Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thank You Very Much, I'm Still Alive

(I wrote this Saturday night, but I guess I forgot to hit the Publish button.)

I'm aware that those of you who know me well are entirely entitled to disbelieve me when I say to you that today, I almost died. Normally I throw phrases like that for dramatic effect, for laughs, for shits and giggles. But like the tyro that overuses test message smiley faces :) when they first discover them, I am coming to see the error of my ways. Because today, when I tell you that I almost died today (or at the very least almost sustained crippling injury), I really do want you to be shocked, surprised, horrified. "Oh my God!" I want you to exclaim. "What happened?! Are you okay?" Instead, I'm aware that most of you will have snorted in disbelief, and said something in your own mind that either approximates or rhymes with "oh, please. what now? did she get a splinter in her foot?" But for once, I'm telling the truth.

I was driving down a curvy 4-lane road in on the west side of Austin this afternoon, and it was raining. It had been raining all day, and there was a lot of water standing on the road. I wasn't going that fast, only 35 mph, but sometimes you just can't see what's coming around the next bend in the road. Especially when what's around the next bend in the road is a Mitsubishi Mirage parked perpendicular to the lanes of oncoming traffic. I hit my brakes and felt the car kind of slide a bit, but everything was ok. I was on schedule to stop in time. But the huge red truck next to me wasn't, and he jerked his car into my lane to try and avoid hitting the Mirage. As he swerved into my front right tire, I slammed the brake a little harder to avoid getting hit, and I hydroplaned. I hydroplaned right off the road. The road was curving to the right, and my car kept going straight, jumped the median in the road and skidded right into oncoming traffic. I don't know how I didn't get slammed on all sides. All I know are two things. One, when my car and the two oncoming cars finally came to a stop, our bumpers were maybe two or three feet apart from each other, and we were all staring at each other, eyes popped wide open, like "holy shit!!! I can't believe we avoided death!" And two, if I had died today, my last words would've been "fuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuckfuck."

The rest of the story is sort of anti-climactic. In the absence of any true emergency, all I could do was mouth "I'm so sorry!" to the other drivers, back my car up a little, climb back over the median, get back into my lane, and keep driving. I probably should have pulled over to calm down a little, but it honestly didn't occur to me. I just kept driving, thought my adrenaline was pumping so hard that I got a hot flash that fogged up the windows of my car. Seriously. I had to turn on the de-fogger.

Anyway, thought you'd all like to know that I'm still alive today. I'm going to bed now.


Judy said...

this must have happened right after i saw you. i'm so relieved nothing worse happened!

Cheasty said...

yeah, it was. i still can't believe i didn't hit anybody. if the timing had been even a split second different, whammo. i was high on life for about 24 hours afterward!

Alison said...

yeah to this whole getting-to-keep-living thing! definitely not underrated in my humble opinion.

Craig said...

Are you taking driving lessons from me and mom? oh, wait... no, if it had been one of us (mainly, but that, i mean me)... well.. you know my track record.

Glad to hear it all turned out ok!