Thursday, September 06, 2007

15 Years Ago Today

The day I almost died.

To make a bizarre story short: I was driving on Interstate 280 in Daly City after Bar Time. I had spent the night in S.F. on a date with someone who was substantially younger than me... and eventhough I had met her in a record store and she was into Nick Cave, I realized that night it wasn't going to work when she said she'd never seen The Brady Bunch.

Anyway, as I was driving along in the fast lane, a car in the slow lane ahead of me decided to make a u-turn on the freeway. You read that correctly: A CAR IN THE SLOW LANE DECIDED TO MAKE A U-TURN ON THE FREEWAY.

Since the car was ahead of me, I watched as the driver made the left hand turn, crossed over the middle lanes, and came at me head on in the fast lane. I was, like, "What the fuck!??" I slammed on my brakes but we still collided at a good rate of speed.

After the impact, I was stunned (Thank Dog for seat belts...) and stumbled out of my car just in time to watch as 4 or 5 Hispanic dudes bailed out of the car that collided with me... They ran across the freeway and disappeared through the bushes on the far side of the freeway. Yup, the assholes abandoned the car after the collision and didn't even stop to see if I was okay. I was, like, "What the fuck!?? (I learned later that the car had been stolen in Marin City.)

I'm sure I was in shock, and my chest hurt, so I leaned against the guardrail on the freeway's center divide a few feet behind my car. A minute or so later another car traveling in the fast lane came speeding upon the scene and slammed into my car and the abandoned one (which were blocking the fast lane) and cars went flying everywhere.. The 3rd car went flying across the freeway and smashed into a light pole on the far side. I was, like, "What the fuck!??" I sometimes think what would have happened to me if I had stayed in my car... I probably wouldn't be typing this right now.

When the CHP arrived on the scene they were dubious about my explanation of events (u-turn.. on the freeway... head on collision.. Hispanics fleeing the scene... a 3rd car crashing into the scene, etc)... but their attitude changed since it was obvious that nothing else could explain the scene.. and I think my version of events was somewhat supported by the driver of the ill-fated 3rd car whose car was wrapped around a light pole.

Long story short: I declined an ambulance ride to the hospital (STUPID) but the CHP "kindly" said they could only give me a lift to the next freeway exit. I was, like, "What the fuck!??" So there I was at, like, 4:00AM in the morning at a Denny's in Daly City, my chest hurt, and no one I called from a pay phone (pre-cell phone days!) was answering (including my parents)... I was, like, "What the fuck?!!" Thankfully, Big Wayne answered his phone and he came to my rescue... and that's the night Big Wayne saved my life.

Long story short: Since I stupidly declined an ambulance ride on the night of the crash, it took me a day or so to discover I had a cracked sternum.

A week or so after the crash, I visited the carcass of my car (R.I.P. Festiva) at the junk yard to retrieve whatever crap I had in it... I pressed eject on the cassette player to retrieve the tape that was playing at the moment of the crash. It was a cassette of the Sisters Of Mercy - Vision Thing album..... and what song was playing at the moment of impact??

'Detonation Boulevard'

I shit you not.

At the junk yard the guy said how lucky I had been, because usually when a lightweight car like the Festiva got hit head on, the driver and / or front passenger would be crushed by the engine and dashboard smashing back into them.

Fifteen years later, and I'm just happy to be here. Cue Sisters Of Mercy.

"On Detonation Boulevard... Bang bang..."