It seems like I’ve posted less during my break from school than I did during the semester. What’s that about? Well, I guess I have been busy, for having been on break. I was back in Illinois for about a week and a half, but my mobility during this trip was a bit more limited than usual. This wasn’t all bad. I still managed to make it up to the Quad Cities for an evening, and spend a little bit of time with each of my siblings. Because I stayed most nights in Paxton, I got to hang out with Bob quite a bit, which was quite enjoyable. I even took him on a ride one morning, when we borrowed a truck from one of our uncles to go pick up some of my belongings that were still in Urbana.
So it snowed quite a bit while I was back, and stayed pretty cold, but we borrowed the truck to go to Urbana on the second of two relatively clear days. The road conditions were pretty good on Route 45 that day, and we cruised along at or near the speed limit most of the way. Just a mile or two south of Thomasboro, however, we suddenly found ourselves sliding out of control on a patch of ice. I had only enough time to let off the accelerator, hoping to regain traction soon, before we drifted into the left lane at an odd angle. We regained our traction at that bad angle, and the truck’s light back end and high center of gravity sent us back-over-front, first into the ditch, and then into the opposite side of the divided highway.
It all happened too fast for us to do much other than brace ourselves for impact, and the only thought going through my head was, “this is going to cause a lot of damage.” I’m still not entirely clear whether the damage I was anticipating was bodily or property. The truck slid to a stop on its passenger side, facing the opposite direction in the lane farthest from where we’d started. Bob and I checked with each other to make sure we were each okay, and as far as we could tell at the moment, we were. In order to get out, we had to climb out through the cab’s broken rear window, as we weren’t going to be able to open either door. I waited for Bob to climb out first, as I was suspended above him by my seatbelt and had to wait until he got out to be able to release my seat belt and find my way out of the car.
To look at pictures of the vehicle after the fact, I have to wonder how we made it out without any major injury. Some of the folks who stopped to help us after the accident mentioned something about me having blood on my forehead as I climbed out, so I worried about whether I’d sustained a blow to the head during the accident. With my previous experience of being ignorant as to the state of my own physical well-being due to a concussion, I suspected it would be best to get checked out at the hospital. I had some soreness in my left shoulder where the seatbelt had forcefully restrained me, but after the EMTs gave me a good once over, they verified that I didn’t seem to have any major injury. At the ER, they x-rayed my shoulder to make sure, and they said that I shouldn’t worry about a CAT scan unless I experienced any post-concussion symptoms in the next 48 hours or so.
So now that I’m back in LA, some folks are calling me “Crash.” I think it might stick. Last week was the two-year anniversary of my motorcycle accident, followed shortly by the twelve-year anniversary of my decision to stop using drugs for recreational purposes. Incidentally, four years ago on MLK day I was pulled over on Route 45 (just a few miles south of where the latest accident took place), where I was given a ticket for speeding and informed that my license was suspended for parking tickets. This driving stuff is hard work.
On Thursday, I’ll get back into the classroom for the final course of my MA degree, a fiction workshop class. That and my thesis work will be how I spend just about all of my free time for the next four months, and then you should all be able to start calling me Master Crash. Meanwhile, back in the Midwest, Bob is on his way to St. Louis for the night, and tomorrow morning he’ll fly to San Diego to get started on his USMC career. Maybe it will work out so that we can attend each other’s graduations in May? We’ll see.