Like my own personal cyclone, spinning, that weightless feeling almost enjoyable right before the centrifugal force engages, pickin’ up momentum, turning into a blur, waitin’ for the first contact. I can still see it all, like a slow motion playback that I’m once again relivin’ through that continuous video loop like sensation that my mind seems fond of doin’ and does oh so well.
Lookin’ up there’s the embankment comin’ at me as the hood crunches with the impact and bits and pieces of fiberglass spray off in shards. And then somebody pushes rewind and I’m back to that initial moment of comin’ round the corner just as the rear tires slip and I’m suddenly lookin’ at the oncoming traffic tryin’ to decide if I’m in their lane or they’re in mine. And then for what seems like the hundredth time in the last ten minutes I’m goin’ into a spin knowin’ that the final blow is immanent and this nonstop visual reenactment keeps goin’ over and over again in my brain.
Yet there’s nothin’ I can do and now thinking about it there was nothin’ that I could a done different. I hadn’t been drivin’ too fast or outta control or even in too much of a hurry. Although it had been raining hard on and off for the last couple a hours and when I came around the turn under the freeway I caught the tail end of the mud and water as it spread across the asphalt and the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Unfortunately I’ve really grown attached to this car and ya know this is what happens when you don’t get the car you wanted in high school – you end up buyin’ it thirty years later – and now I’m standing here a bit dazed by the side of the highway as the traffic backs up and all the drivers and passengers stare. In the distance the highway patrol car with its light’s flashing is making its way towards me, the tires crunching over the broken plastic shards that not so long ago had been my turn signals all the while sounding very loud to my senses which seem to be on overload.
Comin’ off the dirt embankment there’s a telltale trail of debris: small piles of dirt embedded with grass, shredded rubber, glass and metallic blue chips of distressed fiberglass all compose the path that I’d just blazed up one side of the embankment, down the other and across two lanes of traffic to finally rest half on the curb facing the opposite direction that I was traveling in. And as I try and focus I see that the cop is out of his car quickly making his way towards me “you all right?” He asks, his yellow foul weather rain gear a bright contrast to the drab muted colors that the waning light of evening has turned the surrounding countryside into.
“Yeah, I think so.” I tell him. Though to tell you the truth I’m not really sure, hell, I’m not even really sure just what in hell just happened. One minute I was on my way back under the freeway by the eucalyptus trees and the next I’m standing in the breakdown lane surrounded by pieces of what used to be my car.
Of course the rain starts up again and as my heartbeat slows down I’m beginning to feel the cold. Twenty miles outside the city up highway 101 and the world turns green with trees and hills and shit and now this happens. And I know what you’re all thinking – Fromage is talkin’ about fields of grass and rural countryside – like what the hell is he doing out there in the middle-a-nowhere so far from home and the comfort of concrete? And maybe that’s what happened – I lost my bearings when all I saw were trees and rolling hills insteada the trash strewn city streets that I’m so used to driving on – but I don’t really think so.
“You can leave it here.” The cop says “luckily you landed in a parking place.”
And ya know, from where I’m standing the whole fuckin’ place looks like one big parking spot – hell, there’s not even any god damn sidewalks! “Thanks” I tell ‘em and then I notice that my car’s engine is still runnin’ while the radiator gurgles out green anti-freeze like she was bleedin’ to death.
Yet I gotta admit for my money there’s nothing like a crunching metal grindin’ accident to really mess with your mind. I mean it was just so close me getting’ really hurt or worse someone else dyin’ that all that other trivial shit that I’d been buggin’ on is so far gone outta my brain and for once I can actually say that I’m just kinda glad to be alive.
Sitting in the driver’s seat I turn off the ignition and it suddenly all becomes quiet. Lookin’ up I notice the rain as it hits the windshield and when the breeze shifts it starts to come in through the side. “You sure you’re all right?” The cop asks; a look of genuine concern seemingly plays across his face.
“Nothin’ that a tow truck and me getting’ back to the city wouldn’t fix.” Though I gotta admit they appear to make cops a little different out here as he hasn’t once asked me for my ID or even gotten in my face about drivin’ recklessly. Although don’t get me wrong I ain’t movin’ to the country or nothing and diggin’ in my wallet I find the number for my insurance carrier and just thinkin’ about all the phone calls I’m gonna have ta make I sigh knowin’ all too well its gonna be awhile before I get home.
Across the field the trees are movin’ with the wind as dark clouds form in the sky and my fingers sorta fumble as I button my jacket to keep out the damp evening breeze. Up the road in the direction that I was traveling there’s a gas station and some fast food joints whose lit interiors look warm and oddly enough inviting. But I’m gonna wait here with my car, after all she’s dyin’ and I wouldn’t want to leave her here all alone by herself.