Thursday, August 10, 2006

Hey Buddy! I Have A Cell Phone, And I Am Not Afraid To Use It!

"Reckless automobile driving arouses the suspicion that much of the horse sense of the good old days was possessed by the horse."


Sigh. Something happened yesterday (Wednesday) that both frightened, and angered me. I think it would have inspired those emotions in anyone. Here's what happened. Alan and I drove from Berkeley, down to Castro Valley to check our PO Box. It is about 19 miles south of Berkeley. After we picked up the mail, we continued on with our plans to go across the bay to San Francisco. We got onto Hwy 580 heading westbound, it was about 10:00 am, and there was hardly any traffic, so good for us, it was going to be a pleasant ride.

We were driving along, talking about a recent episode of ABC's, Extreme Home Makeover, when all of a sudden a black Ford "F" series pickup truck crossed came up behind us at a high rate of speed, passed us on the left, clearing us by about 4 feet, and exited off the freeway at 150th avenue. There was nowhere to go. There was a white SUV in the left lane, and we were in the far right lane, if we would have swerved, we would have hit the retaining wall. If we would have hit the brakes and locked them up, we would have more then likely spun, and hit the white SUV. Alan, thought quick on his feet. He applied light pressure to the brakes, and gripped the wheel...really tight. It was too damn close. You know? I think there is a good possibility that if I had left the house as little as 3 seconds earlier, or did one thing a little differently then I did, I would more then likely be dead. Sigh.

As I saw the truck coming across the lanes in front of us, I tensed my whole body up, raised my legs up on the seat in front of me, and prepared myself for what I thought just might be the end. I remember thinking about Elvis being home alone, with no one to take care of him, and then I thought to myself, "Please don't let Alan be in any pain." Then, nothing happened. The truck cleared us and exited the freeway doing about 50 miles per hour. Alan was still gripping the wheel, and holding the lane, and the SUV pulled over...quickly. I don't think either Alan or myself was breathing...not really. I know one thing...I WAS PISSED!

Here's the part that I like the best, and I think I deserved a pat on the back. Instead of demanding that Alan follow Mr. Truck off the freeway, so I could personally beat the guy to death with his own arm, I picked up my cell phone, and reported him to the Highway Patrol. I didn't get a license plate number, but I did remember some details of the truck that could be helpful in tracking him down. Another plus in this situation, Mr. Truck, exited the closest off-ramp to the Alameda County Sheriff's Department. I have no idea if he was caught, I don't really want to know, what concerned me the most was that after he exited the freeway, he may have harmed someone. I could not have lived with myself if I had come home, and found out that he had killed someone later in the day. Sigh. It happens that way all the time.

I don't call 911 lightly. I don't take traffic slights with anger and acid. If you get on a California freeway, a freeway anywhere for that matter, you will more then likely encounter someone who really doesn't belong behind the wheel of a vehicle. After we both stopped shaking, we continued on with our day at the Conservatory of Flowers, in San Francisco, but I have to tell you, all I really wanted was to retreat into myself. The whole episode brought back memories of a car accident I was in with my brother, when I was 16. Ironically, we had been on I880, heading to San Francisco, to see the King Tut exhibit. Sigh. I said nothing to Alan, and we went ahead to the Butterfly Exhibit, at the conservatory. And then from there we did some other, usually fun things, around the city, and down the coast. I will share some of that next week.

I am sore tonight. With Fibromyalgia it doesn't take much to make your muscles hurt. Sometimes your body will hurt with no provocation at all, let alone after you have tensed up to the extent I did. I laid down after we got home for a little while, and woke up to Alan asking me if I was ok, because I was talking and crying in my sleep. I don't remember what I was dreaming about, but I have a suspicion that it was probably all the things my mind didn't have a chance to process. Sigh. I know for sure that literally seconds, made the difference in my life yesterday. There are a couple things that I think I can hold onto in this. Alan didn't loose control, I did call the police and give all the information that my mind was clear enough to catch and retain, and when we passed the white SUV, that had pulled over after the incident, we both saw that the driver was on his cell-phone. It is my hope that whoever that was, they were able to get the license number, and that the call they were making was to the Highway Patrol.

On a personal note...

If you are reading this blog, and you are the one who cut us off in traffic today, at approximately 10:10 am, heading westbound on Hwy 580, near the 150th avenue exit, LISTEN UP BUDDY! You don't want to piss me off! I might be 4 ft 10, but I have a cell phone, and I am NOT AFRAID TO USE IT! And I will be more then happy to show up for your court date!

On a lighter note...

I went on to the conservatory, and I photographed the butterflies. I lived my life. I may have been shaking most of the afternoon, and I may be in some pain right now, but if what happened did anything to me, it empowered me! I didn't occur to me to take the easy way out, by engaging in road rage...I did something far better in the long run...I stood up for myself the RIGHT way! Go me! LOL.

"Seeing Eye To Eye"
Conservatory of Flowers
San Francisco, California
August 9, 2006


Karen Funk Blocher said...

The best thing about this is that Alan did the right things, and nothing bad happened, and it's of the past. Sleep, stretch, relax, heal.

So many times when I start across what I jokingly call the Crosswalk of Death, either someone cuts me off to turn right, or someone cuts me off to turn left. Half the time I see the cell phone in the driver's hand. John thinks I should carry a baseball bat! I hold up my hand, I yell at drivers, I practice defensive walking. I've never come all THAT close to getting hit - maybe four feet, but when you're on foot that's enough. I mostly just shake my head and try not to worry about it.

But one of these days, I'm going to write to the city about making the walk signal longer, and putting in a left turn arrow so the drivers don't assume they're ALWAYS allowed to turn left, regardless of who might be in the crosswalk!

Karen Funk Blocher said...

(When I say that nothing bad happened, I mean that the worst didn't happen. Should have proofread!)

DesLily said...

You will never know how I hate cell phone!! Not only don't I want to hear a strangers conversation on one, but the driving with one is something I can't believe they haven't stopped nationwide!!..hands free or not your mind is on the call not the road! Though they are a great convience to call in an emergency.. i'm betting (and I don't bet!) that they have caused more lives to die then to save them.

I'm really glad you and Alan are ok... this sort of thing gets me so angry you can't begin to imagine!.. ah well.. i guess you can heh.

IndigoSunMoon said...

Oh Carly! That's so scary! I'm so glad Alan is such a good driver!
So glad you and he weren't hurt!

Suzanne R said...

Whew -- it's a relief that you and Alan were safe! I can understand your being upset and the psyche/body connection bringing on difficulties. Take care of yourself!

Robbie said...

You're only 4'10"?!? I'm a whole foot taller than you! Sheesh. People sure seem taller in blogville.

I think the thing to remember is not what almost happened but what did. You and Alan are okay and that's what's important. But yeah, people doing stuff like that are idiots and I can't tell you how often I see it. How some are still able to drive is beyond me.

Pamela said...

Hi Carly. I'm sooooo glad you didn't get hurt by that idiot! I hate to drive because each day I encounter idiots like that. They need to experience ONE..just ONE really bad accident to see just what it's like.
I can't believe you are 4ft 10in! I'm a whole foot taller than you!LOL!

sunflowerkat119 said...

OMG I'm so glad that you and Alan are alright. It is terrifying to think that a matter of seconds can change everything for you. It's just too close.

You did the right thing by calling the police. My sister Busy had a similar experience just a couple of days ago with a double trailer semi that was swerving all over the road. It nearly jack knifed in front of her, then continued to swerve over the center line. She got off the highway and called the police. It's the only responsible thing to do.

Becky said...

Whew! We had a near miss today. Tyler yelled from his carseat "Why don't you just stay home!" at the guy who abruptly stopped in front of us and attempted to make an illegal right turn into an exit only entrace of a gas station. (I swear I didn't teach him that.) LOL! Glad you guys are ok.