We’ve all been there.
The first time you wiped the raid or instance group. The first time you said something stupid in chat, or over Vent. The first time you accidentally hit an ability or right-clicked the enemy and prematurely started the boss fight. The first time you cleansed Unstable Affliction from your teammate in a battleground, even after telling yourself time and time again to ignore it.
A couple of Fridays ago, on my way to the fish fry at my parish, I got into my first auto accident. It was nothing serious, mind you. I was backing out of my driveway and, while I’d resolved myself to sitting there for a good five minutes, waiting for traffic to clear, someone actually waved me through. Not believing my good luck, but eager to comply, I checked the other side to make sure the rest of traffic was on its way out… But apparently they were moving more slowly than I’d originally thought. I ended up hitting my mirror and part of the driver-side door/fender on the corner of the other person’s bumper. The only other damage to his car was the taillight popping out.
To put it mildly, I felt completely and utterly stupid.
Since getting my license in ’05, I’d managed to stay accident- and ticket-free, even while in California. I considered myself the best of the best (of the best, sir!) when it came to driving— not just because of my spotless record, which could be chalked up to pure luck, but because of the practices I employed every time I got behind the wheel.
Nothing necessarily changed that Friday. In fact, I was being even more careful than usual, because it was rush hour and I (thought I) knew what to expect. But as my husband pointed out, no one’s perfect. He’s actually hoping that this incident will make me less worried about being “by the book” and more focused on just driving for driving’s sake. And, I really have to give him some credit here: he didn’t get mad at me once.
Me, on the other hand… I was kicking myself in the butt for a good week. Every time I looked at the damage on my car, I got incredibly depressed. Being one of the best driver’s on the road was a matter of pride to me, something akin to the bravado of ace Navy pilots. That’s hardly surprising, since I often quote the Wraith from the first StarCraft game: “Why am I so good? I am invincible. That’s right.”
Invincibility only goes so far, apparently.
For a few days, I seriously considered keeping the damage to my car as it was. It would have been my badge of shame, my personal automobile Scarlet Letter. My car was an extension of me. People get confused when I say “she” in reference to my car, which is named after my first human warlock in WoW, Kirana. Just like character and player were one in the same to me, so was driver and car.
But seeing my car hurt, and knowing it was my fault, all compounded my feeling of utter stupidity. It was pretty obvious, considering how dejected and pathetic I looked as I stood in the police station, waiting for the officer to write up the report.
The officer, however, took pity on me— whether it was because of how sad I looked, my previously spotless record, or because I was a resident, I’ll never know. In the awkward silence that stretched after I’d given all of the information I possibly could, he related a story of his own mistakes. Just the previous night, in fact. He was responding to a traffic call on the interstate and was so wrapped up in taking note of where his partner’s car was, he didn’t notice the hood of the stalled vehicle directly in front of him. His patrol car, the officer said with a laugh, flipped up and landed on the hood of the other car.
“I know exactly how you feel,” he said. “These things just happen. Even to the best of us.”
It’s a heck of a coincidence if that really did happen the night before. Regardless of the truth behind his story, it made me feel a lot better in that moment.
Right now, Kirana’s in the body shop getting repairs— hence why I’m able to sit here and actually write. It’s the biggest repair bill I’ve ever had to date. To take a cue from the many wipes I’ve experienced in raids, it’s best to just pick yourself back up and get back into the encounter. Rage-quitting is not an option in life.