Thursday, November 19, 2009

Double Ten

On October 10, 2001, I was driving home on highway 13. I was almost at my exit so I stayed in the right lane. A white van was merging on the right, and I slowed down a little to give the driver space to speed up and merge over at the end of the solid white line. The van merged into my lane across the solid white lane, and I simultaneously turned the wheel, hit the brakes, and hit the horn.

Before I knew it (literally!) my car was against the center wall separating northbound traffic from southbound. My first reaction was to get out of the car, but as soon as I unbuckled my seatbelt I realized that I was on a part of the highway that doesn't have a shoulder on the left. I put the seatbelt back on and eventually got over to the right shoulder.

I got out and tried to wave down some help. Wouldn't you know it but my cell phone was dead and the batteries in my car flashlight were dying. Half a dozen cars went past, and finally one pulled over. I asked him to give me a ride to my house, since I couldn't call anyone and the only number I could remember in the moment was my mom's and she was out of town.

The guy who gave me a ride home lived on a cul de sac called Virgo Street a couple blocks from my house, so at least I didn't have to give him directions. When I got home I called Triple A and then I called Zirpu, who agreed to come up and hang out with me overnight. The tow truck driver arrived shortly after Zirpu, and the three of us went back down to the highway to get the car. In the seemingly short time since I'd left it, CHP had stickered the window with their cryptic code.

While I was signing the paperwork for the tow truck, I complained that Double Ten is supposed to be an auspicious and lucky day. The driver remarked, slowly, "Maybe it was."

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