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6 June 2003 (Friday)

summertime, an' the livin'

Sometimes all I want is a back porch, some stars, a glass of water and someone beside me, saying nothing at all.

posted by enjelani @ 11:39 AM PST [ link ]

1 June 2003 (Sunday)

there but for the grace of grass

I had a near-death experience on an interstate highway this afternoon, and my pulse rate didn't even go up. I wonder what this means.

(Yes, I'm fine. Thanks if you were going to ask.)

Here's what happened, near as I can tell: I was in the left lane, merging into the next lane over because mine was ending. Just as I was changing lanes, a car two lanes over also changed lanes, right into the spot I was hoping to occupy. (Also near as I can tell, this car didn't signal, or I would, I hope, have seen this coming.) I braked to let it pass, but I guess it saw me and braked too, and suddenly I was neck to neck with another car just as my lane narrowed to nothing. The speed limit was 70 mph here, so even after braking we were both going about 65 mph. I was out of time.

So I aimed for the shoulder. My left wheels hit the gravel surface first and I spun around, a full 360 degrees. I got a good split-second look at oncoming traffic before I managed to yank the car onto the grassy median. If it had been a guardrail instead of grass, I probably wouldn't be here.

What got me was that there was never, at any point, any sense of panic. I reacted as though it were some trivial unexpected situation, like I'd just been told the supermarket was out of my favorite brand of orange juice. Okay, that's not good. What's the plan now? You have to decide. It wasn't quite denial, though. My brain flashed through the possibilities with incredible speed; I remember bracing myself, in those climactic milliseconds, for fatal injury. But none of it struck me as frightening, not even in the minutes afterward as I sat there in the narrow field of weeds, hazard lights blinking, waiting for a reasonable break in traffic so I could ease back onto the road. I could feel the adrenaline racing, but my hands were steady. All I wanted to know was: What just happened there exactly? Who was driving badly, me or the other driver? Did I do the right thing? Am I supposed to report this to somebody? How do I keep that from happening again?

It's the fear in waiting that's agony. Sometimes I think I would like death to come for me suddenly, without warning. Though preferably not for a few years yet.

posted by enjelani @ 07:44 PM PST [ link ]