How Many Lives Have I Used Up?

For months, I’ve been planning a trip to San Francisco for a reunion trip with an old high school friend who had flown in from Florida. Monica was going to a jazz festival in Olympia and since I’m not a huge jazz fan, it was an ideal time for me to go on my own little trip.

I left around 1:30 on Tuesday after the Medical Mission talk with Dr. Kahn. (which was very good, by the way) and headed south. I stopped for gas in Weed and proceeded down the 1-5. I came to a construction area where the speed limit dropped to 55. Being paranoid about the double fine thing, I put my car on cruise and got into the right lane. Traffic was light and I was cruising along, listening to Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road when I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a shiny red Corvette rapidly approaching. At first, I thought he was just going to pass me until I realized he wasn’t getting over into the passing lane nor was he slowing down. I’m not entirely sure what I did, but I think I moved over to the right of my lane in hopes that he would just go ahead and go around me.

The next thing I knew I felt him hit the left rear fender and I just kept hearing crunching and scraping as his car dragged along the driver’s side of my car, bounced off the front left fender, spin around in front of my car, roll once onto the shoulder, then again into the ditch where it slammed sideways into a tree and immediately burst into flames. My first thought was NOT to run the aid of the driver, but a series of three thoughts:
1. They’re toast
2. What idiot drives a car like that? They don’t deserve to own it.
3. I can’t believe I’m still on the road and upright.

Yes, he’s alive and well

I immediately pulled over, shaking so badly I could barely dial 911. I couldn’t tell the dispatcher where I was, exactly because I didn’t see a mile marker or any type of landmark. A minute later, a CHP came out of no where, spotted the burning wreckage and jumped out of his car. Since my car was pulled up on the side of the road I didn’t think he knew that I’d been hit. When I went to tell him, he told me to go back to my car because he expected the fire to get worse and would probably explode. That’s when I saw the driver lying on the ground, rolling around. He was wearing camo pants and no shirt. He had no injuries that I could see and I was stunned that he managed to get out.  I thought for sure he was burned to a crisp inside the car. I was still shaking and upset and started yelling at him. What the hell is wrong with you? You nearly killed me! I was so mad I wanted to go over and kick him in the head, but, instead, I went back to my car and waited. Not a minute later, thick plumes of black smoke and flames blazed from the wreckage.

When the cop finally came over to me, he asked me a bunch of questions.
“Did you see anyone else in the car?”
” No, I hadn’t even seen one person in the car.”
“Could this be a case of road rage? Had you seen him earlier in the day?”
“No, I hadn’t.”
Then I asked him some questions.
“Was it his car?”
“We think it may be stolen.”
“Well, he sure as hell was driving it like it was stolen.”

After an hour or so, I decided to continue my trip. I drove the battered car, hoping the door would stay shut and the wheel well wouldn’t collapse completely. I went to the Redding airport, left the car in the parking lot, and rented another car to go to San Francisco. As I drove to SF I thought about how worse this could have turned out had I been on the motorcycle or even had my arm out the window. Fortunately, it was so hot outside that I’d kept the window closed and the air conditioner running.

I’m still waiting for my Guardian Angel to send a letter of resignation.



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