, lots of blood and an ambulance and I hear screams.

I dial his number.  “What’s up?” I say.

“Nothing.  I didn’t mean to call.  That’s why I said, ‘accident.'”

The phone call was an accident.  My daughter did not have an accident.

Just so you know?  When texted, “accident” can mean several things and doesn’t necessary portend tragedy. But the obvious meaning is CALL THE AMBULANCE.  WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY.

Next time, how about we just text “sorry, butt-dial” when our wives say, “Did you call me?” after we accidentally dial them while they are minding their own business trying to learn to write good dialogue?

Thank you and have a nice day, free of every variety of accidents.

10 thoughts on “Surprise, there’s been an accident

  1. The man needs a lesson in what not to say. Once my kids were walking to school and a pick up was back up and nudged into them as they were walking.

    They continued walking on to the bus stop, after arriving at school, one of the kids told the teacher what had happened.

    When I got to work I was called and told my kids were hit by a truck.

    After learning what happened, I spoke to the person who called me and told her that if you ever have to make this type of non-emergency call, the FIRST thing you say is, “Your children are all ok, ” then you can say what happened.


  2. Even “Oops – BD” would be sufficient. That should be the new international abbreviation for accidental dialing.

    I got chewed out for calling my ex about a non-emergency situation, having begun the conversation with “do you have a minute to talk?” whereupon she panicked and assumed the kids were in mortal danger. Needless to say, I don’t accidentally dial her.


  3. It was great meeting you, Melodee! We’ll have to share our favorite Apps sometime…never got to that. I’m starting apply some of the things we learned in the workshop and realizing that my book’s dialogue is going to need some serious revision!


  4. Hm. I totally understood what he meant by “Accident.”

    If it was a REAL accident, he would have followed your text with another phone call to explain the situation.

    Emergencies are never announced by SMS. That just ain’t the way it goes.

    Also off limits are marriage proposals and being fired.


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