I kin explain

Did that post you just read make you go "huh?????" I kin explain. Maybe.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sound bites, safety pins and silver linings

What a week this has been.

From the dark night of 11/9 (the entire day, that is), to the dismal, nearly debilitating, disgust, despair and despondency of the next day, to all of the other "D words" and stages of grief those of us of like mind and heart have been working through the past few days ...

Some of us talk in hushed voices - in offices and hallways and on street corners. In coffee shops. In other "safe" spaces - like Mexican restaurants. We share the words and sound bites that speak to us on social media. Maybe not caring as much about offending the "others" as before. (Wondering: Perhaps I should have stopped caring about that a lot sooner. Would it have made a difference?)

I'm really sick of screaming obscenities at the radio in the car until my voice is horse. I'm tired of feeling like puking every time I hear ... whatshisname's voice. I'm tired of being sick and tired.

It's like living in a piece of dystopian fiction. Nope. Nope. Nope. Can't go there.

As always, I'm desperately seeking silver linings. Here are a few:

  • Stephen Colbert and healing laughter! (Without this feeling that the apocalypse is upon us, I might not have taken the time watch these videos!)
  • Remembering Schoolhouse Rock - I forgot how much I enjoyed those clips as a kid!
  • Finding and connecting with kindred spirits and making new friends locally, across the country and around the globe
  • Safety pins and similar positive symbols of solidarity and hope
  • Science - remember science? 
  • The wise and wonderful Warren Buffett 
  • And yes - gasp - even beginning to tentatively talk with Trump supporters in my "village" to try to understand what happened, where we can find common ground and how we can heal and live together and ...
Puppies! Babies! Sunshine! Blue skies! Walking on two feet!

There is hope.

Monday, June 20, 2016

It was (not) a dark and stormy night

My 2010 Pontiac Vibe
(at towing lot)
showing main points of impact
It was a dark and stormy night ...

No, that's not right. It was, in fact, a sunny, clear, gorgeous summer evening. A Monday, which meant rowing night. And on my way from work to rowing, I got in a car accident. The kind that gives you shivers when you imagine it happening. And miraculously, the kind that included me emerging practically unscathed.

I began to draft this post almost one year ago. Mid-July. I'd completely forgotten that I'd captured all of the detail here when it was all too fresh. Maybe that's why I never posted, never finished editing. I had not fully processed what had happened. I still haven't, really. Life just picked up where it left off, mostly. There have been many topics bouncing around in my head wanting out over the past many weeks, and I didn't think this was one of them, but perhaps it's time to finish what I started ...

I cannot blame this accident, this crash, on a moose, deer, caribou, donkey, herds of goats or other such causes my friend Scott offered up when he saw the destruction of my car. I can't point to weather or a drunk driver or people on their cell phones. The skies were clear. The road was dry. There was construction ahead and if I'd driven that way every day, I'd later discover, I would have known that I was reaching a stretch of road where the unexpected had been happening so often it should be expected. (Skid marks and reports from friends bear this out.)

Traffic was moving along and then ... it wasn't. Somehow, somewhere between those two states - of motion and rest - I shifted my gaze from the road just long enough. Maybe less than a second. As I passed an exit I'd taken the last time I went that way, I may have shifted my gaze, thinking perhaps I should have taken that route. I remember having several things on my mind but I don't quite remember turning my head. But suddenly, I realized that I was approaching the car ahead of me too fast - because traffic had stopped. Time stopped. I slammed on my brakes and swerved to avoid a collision. I caught the back end of the car with my front end and it felt like I bounced off a lot of other things as I spun around and off the side of the road. The airbags deployed. All of them, including the new one from the last GM recall. Smacked me in the face. The smelly powder went up my nose. When the car stopped I looked down at myself, patted my face, chest and arms and was surprised there was no blood. I wasn't completely certain I was even alive but somehow I unbuckled my seatbelt and tried to open my door. It wouldn't budge. After a momentary panic, I crawled through the cloud of powder and opened the passenger door. I stood in the long grass on the side of the road for a moment and looked across at the mess in the road and the other cars. At the time, I didn't know I'd only hit one. There were several people on the road. Then I leaned in and grabbed my shoes – they'd been knocked off. And my phone – which had been under my purse but was on the floor. And my purse – also on the floor. And the keys from the ignition.  

When I got back out I saw there was blood on my shirt after all. That's when I discovered that I'd split the frenulum inside my upper lip, that little piece of tissue that connects the lip to the gums. I spit blood out of my mouth while I felt around for broken teeth or gashes. I was incredulous that I couldn't find any.

It was like a scene in slow motion with traffic moving along, driving around the debris on the road.
A wheel - mine? Bits of plastic and metal in all shapes and sizes. People getting out of cars, probably exchanging notes.

I went up near the road and sat down on my purse. I was a little wobbly and my neck was starting to hurt a little. A nice man who works as a pipefitter at Dow (he'd called 911) came over to check on me. He said his wife was a nurse and would kill him if she knew there'd been an accident and he didn't stop. Another nurse came over and checked on me and also on the people standing on the other side of the road. 

The pipefitter and the nurse (never got their names) stayed with me until the state police arrived and then we moved over to the median so they could clear a lane and let traffic move through. I ambulated across the road, which was repeated and recorded. The man I'd hit (I think it was him - and I think the report said to whose bumper I'd "struck a glancing blow") kept offering for me to sit in his car but I wanted to be in the fresh air. Firemen and an ambulance came. They checked me over and asked if I wanted to go to the hospital. I said no, of course I didn't want to go to the hospital … but asked the professionals if they thought I should. I had an angry-looking abrasion from the seatbelt, my neck had started to hurt and I had some scratches on my legs that we could see but otherwise I was in one piece and nothing felt broken. Still, I listened to the experts. The other driver declined treatment apparently. I honestly don't know what damage I did to his car and if he drove away afterward. I saw a flatbed truck come to get my car.

Not very long after I got to the ER (man, it was busy that night), my sister and brother-in-law arrived. I'd texted from the ambulance. They stayed while I was wheeled off for X-rays and a CT scan. The doctor (Dr. Walker)  was very good looking and he made us all laugh when he said I'd split my frenulum, and I knew I needed to share that with my writer friends. Jake had just gotten his Medicare card (he turned 65 the next day) and was having fun showing it to all of the nurses and anyone else who would listen. After I was discharged, we stopped for root beer floats on the way to get my prescriptions. 

The next day I mostly rested and iced my injuries and called the insurance company and went to pick up my stuff from my car. A sweet co-worker brought a beautiful Edible Arrangement and card from the office and the ham, turkey and potatoes another dear friend/co-worker sent. I tried to move around as much as possible before rigor mortis set in and my summer housemate was a wonderful nurse. I was achy and sore but alive. We feasted on honey-baked ham and chocolate-dipped fruit and I felt so loved and blessed with wonderful friends – and family. I had caring emails, texts and calls all day.


That was where I left off nearly a year ago. Reading it again, it all seems like a dream. There was the time "before" and now I'm in the time "after." In the "before," I drove a red Vibe. In the "after," I drive a titanium-colored Soul - my spirit element, I've decided. "Before," I woke up early and went to barre class and work Monday through Friday. Rowing on Saturday mornings and Monday and Wednesday evenings. Kids' sporting events, dance recitals and birthday parties. I read books and took naps and made soup and went to the farmers market and avoided housework. Smelled the flowers. Drank the good wine and used the good china. I smooched my great nephews and nieces and was grateful for my family and friends and my life. "After," I try to be more mindful, more appreciative ... and I still do most of the rest, except I have not yet gone back to rowing and have been taking a break from barre since January (but that's another story and I plan to go back really soon).

I look at the photos of my broken car and still can't believe I walked - ambulated - away. I am so incredibly thankful that nobody was hurt. I try - really try - to avoid distractions. Hands at 10 and 2. I can never be too alert. And no matter what I do, I know an instant is all it takes to go from before ... to after.

Interior with airbag deployed

Crumpled front left quarter panel and door, curtain airbag deployed

Side curtain airbags deployed,
crumpled front door
Closeup of front left wheel

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Phun with werdz

Best. Birthday cake. Ever.
I promised a friend I would join her in blogging every day in June. Yikes. It has officially been more than two years since I have posted a few words in this here space.

My brain is a bit frazzled so I do not have many things to say. Now. At this moment. So I will share a few of my most recent word nerd thoughts. (Like: Why not werd nerd? Why is word not pronounced wORd?)

And union. Why is that pronounced "you"-nyun and onion is "un"-yun?

Who made these decisions? And why was I not consulted? And why do my quotation marks look like inch marks? I hate that.

Oh, by the way: Happy Palindrome Day. When Lizz texted to wish me HPD (it's 6116, and I kindly didn't point out it's really 060116), I simply wished her a happy day in return since I couldn't think of a clever response. Then later I was sharing something else with my sister and her response was, "LOL. WOW." And I thought, "Doh."

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