Thursday, November 17, 2011

Guardian angels

Yes, I'm superstitious. I can't help it. I knock on wood, pick up pennies, avoid sidewalk cracks, wince when a black cat crosses my path and I believe in the guardian angels that protect me.

I went to The University of the South, a small liberal arts university in Sewanee, TN.  It's a place steeped in tradition.  One of the traditions is to touch the ceiling in your car as you leave The Domain, "a place so beautiful angels dwell within its the gates". On doing so, your guardian angel leaps off the gates onto your car roof and protects you when you're outside of The Domain.

I was in Sewanee a few weeks ago. I know, as all Sewanee students do, that your angel rests when you're on campus and is on duty when you leave.  I was happy to return after 10 years so he/she could rest.  And, I wanted my husband who had never been there to pick one up, too.  He's not superstitious so I planned on how to get him to grab an angel without knowing.  :)  It worked! But, I digress.  As I dropped off and picked up my angel over the weekend, it got me thinking about the protection I was provided.  How would I know that this angel was doing it's job?  Then, we flew home and I kind of forgot about it.  I had new "Protected by a Sewanee Angel" stickers in hand, but didn't put them on the cars.

Yesterday, I was in a serious car accident.  Out of nowhere, the car started skidding out of control and spun around.  I was with a co-worker on the way to visit a customer.  We were 180 miles from home and 2 miles from their door.  We were on the Interstate crossing from Washington into Oregon.  It's a four-lane highway.  It's a bridge.  It's really high over the Columbia River.  It was rush hour.  We were in the fast lane, or the one next to it.  I don't recall.  But, as I said above, suddenly we were spinning.  For a split second we were looking at oncoming traffic.  We hit something (the center median), we spun.  Did it happen in that order?  I don't know. I didn't have any control and I noticed that the check engine light was on.  We eventually stopped moving.  I slammed the car in gear and moved into the nice, wide hazard lane.

By some miracle:
  • We didn't hit anyone else.
  • We are uninjured, save some aches and pains from being jostled and from hitting the median.
  • We didn't end up in the river.
The car looks totaled.  It's a small price to pay.

Even though I know I'm lucky and I can't stop thinking about how lucky and how great a job that angel did, I also can't stop thinking about the following:
  • What happened!?!?  Ice?  I don't think so.  It was raining.  Were we hit?  No idea.  Weird fluid on the road?  Whatever it was, I didn't see it and neither did my passenger.
  • Why did the car totally lose it?  Where was the ABS?
  • How could we be so lucky?
  • How many times did we spin around? 
  • Two windows broke and my laptop bag and purse flew out the side/back.  I found my purse and it's contents behind the car in the hazard lane.  Kudos to the HTC Trophy for surviving with only minor scratches.  The laptop bag was under the front driver's side bumper.  Really?  How did that happen?  And, how lucky that those things weren't in traffic.
  • What is up with safety glass?  I got a shard in my finger.  I thought it was shard-less? And, where is the glass from the windows?  It's gone, there's only a small amount is in the car.
  • How did the glasses I was wearing end up in the back seat?
  • How lucky were we that the airbags didn't go off (painful, smelly)?  Conversely, why didn't they go off?  Surely we were going fast enough (15 mph) when we hit the wall.  And, the side of the car is smashed.  Side airbags?
I'm not a journal-writer and you can see that I haven't blogged in a year and a half, but I had to write about this.  I am thankful to the safety engineers at VW, my passenger Mario, the various emergency people, the two people driving by who stopped, our tow truck driver and my guardian angel.  I'm also thankful that I pay my insurance.

Buzz (as named by the previous owners), 1999-2011.

Despite the trauma and the drama, there were some funny moments. Like, when we smelled burning (smelled like matches), Mario says, "Let's get out."  We rush to open the doors, I get out and see the flares.  Heh.  And, sitting in the tow truck forever looking into the river talking about how there aren't sharks in the Mediterranean (overfishing, I just checked).  Also, wondering why it takes so long to attach a car to a tow truck?  Seriously took 20-30 min.  And, ambulances don't carry tweezers.  I don't know what's in the back of those things, but they seem large enough to have some tweezers.