Rising fuel costs saved my life today.
Kinda different tone than the title of this post...but, it will all fit in a minute.
My name is Kyuball, and I listen to talk radio. NPR, Neal Boortz, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Laura Ingram, Free Talk Live...to name a few of the shows that I end up listening to. (Any friends of mine that know my real name, just passed out.) I can't help it, I love to hear conservatives and liberals rant. It's a sickness, really. Let me clarify: I don't actively seek out these hosts...well, maybe Savage...they're just on when I want to listen to radio.
Anyway...for the last few weeks, rising fuel costs have been on the lips of most of these talk show hosts. What can we do, who's to blame, Iran must be paved over, Bush is insane...blah, blah, blah. Well, one of the "tips" that continues to be mentioned is to slow down and try not to drive too aggressively and you can save your gas mileage.
So, today, I left work early because my son is sick and took a back road from work to get to the highway. This back road has lots of hills where you can't see over one to the next to see what's coming...so, it's a "no passing zone". Seems reasonable. I use this piece of road often because I can avoid traffic in getting to the interstate.
When I turn on to this road, generally I open it up a bit...not too bad, but I generally hit it at 60 mph...it's a 35mph zone. Today, I decided that I'd cruise it a bit and scaled it down to about 45 - 50mph.interlude
You know the saying that just before you die, your life flashes before your eyes? I think it's more like a heightened state of awareness. Your brain goes into hyper-mode. I believe that your brain has the ability, in fight or flight situations, to become a mega-super computer that can process millions of calculations in a split second. This doesn't mean your body can react to the signals fast enough...just that the brain tries to. This is probably why people also say that, "It all happened in slow motion."end interlude
As I came to the second hill, a sliver Buick Le Suckbre, crested the hill from the opposite direction. In my lane...not the two drivers-side tires...no, full on, all fours and more in my lane headed right for me and my little Japanese truck.
In the span of saying, "Holy fucking shit! You fuck, you fuck, you fucking fuck." I experienced a moment of total awareness:
The sun, was partially clouded...and shone through the sun-roof, pleasantly heating my scalp. The radio station was on NPR and the music was a slightly melancholy piano solo. The Le Suckbre was freshly washed and sparkled in the sunlight as it crested the hill. It was driving at a 7%-10% angle to the lane it should have been in which would put it in the grass on my right in less than 40 yards. I'm driving at 47 miles an hour and will be seriously injured if we collide head on. My health insurance card is in the third sleeve of my wallet. The co-pay for emergency room visits are $75. The driver of the Le Suckbre has a cell phone in his hand that he is holding up in the middle of his steering wheel in what appears to be a vain attempt to drive and use his peripheral vision while he A) Finds a phone number in his contacts list. B) Sends a text message. C) Plays Tetris. or D) Drives his car like James bond through his phone, but his controller is inverted. I don't have anti-lock breaks. There is no real shoulder on this part of the road. There is a retention pond on my right, that runs the length of this stretch of road, with a Male Mallard Duck swimming in the middle, he looks at my truck. I apply my breaks at 80% to 90% of full force and turn the wheel sharply. My breaks lock slightly, but do not squeal, the sound is like dragging cardboard over dry dirt. The patch of grass is not too bumpy, I won't flip over, but I may land in the pond after we collide. Water will leak into the cab through the crack in my windshield that's been there for months. I'm still waiting on the insurance company to call me back to inspect my "hail" damage. I'm 15 feet from the other driver. He looks up. I'm far enough over to the right now that he will miss, I turn left slightly so as not to shift my center of gravity too much and flip into the pond. The duck begins to take flight. The LeSuckbre passes me on the left, the driver has dropped his phone, and his mouth is shaped as if he's saying, "Oh..." I think he's going to finish with "...oh I'm a complete fucking moron, please don't beat me with a gas pump handle." I pull back on to the road and see in my driver side mirror the LeSuckbre begin to pull back into his lane, just in time to miss the red Geo Metro(sexual) that was following me. In my passenger side mirror I notice that my tires did not kick up any dust. Probably because of the rain we've had recently.
All of that in the span of less than 3 or 4 seconds.
Had I been doing my usual 60 mph, I wouldn't be typing this right now. I'd be in the hospital having the steering column of a '91 Toyota removed from my colon...maybe worse.
I'm not going to get all sappy on you, suggesting that we all go out and hug our families or live life like every day is your last. Hallmark moments, one and all.
However, I am not going to drive and dial. I would ask that you do the same. If you see someone texting while driving...honk, and flip them off. If they don't look up, pull over and wait 10 minutes...someone's going to be in an accident soon, you don't want it to be you...find a different route to where ever you were going, traffic is going to be backed up soon.
If you happen to see a red Toyota 4x4 parked on the side of the road next to a man beating the fuck out of some one with a cellphone stuffed in a tube sock...honk and wave, I'm visiting your town.(I just taught spell check the word "LeSuckbre." Aren't computers fun?)