It’s been a few weeks now, so I feel like I can post this without getting too much flack from those that love me. Trust me, I know that I deserve all the flack you want to instill upon me. Perhaps a hug would also do…
It is Monday, March 15th and I am drafting this post about a revelation I had last evening. I am not certain when I will actually set this message free, because I know it will deeply worry some people. Therefore, I need to put some distance between the event and the knowledge of it. Right now it is a little too raw for me, and I think I would be uncomfortable if someone asked me about. Maybe in a few days, a week…whenever you are reading this…I will have come to terms.
I was in Virginia last night. I met a friend for dinner in Greensboro and then decided to hear him play at an open mic event in Martinsville, VA. I knew it was going to be a challenge on a school night, but he seemed worth the lack of sleep I knew would be inevitable. I wanted to hang out with interesting people that evening, and he and his friends seemed like the right crowd.
He is an outstanding drummer and I truly had a lot of fun watching and listening to him play. We then hung out for a couple hours afterward…literally just driving around and talking. I felt like I was back in high school as there was such an innocence about spending time together with someone in that capacity. Nothing more, nothing less; just talking and enjoying the company of another.
I left around 2.30a…way, way later than I had intended. I was tired, a bit wired, and completely sober. I thought I was doing okay driving alone on the dark roads, when the sheer exhaustion just hit me shortly after 3a. I convinced myself to keep driving until 3.30a, and then stop somewhere for gas and a short walk. I opened up the sunroof, cranked the music, and kept going at a nice steady clip of about 90 MPH. This is the way I love to drive, and I felt damn good about it. Drive on.
It was about 3.17a when I must have fallen asleep. Not just a “snap your head back, eyes shut for a second” catnap, but a full-blown fast asleep while driving moment. I woke up as my car was entering a steep embankment and bouncing across the grass towards the guardrail. Snap awake, eyes open, loud noises, damn, damn, damn…Instinct kicks in. Faster pussycat. Yank steering wheel and veer from the rail immediatley on my right and back the opposite direction, Large sign inches in front of me. Grassy mound ahead of me and now the car begins to tilt. Damn, damn, damn. Pay attention pussycat. Pay some freaking attention. Snap back.
I honestly and terrifyingly thought my poor VW was going to flip. Grass, guardrail, sign, hill, metal. Grass, guardrail, sign, hill, metal. Road, where the freaking hell is the road???????? Control. Find the control pussycat. Get. Your. Shit. Together. Now.
Everything happened so fast. It was loud, and visual, and nauseating. As I finally came back onto the freeway, I literally threw the car in park and just sat and breathed. Perhaps hyperventilating is the better word. There were no lights or other cars anywhere in sight. I was certain I had hit the guardrail, as the noise was still reverberating in my head. I thought I should have a flat tire. I could smell my brakes and the awful stench of rubber. I didn’t think me or the car could drive. But we did. Drive pussycat. Drive to safety and figure out how f’d up you really are.
I don’t know why I didn’t just get out of the car there to inspect the damage. “Miss Instant Gratification” should have done so. I just needed to drive away from that spot. NOW. My hands were shaking, my heart was pounding and I was on the brink of tears. I could have been on four blown tires and I would have kept going.
My first thought? WTF am I going to tell Allstate? I had JUST gotten my vehicle back the week before after having side-swiped a parked Escalade and incurring $5000 worth of repairs. This damage was going to be on the same freaking side they JUST FIXED. Damn it, I am an idiot and now Allstate is going to know it.
As I pulled into the nearest gas station I contemplated who I could call. Who would want to hear from me at this ungodly hour if I were going to truly be stranded? Do I have any friends that would drive to Virginia to get me?
I walked around to the passenger side of the car to look at the mess I had made. I just stared. Shock and awe overtook me. I stood there under the bright fluorescent lights for what seemed like an hour. Then I cried. A shocking and sudden force of tears just rolled down my face. Stare. Cry. Moan. Hold it together pussycat.
There was not one scratch on my car. Not one freaking scratch. I had managed to narrowly miss the guardrail completely. I don’t know how. I don’t know the hell that was true. I could still HEAR myself, FEEL myself, SEE myself hit that damn guardrail. I could still feel the car try and flip. Apart from the massive amounts of grass and dirt I found in my wheel wells and stuck in my grill, you wouldn’t know that I had just gone through the single most frightening moment of my life.
Something or someone is trying to tell me something. Slow down. Wake up. Reassess. Prioritize. Too many risks; not enough self-preservation. Second chances rarely roll into thirds.
Every time that singular moment of waking up pops into my head, I get cold. My heart starts pounding and I feel fear. Guardian Angel…you are screaming…and I hear you loud and clear. Pull it together pussycat.