Today was one of those days, which for me happen more often than not, in which you wake up before you should, for whatever reason, struggle to get to sleep again, only to wake up later than you’d hoped, sluggish and achy, but with ample reason to get a move on.
The getting-a-move on (which should’ve included showering, food, coffee, etc.) was distracted by my recently-acquired internet, specifically email and the all-consuming allure of Facebook. Finally, with only 20 minutes left before I was supposed to be somewhere, I dressed and got ready.
I would write about getting stuck in the parking lot, again, but, you might be able to tell from my tone, it happens a lot, which is why I have a bag of cat litter in the back of my Toyota 4Runner–one of my downstairs neighbours introduced me to its traction-lending properties. It’s now more all over the back of my truck and not so much in the bag, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Wary of the sketchy winter condition of the road I would normally take, I took a substitute, which was acceptable and safe. The trouble happened when I turned off of it on the other side, however. Only a few hundred metres onto the road, which I assumed was well-enough traveled as to melt any underlying ice, I was beginning to speed up again when I felt the wheels lose their traction under me.
I knew immediately I wouldn’t be able to regain control, but I tried anyway. “Steer into the skid” always runs through my head in such moments, not that they are plentiful, but I can’t figure out which way is into the skid. Sure enough, traction was not to be had and control not to be regained.
Before I could predict what would happen, I found myself spinning to face the direction I had come. Powerless as I was to stop the skid, momentum carried me across the (thankfully) empty opposite lane and into the snow-filled ditch on the other side, where it promptly deposited my beautiful Trixie Toyota on her passenger side. I was left hanging by my seat belt, gravity having dropped my loose belongings against the passenger door, except my BlackBerry, which, of course, I had grasped tightly throughout the whole ordeal.
The passenger window all of a sudden seemed very far below me, brownish plow-cast snow packed tight against it under the weight of the vehicle. Something took over and I knew I had to get out. Seatbelt unbuckled and feet on the frame of the passenger-side door, I tried to open the driver’s-side door, but couldn’t lift it and get myself out at the same time. Who knew doors were that heavy?!
A black-toqued man in a Jeep had been behind me, had seen the whole thing, and was now hurrying across the road towards me. With him holding the door up, I was able to hitch myself out of the car. Momentarily stunned and beginning to shake, I paused, unsure of what to do next, till he calmly directed me to slide down the roof into the snowbank on the other side. I started to cry as I followed him to his car, where he immediately began calling people to help.
My brain cleared enough to call Mo, the friend I was on my way to meet. Telling her about the ordeal that had just occurred both gave license to my emotion and helped me process it. I knew she’d come and help me with whatever I needed, but meanwhile I was in good hands. Matt, my rescuer, called a tow truck and the police, then waited and chatted with me in the warmth of his Jeep for them to arrive. Meanwhile, countless numbers of people driving by slowed to peruse the scene, or come to a full stop to ask if everyone was alright. Matt started simply nodding and pointing at me as I smiled and waved from the passenger seat. Nothing like a car in the ditch to bring out the concerned citizens of the H.C.!
The police officer arrived first, and led me to his car to wait for the tow truck. The way things proceeded, I didn’t get the chance to thank Matt and shake his hand. I hope I get the chance to thank him properly someday. Maybe I’ll track him down and offer him and his wife fish and chips at The Brew’n Arms.
It’s so odd to see the bottom side of something as large as a truck facing you, especially one you’ve had for only a couple of weeks. I felt strangely protective and concerned. I did have a great view of my spare tire, though, which I was previously unaware of!
When Trix was hauled out, she was running fine and only showed a few dings along her right side, which was incredible for what had happened. Still, Tow Dude Steve and Mr. OPP thought it best that I get it towed directly to the garage for a check-up, just in case. Mr. OPP very considerately drove me to my destination, after writing down the particulars of coming for Fish ‘n’ Chips at TBA.
Mo was surprised to find that I was still willing to sing with her when I arrived late to the lunch event she had invited me to. Sing I did, however, heartened by whatever adrenaline seems to drive me in the wake of a crisis.
If flipping my car was the most unexpected event of the day, certainly the most intriguing (though expected it was not) was finding the woman who had taught me half of Grade 5 and all of Grade 6 sitting on the other side of Mo. Ironically enough, it was in her class, during one of the many music hours she made us participate in, that the student sitting beside me turned to me and matter-of-factly stated, “You know you can’t sing, right?” “Yeah”, I replied.
Over 12 hours later, I am driving a car rented from the garage, while Trixie awaits a full inspection of her driveability. I expect to bring her home tomorrow. I was blessed to in Mo’s care for the rest of the afternoon and evening, a treatment complete with tea and cookies and dry socks, not to mention the delicious and inspiring dinner.
Today I am thankful for cushioning snowbanks, kind strangers, cops that expect spin-outs in this weather, the gift of music, good food, and for friends. And today I join the ranks of those who are wishing for spring to come as soon as possible!