November 11, 2013

by Nic Olson

“This is just a question, but do you consider yourself at fault in the accident?” This was what the apologetic SGI car insurance employee asked me over the phone as I sat in the Frontier Gas Station/Greyhound depot in Revelstoke, BC. I said no, although I should have been driving slower, I should have gotten more sleep the night before, I should have put it in four-wheel drive, I should not have tapped the brakes in panicky instinct. The totalled Nissan Titan, the Rider Pride Truck of 2007, lay on the back of a tow truck in the Classic Towing yard. It is worse crashing a truck when it isn’t yours. When I was certain that the passengers were not affected by the crash, I cleaned pieces of the plastic bumper off the middle of the highway, throwing them into the forest in a stewing rage. After the testosterone-sweating police officer took our information and the tow-truck drove us to town, I left my brother and his girlfriend sitting with a garbage bag of their belongings waiting for the 3pm bus while I stood on the side of the road and stuck my thumb out.

The words of the pleasant German girl that I sat next to on the eleven-hour gauntlet Greyhound made sense in reflecting on the crash. “You experience more in life when you’re comfortable with being uncomfortable.” Inside of new experience is the place where one is able to improve.

Near death, if you want to exaggerate the crash to that degree, has been heralded to change peoples’ lives. I’ll always wear a seatbelt from now on, one would potentially resolve. I’ll finally ask out this girl because life is too short, I thought. If life is lived properly, near death should not change anything. It may cause new thought or appreciation. A person should not be scared into living the life they’ve always wanted to.

Individuals can be personally responsible for their faults. But are they at fault for the patch of ice that brought them spinning off a cliff? Our experiences can cause our faults, but dwelling on our faults, stewing in them, is regression. Once people realize their faults and wish to work on them, there must be proper supports in place; this is a responsible society. From an insurance standpoint, who was at fault is important to establish. But in working on the well-being of a human, who was at fault is unimportant. It is the asking for help that needs to be noticed.