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April 28, 2003

Death Comes for Kati

God: "Grim Reaper, where are all the women? Did you not ... reap them with your grim reaping equipment?"
Grim reaper: "Well I tried to sir, but when I did they just *leapt* over the side - because they have the knowledge of hopscotch."


So, it's not as cool as an alien attack - but it's certainly the most exciting bit of nonfiction I experienced this weekend:

Saturday, 12:45am. I'm driving home, having been rather short on sleep - and rather long on driving - for the last few days. I'm noticeably fatigued. I'm on Ygnacio Valley Road in the Dub-C, nearly at home. I take my seatbelt off at a stoplight to grab a fallen CD case that is rattling around on the floor, and I completely space on putting the belt back on right away. Everything seems groovy at the time, but then it all goes a little haywire.

The only logical conclusion I could draw about what actually happened was that I, for only a second or two, fell asleep at the wheel. The next thing I even know, I am about to jump the curb and smash into a telephone pole by John Muir hospital, going nearly 40mph. I - of course - immediately scream, brake, and jerk the wheel to the left, causing my little truck to go bouncing off the curb and into a spin across YV Road. I know I spun around at least 580 degrees, because my car hit the left-hand side median facing the wrong way, stopping the spin and catapulting me into the passengers seat in a jumble of arms and legs. Even with what I felt was a death-grip on the steering wheel, I managed to get launched out of my chair and smashed into the passenger-side console, where I smacked my face and bit my lip open. But then ... that was it. All was still.

Right away, I had absolutely NO idea what to do. I just kept looking around me, desperately hoping someone would materialize to whom I could shout: "Did you SEE that?!?" But when nobody appeared, I was lost for action. I just sat for a second, like a dunce, trying to take in what had just happened. I let out a couple of weird, involuntary, sob-like sounds (like a small child would make when it accidentally smacks itself in the face with something, and is more overcome with shock and confusion than with physical distress). Then two cars whizzed by, only to make ugly faces at the truck, that was facing the wrong way, and crashed into a median. Luckily, though, those unhelpful motorists reminded me that more of them could come over the hill and smash into me at any time, and that I had better try and move. I untangled myself, and climbed back into the drivers seat. The truck was still working, and so I just kinda started driving again. And it felt really odd.

I was pumped up for hours after that. I was giddy and jittery and all whacked out on adrenaline. I was talking on the phone with Sean at lightning-speed, and moving furniture around my bedroom with super-human strength (at least, by my personal standards of strength). All I could even manage to say or think was just "Oh my God. Un-fucking-believable. Holy shit. Ho-ly shit."

When it was all done, I had damaged the wheels and the alignment on my car, and ended up with a nice big bump on my head and a swollen face. But I couldn't do anything other than go "Wow. oh wowwww..." because that was really all that happened. I could have totally *messed* up a lot of stuff, or really hurt myself or somebody else ... and it just didn't happen. I don't expect that too many seatbelt-less 40mph collisions end all that well, and I can't really understand why mine did. It was such a freaky feeling though, and the more I thought about it, the freakier it got. Even though I was laughing about it only minutes later, that whole thing seriously scared the DAYLIGHTS out of me.

I still wish there had been somebody to which I could have yelled: "Please, PLEASE tell me you just saw that!!" but there was not, so I have to post it here. I guess I always thought that falling asleep at the wheel was kinda bullshit, and didn't actually happen, but I guess I don't really anymore.

Posted by kati at April 28, 2003 09:26 AM


Thank God nothing happened to you. Take care of that noggin' 'hon.

Posted by: kristina at April 28, 2003 10:00 AM

I don't know if it's possible to "white knuckle" a keyboard, but I'm doing just that. My body looms over the computer trying to get my eyes as close to the screen as possible to see if I'm really reading this.

I'm so glad you're okay Kati V.
"I don't expect that too many seatbelt'less 40mph collisions end all that well,..."
Niether do I, but yours did. And thank respective gods for that.

Though, I do think we know some people who watch over us daily, and only get their hands dirty when they have too. And yes - take care of that noggin'.

Posted by: Teddy at April 28, 2003 12:09 PM

..and I just found about about Joel crashing his car the night before on his way home! From what I heard, he also really lucked out. I mean, what are the odds?

Posted by: kati at April 28, 2003 12:45 PM

good job on not getting hurt. you clearly were the hopscotch queen growing up.

everyone has to have one "scary accident" story, and now you have gotten yours over with.

Posted by: didofoot at May 2, 2003 01:42 PM

ps that sounded really flippant, considering how horrified and scared I was while reading your entry. (good use of dramatization, btw.)

Posted by: didofoot at May 2, 2003 02:00 PM