My Novels

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Misadventure

I just can't win these days! It almost seems as if every time I'm somewhat happy -- or hopeful, expectant of having fun or getting out a little, something cancels it all out.

I hadn't seen the man I dated several times last winter, but we'd kept in touch via email/phone. He'd wanted to get together many times, but I always felt hesitant. I like him, yet I really don't want a full-time, committed relationship. And he does. However, I thought seeing him again might change my mind -- as well as be a pleasant outing together.

And it was a good day: We had a nice lunch at his lake house, then visited a local museum, and ended by going on a long walk at a local lakeside walking trail. Back to his house, out on the pier to watch the late afternoon sunlight play on the lake.

I left with somewhat hopeful expectations, a possibility we could compromise on a relationship. It was around 6:00, still lots of daylight, and I took a different route home along a two-lane highway through a rural area. I'd been this way many times in the past with DH, and once by myself; it's beautiful scenery, but sparsely populated. I noticed the grass along both shoulders was terribly overgrown, probably due to all the rain we've been getting.

I was thinking I'd stop and pay a surprise visit to my mother at the assisted living place because it was along this route...when suddenly off to my right, I barely glimpsed something, then felt a massive impact in front of the car. I gripped the steering wheel tightly, kept the car on the highway, and saw an approaching car in the other lane. I immediately thought I'd hit a dog, a very large dog, and was sick as I felt it go underneath my car... Looking in the rear view mirror I saw it tumbling behind me in the other lane, and the oncoming car straddled it.

I felt sure the dog was dead, but started looking for a place to pull off...yet due to the overgrown grass, there was no way of telling whether the shoulder was flat or a deep ditch. I then looked for a house, driveway...anything, but there was nothing. I heard something rattling under my car, and realized there was damage...probably just to the bumper.

I finally saw a church parking lot, pulled off, and got out; there was water running out of the radiator, and the bumper was badly damaged, along with the lowest lights. One was actually hanging out, so I pulled it on out...

Hurriedly I got back in the car, since there was no one around, and thought I might find a nearby service station. No luck. Nothing in sight once back on the highway -- and I realized the overheated light was flickering. I did NOT want to ruin the engine, so I was looking frantically for a driveway, any place to stop and turn off the engine.

I saw a narrow paved driveway that wound up into some woods, and thought surely a house was there. I headed up the driveway, and the light stayed on, so I knew I had to stop. Just as I rounded a curve, I realized there was a couple of shabby trailers ahead, as well as several ramshackle sheds. No one in sight, but a truck outside one of the trailers.

I had no choice, I eased off the driveway, and cut the engine. I looked around, and felt truly scared: isolation. I immediately locked all the doors, and got out my cell...which didn't have a signal.

I saw a man come out on the porch of the trailer, 50ish, overweight, holding a can of beer, and then a big pit-bull following him. My first thought was: Deliverance, the movie! I didn't see any "No Trespassing" signs, which are very common in such places in the rural south.

At that point, I just didn't care anymore. Really, the first wreck, then this? What are the odds of such events happening within such a short time of each other? Astronomical!

I recalled the horrible dream I'd had the night before: I dreamed that I was driving and hit something, couldn't tell what, and it was MY fault. I had awakened in a cold sweat, thinking I could NOT make the trip to the lake house...but, of course, convinced myself I was being paranoid, reacting to the last wreck, that I HAD to get back out there, drive and get OVER that wreck.

Nevertheless, I got out of the car, and started apologizing to the strange man for interrupting his dinner or whatever he was doing. I began explaining what had happened, rambling about not wanting to blow up the car engine, that I'd had another wreck a few weeks ago...and, to my embarrassment, felt tears running down my face.

I was scared, sick, disgusted...just incredulous at the turn of events.

The man started talking then, seemed like your average "Bubba" here in the south, but I still stayed near the car. I did get a cell signal, called the man I'd left, but he had said he was going to mow the lawn. Apparently he was on the mower and didn't hear his cell. Then I called Sherry & Wendell, who said they'd head my way right then.

It was a verrry long 45 minutes till they drove up the driveway, but the stranger had allowed me to use his home phone (out on the porch) to call my insurance company; the pit-bull moved over to lie at MY feet, and the stranger and I had a long chat. At one point, he stated he wasn't going to kill me, I suppose to calm me down! Whee! In fact, he offered me a beer! I refused, because the last thing I needed was to get drunk at that point.

All in all, it was one of those surreal misadventures you NEVER expect to have -- or hope not to, at any rate. Like being in the twilight zone, actually. When we left there, and started back, Sherry asked if I was okay...and I just dissolved into tears. I started blubbering about how scared I'd been by that place, the stranger and how much worse it COULD have turned out. They both understood, but agreed I'd not had much choice in getting off the highway in order not to ruin the car engine.

Later, I called a local wrecker service, and they went to get my car. It's at an auto body shop, and will be repaired. So here I go again, rounds with the auto insurance, rental car, on and on. TOO SOON AGAIN!

When I'd gotten all that arranged, I had myself a long crying jag because I'd run over that dog, obviously killed it. I won't even eat meat due to loving animals so much, and here I'd inadvertently become a killer.

One can only shake their head at the irony of life. And the lessons I've learned from these two wrecks: No matter how careful you are as a driver, the unexpected event can happen and you can die or kill a living being in an instant.

Life is certainly unpredictable and NO ONE IS PROMISED TOMORROW.

As for the man I went to see, he wants to drive down this Saturday...but I'm not sure about that. I feel cursed or jinxed, as if there's something out to get me lately. Things happen in threes, they say...and I fear the third event will be the end of me.

UPDATE: I decided to end the relationship with the man. Like the bad experience in the Honda Fit, sometimes your intuition just tells you this is NOT MEANT TO BE.

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