Gather around, kids. Today, I would like to impart a few pearls of wisdom that might come in useful at some point in your life. It turns out that when an old man in a big white van cuts you off in traffic and rips the front bumper off your car, drags it a few dozen yards, and finally pulls over and carries it back to where you're waiting, horrified, you learn a great many life lessons in a short period of time.
1) After the old man in the white van carries your bumper back to your car, you will need to call the police. Not 911. Just the police. If you call 911, they will ask if you are hurt and when you say no, they will tell you to hang up and call the police at their non-emergency number. You will find this remarkably unhelpful.
2) If you are going to get into an accident, it's best not to do it on one of the most miserably cold days of the year, particularly if you are not wearing socks at the time. When you have an accident, you have to do things like get out of the car and take pictures of the damage. If it is a very cold day and you are not wearing socks, your toes will practically freeze and it will be ages before they start to thaw out again.
3) Related to number one, you will most likely forget that your grandmother put a blanket in your trunk for just such an occasion. Follow my advice, not my example, and remember the blanket.
4) If you are going to get in an accident, it's best not to do it when you are on your way to the store to buy oatmeal and cookie butter for breakfast. No one but you will care that you are wasting away from hunger while you wait for the police. Before every accident, you should have a snack.
5) Phone a friend. Or your mom. Do this after you call the police. Your friend, or your mom, will help keep you calm. Because if you are talking to your mom, you will not shriek at the person who hit you like a rabid banshee (even though you may really want to.)
6) Normally, you will see multiple police cars when you go out, but when you actually need one to show up, they all disappear like so many farts in the wind. After you call the non-emergency number, you may as well have a seat somewhere, because you could probably read the whole Harry Potter series before the cops actually turn up.
6) While you are waiting for the police to show up, you can take pictures of the damage to your vehicle and the general lack of damage to the other vehicle, because isn't that always how it works out when they're the one that hits you? Not only will these images be useful in the event of a lawsuit, but you can also share them with all your followers on social media. After all, the motto of the Instagram generation is "Pictures or it didn't happen." Bonus: You might notice a confederate flag on the other guy's license plate while you're on the phone with his insurance company. You can then feel doubly violated because not only was your bumper ripped off, but the person who did it might be a bigot.
7) In the aftermath of your accident, you may feel the need to stress eat. In the event that this happens, the internet does not get to judge you for your choices because you have spent the day on the struggle bus and it was a bumpy ride.
8) Crying is an acceptable activity in the aftermath of your accident, but writing sarcastic blog posts about the experience is equally cathartic. Choose your own adventure, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for reading and do come back soon for more Life Lessons With Ashley.