Yesterday, on our way up the coast to look at wedding venues, my fiance and I found ourselves on the business end of a wee fender-benderoony, which is my cute name for something unpleasant that will likely be a costly and aggravating time suck.
It wasn't our fault, mind you, but from what everyone tells me, fault and blame are neither here nor there when it comes to car accidents.
While my fiance handled the details, I sat, dazed, in the passenger seat thinking about how much car accident protocol has changed.
In my day, which was shortly after I got my license when I was nowhere near ready to drive despite what the state of California thought, an accident involved pulling over and then nervously sitting in your car hoping the person who emerged from the dented vehicle in front of you didn't want to kill you.
To this end, you screwed up your face into an approximation of tears and said sorry a zillion times, even though your insurance company would later tell you that was a mistake.
If this worked to neutralize the anger coming at you, you then shuffled around your overstuffed glove compartment to fish out your registration, sifting through batteries, perfume, a tangle of sunglasses, an unopened compass (this was way before GPS), lip gloss and cassettes (both of which were melting) and flashlights of various sizes.
Then you exchanged information and tried to scribble down the other person's details even though your hand was shaking uncontrollably.
After this, you found the nearest pay phone to call your parents.
Now everyone just calmly snaps iPhone photos.
"You OK?" asked one of the drivers, tapping on my window.
She'd been in a car that had both gotten hit and hit someone else.
Once we were back on the road, my fiance, who'd held it together during the photo snapping but whose hand was now curling into a ball -- an upsetting new trick he didn't know was in his body's repertoire -- reminded me that we'd very nearly gotten into an accident a year before on this same stretch of highway.
And then, proving that immunity is a thing that only exists on reality shows, a car almost swerved into us in the roughly the same spot on the way back.
I'm not a superstitious person, but what the fuck?
If this is a sign, and that's a big if, what is it a sign of?
That we should avoid this road?
That we shouldn't get married north of Los Angeles County?
That we shouldn't get married at all?
Again, I'm not a superstitious person, save for a refusal to wake up on a zero or a five (everyone wakes up on a zero or a five. I prefer 8:01!) and a marked incredulity when people tempt fate by opening umbrellas indoors, but I'm beginning to wonder if we're taking our life in our hands.
It sounds preposterous, but 100 percent of the time we've driven to Santa Barbara we've had to either swerve to avoid an accident or gotten into one.
What is the meaning of this?
I want to say it means nothing, because that makes me the most comfortable and is the most in accordance with my (lack of) belief system, but the truth is I'm afraid to make the drive again.
I'm reminded of my dating days when there was a disparity between my head and my heart.
I frequently found myself in the following situation: I liked someone and wanted it to work out with him but felt some combination of negative emotions after every date.
So much of growing up has been about learning to trust my feelings even when my intellect is trying to reason them away.
Which is all good and fine except when you know the feelings -- like the ones I'm having now regarding a particular stretch of the 101 -- are irrational.
And the real kick in the heiney here is that we kind of fell in love with the first venue we saw, the one in Santa Barbara on the other side of the highway-that's-trying-to-kill-us.
I ask you, what would you do?
And don't say arrive by helicopter or horse because I've seen The Bachelorette and I'm pretty sure that's bad luck.