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Thursday, June 17, 2010
Yesterday I drove my parents' Pontiac Vibe off the road and put into the ditch. On Highway 59, on a clear yellow day, with train tracks on my left and and a low green crop field on my right, I was thinking about last Sunday's episode of Treme. I'd been thinking about the last two days since I'd seen it and the story still lingered with me. John Goodman, it was so sad. He didn't seem sad. He moped a lot and he was upset, but hell. And it was sad to me because I saw that the show was looking likely to be a tragedy. Six months after the floods in New Orleans, all these people still there because they're survivors, but they don't realize the water's still creeping up behind them. So, there was John Goodman, drowned on a clear sunny day like today, and Kim Dickens, the roof of her house caving in after another storm. And I knew there was a third storyline from the episode that resonated with me the same way, but I couldn't remember it. I was a little tired, had rolled out of bed just in time to drive to my counseling appointment in Janesville without showering or eating and I felt exhausted, knew that hoowee, I was tired, and I was just outside of my hometown now, on my way back through before heading to Tosa for my job. But I couldn't remember that third storyline. And then I'm going off the road and in less than a second realize that I'd been sleeping and jerk the wheel too hard back onto the road.
This is how a friend of mine caused an accident in high school that lost him the use of his legs for most of a year, took an eye from a friend of his and ended the lives of two people in another car. He was choppered out of the scene and we thought he was going to die for a night.
What happened to me, as best as I recall, is this: the wheels locked and I skidded 360 degrees in the highway. First I thought I might flip the car, but then I felt that it wanted to stay on the ground. Then I thought I was just going to end up on the other side of the road. There was an oncoming car, but it was a safe distance away. The Vibe kept its skid up, now going backward and then I sunk off the road. Without lurching, nice and easy, the back of the VIbe hit the bushy far wall of the ditch and then stopped. The car turned off. I didn't even have whiplash.
The car started but it wouldn't pull itself out of the ditch. I got out and two cars pulled over immediately. I told them I was fine and sat on the hood. I was fine. I thought to myself that I ought to feel scared, but I didn't. I just wanted to get out of there and the tow didn't take 15 minutes to get there. He took a look at the car after he pulled it out. He said the fender might be cracked, but maybe it was just a mark that would rub off. The car was perfect, not even a dent or a scratch on the body. The Obama/Biden sticker was slightly torn off the bumper. I drove home in the same car.
My counselor had told me, a little less than an hour before, that he was proud I was doing so good. I'd taken up two jobs, started and nearly completed the first draft of a screenplay about high school, and was taking my blog a little more seriously, doing these circulars, which he called "rectangulars." He asked me if I was sleeping well and I said that I wasn't sleeping as much as I should, but that's because of all the things I want to do in a day. I want to read half a book, watch a good movie, write ten to twelve pages, work an eight hour shift, and hang out with my friends in a perfect day, but there is no day long enough. I said I slept like a baby in Sean, Tanya, Pat's hideaway bed, though its too small for me. He said he could tell I was doing better, he poured me a cup of black coffee, my drink of choice lately, he shook my hand, I talked to his secretary to set up another appointment in a month.
I got scared last night, thinking "right now, I could be in a hospital. Instead, I'm eating Honey Bunches of Oats. I could have killed someone. I could have fucked my life up for good." I thought about the empty spaces on 59 and gave the chance of fucking my life at something like 5% when falling asleep behind the wheel. I'm glad I didn't, but I'm not scared anymore. I should have written this last night. It would have been better, but I was thinking today that since we're circulating these fliers, we should probably post something on the blog. Someone asked me what the focus was today. I said we'll see. A guy I work with looked at the flier and said, "You know Sean Williamson? The guitar player." Hahaha. I wonder if there's another me out there too.