The first car that was ever fully mine (not shared with my mom like the purple intrepid) was a gold 2001 Ford Explorer. A few weeks into driving the explorer, I was on my way to give blood. I took a left turn and got hit in the front and it spun me around. Nothing crazy traumatic; They were speeding. No one was harmed; they were trying to blame me for dents in their hood on the opposite side of where they hit me. It ended up being their fault (I think), and I ended up giving blood later that week. That’s not the incident I wanted to tell you about today. The next time I almost died was a few years later.
I lived in Cordova, TN with a few friends and I was working at Republic Coffee in Memphis. At this point I had mostly opening shifts which means I was charged with the distinct pleasure of waking up at an ungodly hour of the morning to caffeinated midtown Memphis. My drive to work was normally about 30-40 minutes depending on traffic, and mostly all on this interstate. I had to be at work at 5am to open up at 6.
This was during the winter, and normally Memphis winters are cold, but not crazy cold and everyone loses their minds when it snows because it happens so rarely. This was an icy morning, so I was taking it slow on the way to work (I learned my lesson!). Even though waking up at 4 was part of my regular routine, I had a tendency of staying up too late. In fact, sometimes when I got to work, I would turn the espresso machine on, brew coffee, count the drawer, unlock the door, and lay down in a booth and take a short nap because it was rare that anyone came in before 6:30 and the sound of the squeaky door normally woke me up. So I was easily 3/4 asleep on this particular drive at 4am. I was heading west on I-40, and there was only a handful of cars on the interstate.
Up ahead of me on the right was a car going as slow as I was. This section of I-40 was 4 lanes. I was in the middle left and the other car closest to me was in the middle right minding our own business when, on my left, another car, who for some reason, was flying down the icy interstate at 4 in the morning passed us both. It startled me, but nothing crazy yet, just your run of the mill asshole nothing to worry about.
A few miles down the road I notice something strange, and sure enough, It was our friend from earlier. He was in the left lane spinning around (very similarly to how I was spinning in the last story). So I start to slow down even further, however the car ahead of me on the right decided to speed up and get over to the furthest right lane to avoid the guy on the left. Poor choice… They start to spin out in the far right lane.
So at this point, I’m going about 30 mph, and gripping my steering wheel like somehow, that’s going to help me get through this safely. I can’t remember what I was listening to, it was probably Tenacious D or Saul Williams or something loud so I would stay awake on the way to work. Either way, I am wide eyed, death grip on the wheel, and I just slowly drive past both cars spinning on either side of me. It all happened so fast and I was not fully awake so it was one of those moments where I didn’t even think about what to do and just defaulted to hold on, take it slow, and hope that neither car comes out of the spin to crash into my car and kill everyone involved.
Both cars continued to spin for almost the whole time I could see them in my rear view mirror. Needless to say I have never been more wide awake for the drive to work in my entire life, and I definitely didn’t take a nap when I got into work. I lived to barista another day, and all was well.
Whew…. I got anxiety just writing about that.
Have you almost died on the road? Leave a comment below! I want to hear about it.