By LISA CAPOBIANCO
I’ll never forget the look of horror on my dad’s face that one time I almost got run over by a school bus in fifth grade.
It was just an ordinary day after school, and nothing bad that I can recall happened earlier in the day. The bus dropped me off just as normally—same time, same place: my grandmother’s neighborhood.
I don’t remember exactly how it all happened. But as I was about to cross the street after stepping off the bus, something in my gut told me to wait a second or two before walking. When I finally decided to make my way across the street to get to my grandmother’s house, the bus decided to take off at the same time, nearly colliding into me. Fortunately the bus driver slammed on the brakes, and I was off the hook…until I walked over to my father who saw the entire episode from my grandmother’s driveway.
“How could that happen,” asked my dad in shock and disappointment while nearly shaking in his shoes.
Honestly, it was an error of judgment on my part, mostly caused by my tendency to hesitate. But you know the saying: accidents happen. What happened on that day I still cannot explain to this day, and I do not quite understand why or how I almost managed to get injured or even worse, lose my life. All I can say is that I am happy to be alive, and ever since that day, I am more conscientious and smarter when I cross the street.
But needless to say, that wouldn’t be the last time an accident happened in my life. I’ll never forget the time as a little girl I was eating fish for lunch at my grandparent’s house when suddenly a small bone landed on my right tonsil. Feeling like it was stuck there for eternity that one summer afternoon, I was finally saved after a throat specialist carefully grabbed the bone off my tonsil with these tiny-looking tweezers. Although initially feeling nervous to see an instrument go down my throat, I kept calm, for I just wanted the horror to end.
“Wow, you’re very brave,” the specialist said, awarding me nearly a dozen lollipops for being cooperative.
Ever since that day, I have become cautious when eating fish, especially if I know there may be bones inside. Nevertheless, accidents happen, and fish has actually become a major part of my diet.
But wait…the story doesn’t end here! We still didn’t get to the point in my life when I started driving. (Sigh). It was sophomore year of college during winter break when I was about to leave the house for my part-time job at the mall (at that time I had my driver’s license for 2.5 years). For whatever reason my car was parked too close to the right side of my garage’s wall. I was in a rush to leave, so instead of using my best judgment to readjust the position of the car, my side view mirror hit that side of the wall and fell to the ground.
And guess who stood there to witness the whole episode? DAD.
The shock. The disbelief. The confusion.
The look on dad’s face was indescribable, but that moment felt as if we were reliving the day I almost got hit by that school bus.
“How could this happen,” he asked.
I felt horrible. Not only did I knock out my side view mirror, but I also had to miss work that day. After picking up the cracked mirror off the driveway, my father drove me all the way to a body shop in New Britain to fix the problem immediately. And to add a cherry on top of that, we hit a parking lot of traffic on I-84 East on the way there from Waterbury.
At the end of the day I bought a new side view mirror, and I never made the same mistake again (knock on wood).
It’s not so much how you fix the situation, but how you deal with it. It’s so easy to say, “If only I did ‘X,’ then ‘Y’ wouldn’t have happened.” I have been guilty of this statement far too many times, and I am certain others can attest to that as well. There is nothing wrong with asking yourself, “Why did I do that” because it is human nature. But consistently blaming yourself for something you never intended to do will eat away at your happiness. You may never be able to forget about that accident or mistake, but you can forgive yourself. Even laughing about a little fender bender in the long run can help ease the situation.
Accidents happen. People make mistakes. We’ve all been there, so it’s time to move on.
Lisa Capobianco is a staff writer for The Observer. She can be reached at lcapobianco@BristolObserver.com