Sunday, February 6, 2011

It Happened #19

Well it happened! And, it happened Tuesday! Not last Tuesday but it was a Tuesday.
It is really quite sad, as I had such high hopes that I had moved beyond such nonsense. I guess it was not to be.
Did you notice that last sentence with its trace of denial? The words, “I guess….?” Nope there is no guessing, it is now in the record book and there is no taking it back.
It was later than normal when I stepped outside to start my drive home. To my delight and surprise the darkness had hidden the snow storm. Snow was falling steadily and already the area was blanketed with over an inch. Even at night I don’t think there are many prettier things than a hemlock draped with fresh snow. An hour ago there had only been the promise of the weather man but now the white magic had appeared and was reflecting a sweet illusion that the world had become pure, clean, and for a time the promise of peace would surround us mortals.
The sound of my tires rolling across unblemished snow toward the street was pure delight. I love the snow and I love driving in it. When the snow is fresh, the road noise is almost none existent. It brought back feelings of a past time when as a young teen I took a long walk one night in fresh snow. It was just me and my German Sheppard, Cyrano. We walked with no goal in mind but we walked for hours and nature was balm to my soul that night. Exactly where we walked I cannot remember but that night has left in me a wonderful memory of a peaceful respite from the teenager insecurities I carried.
Driving across town toward the freeway, the snow continued its recital with large heavy flakes peppering my windshield. The temperature was just a mite below freezing and as normal, I was feeling an exhilarated peace. Exhilaration and peace from the outset would seem to be in conflict with each other but both are delightful. Intentionally, I had left the radio off not wanting to miss a moment of my night time drive.
As I merged on to Interstate 5 I picked up speed matching the traffic. Even though I still love this part, tension began to build. I had not really figured out where the sweet spot was for driving in these conditions. Over passes lurk with ice and can put one into a spin quickly. I began to feel comfortable cruising along at 45 miles an hour. Occasionally I had to move out of the slow lane to pass those who thought 35 or 40 was the right speed. Of course I couldn’t stay there because there were those folks who felt comfortable at 50 plus miles an hour and want by.
The miles were ticking by at a comfortable pace. I had eased away from the pack and was now in a comfort zone with no other vehicles close. Up ahead was another bunch of cars and the pack behind pushed me on, closing the gap. The thought crossed my mind, ‘why were there were so many cars on the road at this time of night, in one of Seattle’s somewhat rare snow storms? No answer jumped to the surface. Snow doesn’t change peoples thinking, they still believe they have people to see and place to go. After all I had just seen my people and was now heading home.
I was about half way home when several hundred yards ahead I saw a car spin out, I eased off the gas. My speed slowed to around 35 miles an hour as I approached. He had stopped far off to the left but was perpendicular to oncoming traffic. As I grew closer my stomach tightened when he began to move, heading directly across the freeway, crossing the 4 lanes hidden by the snow. He was coming directly into my line. Stopping was out of the question, so I eased over to the right hoping to make it around him before he reached my line of travel. I had almost made it when his front bumper hit the rear of my truck sending my back end swinging to the right. I quickly turned to the right, compensating. My truck began straightening out. Now my rear end began heading left and picking up speed, cranking the wheel back hard to the other direction was too little too late. My truck ended up going backwards with my headlights facing oncoming traffic. I hit the brakes and eased to a safe stop on the right shoulder.
This is the part I hate, late at night, exchanging information with another person, who is also hating every minute of this. No one was injured, only my truck was damaged, calling the police would have been a waste of cell phone minutes. It would have been hours before someone would have come, if at all. I knew they had real problems to attend to. The whole episode was a bit of an adrenalin rush but mostly just an inconvenience. The other driver felt the same as I about the whole situation. So, within 10 minutes, information had been exchanged and I was turned around heading home. All in all the drive was all what I had hoped for except for the interruption and another dent.
With accident number nineteen behind me and my allocation card punched, I can drive stress free knowing number twenty is a few years off.
One thing nice about driving a 28 year old truck; what’s another dent? Who really cares? Not me.
That night I went to bed with the softness of snow lightly falling and wishing I had a dog to take on a long walk. The next morning I awoke, the quiet was gone and in its place was the banter of rain assuring me the Pacific Northwest was back to normal. Our peaceful interlude had been way to short but I was glad it came, if only for one evening.
Here is the good news. The insurance company paid me $146.00 more than I paid for the old truck 4 years ago, and I get to still drive it. How good of a deal is that?
Number twenty, where are you?


Arkansas Patti said...

Oh no GQ. Now I know why you drive a 28 year old truck. Smart considering your incredible record. You are a dent magnet my dear.
So glad no one was hurt and such a deal with the insurance. Way to go.
Don't worry, I have no chance at your record, you have pretty much put it out of reach.

Wanda..... said...

Well, that truck is earning you money...keep it for sure!

Rose said...

I was so enjoying visualizing the scene until the accident. Sorry to hear about but wooohooo on the fact that your truck is paying for it's self now. Sounds like a good deal to me too.

Hilary said...

I'm glad nobody was hurt. Don't be in such a hurry for #20.. at least enjoy the insurance payment first.

Sylvia K said...

Yep, keep the truck! Glad you weren't hurt! You live in the right part of Seattle -- we didn't get any snow, just more gray skies!! Hope you have a great week!


betty said...

Glad you weren't injured in the fender-bender. We have had snow every few days for the past two weeks and more coming Tuesday night and Wednesday. This year has been unusual because we usually have a layer of ice under the snow, so it doesn't melt as fast. This year, no ice. Hope you have some more, so you can take your walk, with or without a dog.

Choco said...

Did not see that coming... I thought the post was about ice fishing... Well. As long as no one was hurt.... They really should take the number of accidents into consideration while renewing licenses... Wat say? :)

Sandra said...

I think that is the most optimistic story about an accident that I've ever read. You're right -- that's the advantage of driving an old vehicle. It's that first dent on a NEW vehicle that really hurts. But we don't plan on having any of those any more. Used just makes more sense. Glad you are safe and got to enjoy some snow. We definitely have lots of it to enjoy ourselves. Although I think all the plowing has gotten a little old for Hubby, but I am just enjoying the view, most of the time from inside. :)

Mary said...

Glad you made it out all right again, GQ. I grew up with snow and really felt the nostalgia of your teenage walk with the dog (how cool is the name Cyrano!). I also loved reading your previous post about coaching the baseball team to a win. You are 100% right about the best way to help others live up to their potential. Thanks for the tales.

Pat said...

I have never read such a calm and soothing account of a fender bender. I too drive an old car...16 years old. It takes the pressure off of worrying about dings and scrapes!
The 44 inches of snow we've had here so far this year is no longer pretty to me. It's starting to make me a tad testy! I hate being testy.

Grayquill said...

Arkansas Patti: That is okay – it is not a completion but you already knew that. Thanks for stopping by.

Wanda: I thought so…I will follow your advice.

Rose: Yeah it is almost like someone is paying me to drive the little truck :-)

Hilary: I am hopeful there will be no number 20

Sylvia: Yip keeping the old girl.

Betty: I think the snow is gone until next year and I have no dog but I could probably borrow one.

Choco: Ice fishing is something I have yet to do. Are insinuating I shouldn’t have a license? How dare you…:-) I you live far enough away to be out of danger. If you ever come to visit – I am still driving. Hee hee

Mary: Cyrano – big nose – all that…
Thanks for stopping by!

Pat: I did get a bit of an adrenalin rush. 44 of inches of snow? Yikes. My snow shovel isn’t that long. Yeah, I would be testy also. That is way too much snow!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

I'm glad the accident wasn't serious, GQ. At least you were both able to drive away from the scene without having to wait hours for the law, an ambulance, or a tow truck. And your truck sounds like a gem, serving you well and paying for itself.

Loved the vivid description of the snowy scenes. Felt as if I was there.

Grayquill said...

Linda: You are way to kind - thank you!

Wendy said...

Yikes! I would have been terrified!! Glad you were all o.k.!! No one hurt, no ambulance as Linda said.

Snowy evenings can be magical, the air heavy with snow and somehow comraderie with others. I too was unprepared for your story to have taken that "turn", as I was caught up in the magic of the moment.

Wendy said...

Oh and rain the next day? Eeks. You do have changeable weather.

Brig said...

Thanks for visiting my cowcamp blog. Glad that you came to no harm in the fenderbender. It amazes me how people drive in a new snow or the first rain. My dad made sure we could drive most anything, in most any conditions.
Bought my suv ol'Bess used, and have had her 17yrs. Have put 235,000 miles on her, what a gal.

Shrinky said...

Thank goodness no one got hurt, and I think you have a wonderful attitude - so many unintentional prangs end up in unnecessary heated verbal exchanges!

As for the snow - pah - everyone can love it for one day, you may change your mind after several weeks of it!

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

I'm just thrilled that nobody was hurt and your ok. Now the insurance...ya got the deal of the century man!!!

Yep, I'd be lookin' for #20 too!!!

God bless you and have the best day!!! :o)

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

You sure to have a knack of writing excellent descriptive narratives! You are able to engage this reader in a way that makes it a pleasure and fun to read every word! THANKS.