On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…

Last night, after a fabulous outing (with my aunt and uncle, the Austrian Hordes, Schatzy and Squink) to the wonderful and gorgeous Pinto Creek in Haunted Canyon Squink and I were on our way home… driving along on what I now know is the Red Mountain Freeway… no other cars to be seen in front of us or behind us, mere hints of the mountains visible in the dark night.  I was driving in my preferred lane for distance driving on multi lane freeways, the one just next to the outside lane.

Suddenly, a car speeds past me on our right, the kind of speeds that means that it was probably over 100 mph… though I don't know, it was fast, shockingly fast, and I thought to myself  out loud “w…”. The rest was supposed to be “…ow” but I did not get that far because that car drove straight into the median wall and all I saw were sparks and smoke and the car spinning what seemed like at least 7 times and frighteningly in my direction.  I started braking, terrified the car would spin into Squink and I….  I would say it stopped a mere 50 or so feet. It was smoking, facing the wrong direction in the middle of the road… I was frozen with fear, time stood still and tears ran down my face. Squink did not see any of this thanks to the wonders of a gaming device that had absorbed all his attention.

I know we are supposed to stop and render aid but I had no clue where on this freeway we were, there were no car lights coming up behind us and I had a small child in the car with me… I decided the best thing I could do (for all of us) was to drive on to the next exit as I dialed 911 with hands shaking so bad I can't believe I actually pushed the right buttons… it felt like forever to reach the next exit and let the dispatcher know where the accident was. I was a mess, I could not give clear directions using proper names… I had to say things like “I am at the 202 and Recker”, “the accident is east of me”, the “202 north of the 60” The 202 is a circular freeway and was thus very confusing to the woman who had to deal with my phone call…

I hope this was the right choice. I don't know, I was up, off and on, all night with crash images in my dreams.

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2 thoughts on “On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair…

  1. Not knowing where you were means a lot in this context. Furthermore, it doesn't sound to me like you had any aid to offer; you are simply not equipped for the situation you met. I do think that you could very well have traumatized Squink, had you handled things differently. As it is, the trauma to you sounds significant. Making the phone call was enough; it was _all_ you could reasonably do.

    I think it's normal to revisit things with an idea to what we might have done that would be heroic. But we're not here to be heroes. We're here to be fully human, with all the limits and glory that implies. I hope you'll mother yourself through this as gently and effectively as I know you mother Squink. I'll keep you in my prayers.

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  2. getting some perspective on what it must have been like for the people who stopped to help me. I remember one of them had kids, I could hear a baby crying.

    I was on a fairly deserted stretch too, but lots of people stopped. In your case, I believe someone else probably was able to, and did stop. Because people want to help.

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