Sep 5, 2016

Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have

Hendrix. You may wonder what that has to do with what I'm about to tell you, but first, watch/listen to this link.

That's kind of close to the sound I heard just before my car spun out of control yesterday. WHUMPWHUMPWHUMP!

I was doing about 70-80 mph (maybe a little slower after I heard that sound) coming home from Hampton Beach when I heard what I thought must be a loud motorcycle, or perhaps a traffic helicopter.  I even remember thinking "Oh, no, I hope my engine isn't blowing up". Looked in the mirrors. Out the sunroof. Nothing.

Then suddenly I heard squealing tires, felt myself moving quickly across I 95 from the next-to-the-last lane to the left, and backwards down a hill, into some trees. I have a vague recollection of hitting the brakes and wondering if I should or shouldn't do that.

And then I was sitting in the car, with it still running, air conditioner still on, and everything totally normal, except that I was in the woods.  I sat there for a moment, and had started to call my wife, when a man ran down the hillside. "Oh, that's nice," I remember thinking, "Just like those people that flipped over that guy's car." He looked concerned. I thanked him and assured him I was fine, got out, and looked at the car with him as another man ran up.

I told them I guessed I'd call AAA, and have the car towed out of the forest.  "Have you tried to drive it out?" asked the first man. I hadn't, but figured I"d humor him.  To my surprise, it pulled right out and drove easy-as-you'd-like up the small hill. I parked on the side of the highway and thanked them both. Then I called Kathy.

"I have some bad news and some good news," I said. The bad news is our tire is ruined. The good news is I just spun across three lanes of traffic--- and I'm fine. And the car seems ok." Considering that it was spinning, I"m sure I went into the far left lane, too. So that would cover all four lanes of I-95. On labor day weekend! I wouldn't call this a near-death experience, because it happened so fast and it's not like my life flashed before my eyes or something. Having just come back from Story Land in NH, I'd compare it more to an amusement park ride than something frightening. But it's on further reflection, in hindsight, that it becomes a little more harrowing.

The best way I can describe this feeling is to compare it to riding along on a fast but smooth trail on a bike when a sudden cliff appears out of nowhere. You do a front flip and land perfectly fine after clearing a large field of boulders that could easily have broken your limbs, or worse. You know you've just been very lucky. Watched over by God, even. But life was normal before, and it's normal now---except now you have a shredded tire and a spare tire on your car (a pretty boring part of the story. The state police stopped and ran their lights so I wouldn't be run over while I changed the "flat"---I didn't even have to file a report). I mangled the metaphor (and the tire) but you see what I me

I've said it here before. Everything could be over in an instant. But, thankfully, it wasn't yesterday.

Call it luck. Call it coincidence. But I'll call it God looking out for me. Whether that means guardian angels, or providence, or the ordering of the universe, I'll leave to someone more theologically astute. What I know is a few days ago, we were driving this car down Mt. Washington. The day after that, driving in the dark on this same highway on the way back from North Conway. Why didn't the tire blow out then? Why didn't any cars hit me---or why didn't I hit them? Why didn't I hit a larger tree---or any trees, really? I'm not sure if I'm more thankful that I"m OK or that I didn't hurt someone else.

So dramatic, and yet, so... can I say uneventful? I thanked God as I drove home on a slower road---then we went for ice cream.

My wife got stung by a bee at the ice cream place.

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