MY CRASH AND I   Leave a comment

People have asked me to write about my crash (April 15, 2015). Be careful what you ask for. It has come to some 17 pages. Right now it’s posted on forgivenessoptions.com for those who would like to see the whole thing.To give you a sense of what you’re in for if you go there, I’m posting the first few paragraphs here.

To get to it, click on my web site and choose the tab that says “Crash.” If you read the whole thing, or just scroll to the end, you’ll find a place where you can add a comment. Or I’d be happy to see a comment here.

Here, then, are the first few paragraphs.

MY CRASH AND I: WHAT I LEARNED FROM TOSSING MY ACURA IN THE AIR
In five minutes my Acura RSX would be spinning and bouncing more than eight feet in the air with me in the driver’s seat. How to describe the noise? Imagine being inside a huge tin can filled with pebbles bouncing down a bumpy road. Bang, clatter, crash, rattle, even crackle! The noise!

But I didn’t know it as I waited for the left-turn signal to turn green. Just a short ride south on Audubon Road, a right turn onto Engler Boulevard, left on Chestnut Street and I’d be within sight of home. A nice quick nap and then two wonderful unscheduled days ahead to work on my writing projects. It was a good day, April 15, 2015, I’d just had lunch with women friends followed by a painless visit to the periodontist. Maybe this was a slower route home, but more peaceful than route 41. Looking back, maybe “peaceful” wasn’t such a good choice, but I’d have plenty of time later for “What ifs.”

So far, you can rely on the relative accuracy of my report. From here on in, remember that memory is not a manila folder in an internal file cabinet, but a constantly modified creation. I do have the reports of a couple of eye witnesses, enough so I know that what I recall doesn’t meet with what I see when I drive past the spot now. It’s enough to know I couldn’t have been airborne more than three seconds if it’s true that’s how long air bags remain deployed. It’s enough to know there weren’t as many trees to avoid as my memory conjures.

It was as if a heavy dark comforter suddenly fell away from my eyes and I saw the last of a line of cars directly in front of me. Unspoken words travel in milliseconds through the brain. “I did it. I fell asleep. I can’t hit those cars.” I swerved off the road to the right, taking a piece of the bumper from the car in front of me. I only know that’s true, because the insurance company paid him some $200 for the damage. “Was he mad? I asked later on in my recovery. The answer was “no.” I can’t imagine what it must have been like for him, not only suddenly to be hit ever-so-mildly from behind, but to be on the sidelines to witness my flight. I do know it was traumatic for the witnesses I met later. I remember steering like crazy to avoid trees, saying to myself “I’ve got to get my foot to the brake, but I have to keep steering.” Then I was flying and rotating in the air, saying “Oh My God!” No, I wasn’t praying. I was curious. What an amazing thing was happening. No, I wasn’t in fear of dying. The noise was even louder as I seemed to bounce, and then suddenly it was over. I was sitting right side up in the driver’s seat of my Acura which, as I saw in the photos later, looked like a tin can ready for recycling.
I think my first thought was “OK. Just relax and let them take care of you.” Or maybe it was “There’s black smoke. I’ve got to get out. It’s going to burst into flames.” I do know my thoughts were interrupted by a kind man whose name I later learned was Frank. He reached in through what was left of the passenger side window and took my hand. “Just stay still. 911 has been called. Help will be here in seconds.” It must have been very uncomfortable for him leaning through that broken remnant of a window and – as he later reported – holding my hand that was gritty with shattered glass. “Did I hurt anyone else?” I asked. Hearing his answer “no,” I relaxed easily into total relief and dependence on my potential caretakers.

“I deliberately kept asking you questions,” he reported. I remember some of what he asked, like “Where do you live?” I know he asked me, “Are you married?” because he later confirmed my answer, “No, I’ve been happily divorced since 1976.” He didn’t appreciate my humor when I said, “I think I’ve totaled my car.” One can’t blame him for thinking my brains were scrambled, given the surprise of seeing a “little lady” alive in the driver’s seat when he feared finding a bloody dead body. (He says he saw a “little lady” in the driver’s seat. What a gentleman, he didn’t say “little old lady.”)Then the wonderful first responders arrived.

(To see the rest of this, head on over to forgivenessoptions.com)

I’ll be back in a day or so with more rules to save you the cost of psychotherapy.

Posted March 24, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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