‘Cause I’ve never seen so much, never seen so much?

Phaedra posted her story of a car crash. I have long ago lost my LJ account information, and frankly I hate posting there so we’re going Usenet old-school with a cross-post!* Since posting concern and relief is repetitive and hopefully goes without saying, I will instead post my own story of car crash. It has some parallels, and I think it’s pretty funny. Also, it contains the proudest moment of my life so far.

Now the longest logmyrythems post so far had musical accompaniment and since this is a lot longer, I think it’s a good custom to keep around. Enjoy the oddly circus-y sounds of Barenaked Ladies. (And listen again when you are not distracted by my story for the “boy named sue”-ish twist ending)

In the Summer of 1996 I had been driving surface streets for about 6 months. About 4 in the afternoon I was leaving the house of my debate partner after trying my best to stay helpful at a work session, despite the fact that I was moving to a different town before the summer was over. Both of the camps that I had gone to were attended by other people on the team, so really I wasn’t providing any unique benefit besides my uncanny ability to break dining room chairs. So, headed across Dale Mabry Intersection on Bearss Rd. I had a green light. Imagine my surprise when an Eldorado hits me from the side. (Not that the Elderado was a surprise, Florida is littered with them.) My memories are pretty vague, but I do recall being aware of a large white thing off of the port bow and before you could make an Ishmail joke there was a good bit of nothingness. The next flash of consciousness came with me sitting in a car staring at a concrete pole, noticing that the door is a lot closer to my thigh than it used to be and the windshield has a pretty snowflake at about eye level. The engine was still running and as I turned it off I recall pondering why the fuel line hadn’t cut off in the crash the way I had previously thought it was designed to. Of course, then I realized I wasn’t being burned around the face from the airbag the way I was supposed to be either. Hmm. Well, Michaele will certainly want to know about this.
RING “Hello?” “Hey, I need…um…help. At the corner of “Amoco and Visionworks.” (It wasn’t until the next day I realized what I said or how terribly unlike roads those are.) “I’ll be right there”
Now Dale Mabry is a pretty busy road (in fact it is technically a highway despite having dozens of stoplights) with 6 northbound lanes at this point. My Jeep was fully loaded with unbound pieces of paper upon which I had printed obscure facts. In the crash the tailgate opened and spewed these across about 5 lanes, causing quite a traffic mess. On the other hand, at this point I had exhausted myself and decided the best thing to do was to take a nap until Michaele got there. The sheriff** had other plans. I woke up to him banging on the window and shouting at me. I tried opening the door and found I didn’t have the strength. (I attributed it to the fact that I had just woke up, but in fact the door frame had been reconfigured so that the door would never open again.) I remember him asking me what tow truck company I would like to use. It was an odd question for which I had no real answer. At this point Michaele called the cell phone while driving to me (possibly for the hundredth time, only this time I was awake for it). Trying to talk to Michaele and pick a towing company is a lot of pressure for a sleepy guy, so I handed the cell phone containing Michaele to the Sheriff through the brand new hole in my roof. Considering the matter quite taken care of, I went back to sleep. The Paramedics had other plans. I woke up to people talking about my wallet and tugging at my jeans’ back pocket. Finding it hard to care about anything at all, I decided to just let them have it. Instead they kept tugging at the pocket until they dragged me over to a wooden plank resting in the passenger seat. Yes, I was indeed hoisted by my own petard**. They dragged me out the passenger door, and made the eminently reasonable decision to let the wallet stay sandwiched between a wooden plank and this massive meatbag. They drug me into the Ambulance, and it was here where I did the thing I am most proud of. Running down a checklist of questions for the recently crashed, eventually the EMT asked “Have you passed out?” Now, at this point I really have no idea. My head is foggy, and of a slightly different shape than it was a few hours ago. I am strapped to a board with day-glow™ foam padding acting as horse blinders. A disembodied voice asks me if I have passed out and while I don’t have the mental faculty to connect my naps in the car with the concept of passing out I can say this: “If I passed out, how could I remember it?” Overly logical, snarky, and almost entirely unhelpful. I can’t think of any way I could be more me, and this in a time of personal injury, confusion, and crisis. In retrospect I really am just blissfully happy with myself there. And knowing that nobody else is impressed at all, I will move the story along to the Hospital. In the hospital Michaele told me the following information she had gathered from people on the scene. The Sheriff was one of 3 law enforcement personnel who all happened to be watching the intersection at the time. This was fortunate for the obvious reasons, but it was also useful for insurance reasons since this was entirely the other guys fault, yet my memory would have been no help at all and the story so stupid nobody would believe it coming from anyone other than the cops. The other driver was on the same road as I, traveling in the opposite side. He was in one of the two left turn lanes which would take him across my lanes. As I mentioned, I had a green light, but he decided to turn left anyway. For those of you not familiar with The location, there are two left turn lanes, and two through lanes, and one right turn lane on each side. Given the size of the intersection there are no discretionary left turns, and he did indeed have a red turn arrow. This did not deter him. In fact, the 3 cars who were in front of him did not deter him, as he drove out of the turn lane in which he was waiting, raced into the intersection in a through lane, and then turned left across half of the intersection and immediately into me. Now, a Grand Cherokee is a lot of mass, and a Cadillac is too. so when they hit each other they do something like this:


So why couldn’t he wait his turn? “I was late to a party, and I was in charge of bringing the dip.” I thought Michaele was going to kill him.
* I am fully aware that this bears no resemblance to a usenet cross-post, but such is the advantages of a hyperlink. ** By the way, it turns out that Sheriff is a truncation of “Shire Rife,” The person responsible for executing the King’s law scripts in 12th century England. Totally unrelated, but I like entomology, it is rare that you learn something so interesting in a law school class, and it’s my story. *** As long as we are having fun with words, just go ahead and look up petard. Cute folksy saying worthy of Garrison Keeler, or vulgar expression obfuscated by ignorance?

1 Comment

  1. RM said,

    August 23, 2005 @ 6:01 am

    For the record, At a function this past summer, Michaele claims that when I called her there was nothing but silence and that whole “Corner of Amoco and VisionWorks” thing was not said. This may put a lot of what I remember into doubt, including the proudest moment of my life.

    Also, there is no longer an Amoco there, should you decide to create an Artisinal tour group.

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