Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand
There was a wreck on the way home. Not involving me, except by voyeurism. We all drove by the dead car. We drove slow – it had got a streetlight, cut the cord, sheriffs were directing traffic because the light was out – so we had a good look. The hood was ripped up like a poet’s notebook. There was glass on the ground, and in the sunset it sparkled pretty.
I’ve been in three bad wrecks. All of them left me pretty much intact, but each one took something from someone else. The first was ten years ago on Christmas Eve. I was riding with my mother delivering Christmas gifts. A guy runs an intersection and tears up the car. He should have hit me head-on. I shouldn’t have come out the other side. But my mom swerved and he hit her instead. Now she’s had multiple surgeries and spends most days in pain. You wouldn’t know it though. She mostly smiles.
The second wreck was the first day I drove alone. I’d just got my license. I was young and nervous. I stopped at a redlight close to home and suddenly I was in the middle of the intersection. Then, a bit after, I was across the road and up the curb. It took me time to figure out what had happened – I’d been rear-ended. I checked myself out, was mostly okay (though I still have issues from the way the crash re-adjusted my spine), and ran over to the other car. There were two ladies in the car. I talked to the passenger because the driver was hysterical. “Do I need to call an ambulance?” She said no, just that this was her mother’s car, her mother was the driver, her mother was too old, and her mother would now lose her license. The old lady looked like a life sentence. I walked back to my wrecked car to wait for the cops.
And finally, a few years ago, I hit a deer on the highway going 70mph. I was in the fast lane and the deer came from my left. It jumped over the median and landed on the windshield. Because of that, it never tripped the airbags. I have a seared image of a deer hoof breaking through the glass and tearing about six inches from my face. I was briefly unconscious. Thankfully, I kept control and pulled over, spitting out glass I thought for the longest time were my own teeth. I waited for an officer to pick me up (I’ve never had AAA) and he was kind enough to take me to wait at a Cracker Barrel while my family came to give me a ride. On the way, he told me this crazy story: “The saw your deer running around downtown Durham.”
“So it’s ok?”
“Well, yes, but it’s missing one leg.”
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Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami
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“You’re a rotten driver,” I protested. “Either you ought to be more careful, or you oughtn’t drive at all.”F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“I am careful.”
“No you’re not.”
“Well, other people are,” she said lightly.
“What’s that got to do with it?”
“They’ll keep out of my way,” she insisted. “It takes two to make an accident.”