I was driving to work yesterday in typically rainy weather in the Seattle area. I live a bit North of Seattle, where the median home price has dipped into the high $600K’s, ha ha ha so overvalued! ANYway, on the road and driving, and the people in my area drive pretty well. But I did have a moment where I thought, “This is it… I’m going to die.” Adrenaline is an amazing window-cleaner of your soul; I was crystalline in that moment, every image of my sons and my wife and my friends blinked. And I was terrified for a moment, but also had a flash of peace.
I had poured myself a hot cuppa into my insulated travel stein, which keeps the contents near their entry temperature for about 2 hours. It was worth the $7 I paid for it at Value Village, just had to scrape the lipstick off the side and paint over the “DONNA’S DIVORCE PARTY 2005!” on the side. And off I go…
- I was driving down the hill from we I live, and the road winds down and around a number of blind curves. To the right is a guard rail, and beyond it a large ravine, as in 50+-foot steep-roll to the bottom-ravine. The rail is scarred and bent with reminders of speed and inattentiveness. A car coming up the hill crossed the centerline about one wheel’s-width into my lane. I swerved and blurted “HEY! Dude.” Nobody wants to die on the way to work, let alone be on the way to work.
- Around the bend, near the bottom, is an on-road that is a cut-over street from a neighborhood that sits beneath this hill. That cut-over helps people back in the corner of those ‘hoods to bypass about a half mile of turns, but only legally allows the person to turn to the Right, or DOWN the hill. The person at the intersection, coming up from the ‘hood, darted out to make a hard left UP the hill. The rain and traction didn’t mix, and I began to brake, hard, while the car behind me approached my rear-bumper at about 40mph. A car coming up the hill thought coming into my lane was a good move (it wasn’t), but I swerved, missed the cars, and horns were a-blaring. Heart’s racin’ now.
- Around the next curve is an elementary school, and is not in busing zone, so it’s 95% drop-off. Some people park across the street and walk over from a large lot. This was the drop-off period so there are easily another 300 cars in that spot in about 15min. There’s a light at the cross-walk, and to the East of that light is the school lot’s entrance. So if people are crossing, the light’s red, and the cars can turn into the school with no traffic. As I’m going 20 because of the School Zone, the guy behind me gets impatient and wants to cut ahead… As he starts to, a car pulls out of the parking lot across from the school and the cutter gets so close to my car I can smell the scent of his vape contraption (“Slavic Tramp”). He brakes, falls in line, and we’re back to it. This isn’t even a half-mile from home yet…
- I get through the left-turn which leads me eventually to work, and make a jaunt to the right at the next light. As I yield to the car coming across (per the signage), the guy behind me jams his horn like he’s in a jazz trio and starts gesturing as if his anti-spaz meds haven’t kicked in. I’m still rolling, just slower than 40, so I point to the Yield sign with my middle finger, which he takes as a conductor’s cue to hit that F# from the Kia again. I accelerate, swerve around another car that decided to just pull off with no warning, and a teaspoon of molten coffee escaped the travel-mug’s sippin’ hole. With the heat of nearly 3 suns, the drop hung in mid-commute, consumed enough gravity to turn downward, and landed directly on the most-specific spot of a man’s lap that hot liquids can cause the most discomfort. I thought “This is it… I’m going to die.”
I didn’t die. I yelled “WHY THE SHIT, AMERICA!?” and almost rear-ended this guy pulling into the gas station without his blinker on.
I did start draping a kitchen towel across my lap while commuting, however. Can’t be too careful.