Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Black Ice

I don’t think there are too many things worse than the hearing the sound of a perfectly good car CRUNCHING into something else. Especially if you hear that sound twice in the span of one month.

“Great. Number fucking two.”

About two hours into my trip back home to NYC, after fighting through intense patches of snow, ice, and swerving trucks, Zulay, myself and my sterling little rental PT Cruiser had finally met our match:

“Black Ice.” Or, extremely frozen pavement.

I had always heard stories about Black Ice, and how nasty it could be for any unsuspecting person who traveled over it. It’s one of those surfaces that kinda sneak up on you. You think the ground you’re about to walk on is pretty cool, and then, POW, next thing you know, you’re on your ass, hoping to God no one saw you fall.

In my case, I was traveling on Route 17E, about 100 miles north of NYC, when I encountered this incredibly horrible patch of highway that looked like it hadn’t been paved in over five hours. There was only one lane of traffic that was really “clean” of snow out of three, and it was in this lane that, after slowing down to 30 MPH, my tires lost their grip and I skidded down the highway in slow motion. I was trying to turn the steering wheel in whichever direction, hoping to regain control of the car as it had begun making headway for the wire highway divider on the far right of the road. After a good 15 seconds of fighting with the car, I had come to the inevitable conclusion that I was just about to get into my second accident in the span of one month.

CRUNCH

I like having the feeling of being “experienced” in certain situations, because in your mind, you tell yourself, “I’ve been through this before, I know what to do.” But there’s something incredibly morbid about being experienced in car accidents. After the car had come to a complete stop, I calmly turned to Zulay and asked, “Are you alright?” And of course, being that she had also become a sudden guru in car accidents (which is scary…both times, she was the co-pilot…) , she replied with a semi-enthusiastic “Yup, I’m fine.” I flicked on my hazard lights in order to alert cars coming behind me that I had just come to a complete stop on the highway, and sure enough, there was already a car coming our way. In the corner of my rearview mirror, I saw him skid just exactly the same way we did in trying to avoid our car, but thankfully, he avoided us completely and actually pulled over to help out. He happened to be a security guard at a local hospital. After climbing over the passenger seat to get out the car (thanks to the fact that my door couldn’t open at all), I went outside and surveyed the damage. The entire front, left side of the car had been completely smashed. My windshield had cracked from the impact, and I had a flat, left front tire. I felt tiny bits of glass in my mouth, which I assume came from the cracked windshield. The guard offered us a ride into the nearest town, which we gladly accepted, and I made my way back into the car, fighting the horrendous gusts of wind and the horrible pavement which my feet couldn’t get any kind of traction on. I just pulled the car over a bit more to the side, turned it off, and kept the hazards on as our new guard friend took us into his car and took us to town. Apparently, we had crashed just outside of a little town called Liberty.

That kind guard dude gave us a ride to the nearest State Trooper dispatch post, where, upon our arrival, we were asked if we were coming from a PT Cruiser, which we confirmed. Apparently, the troopers had wasted no time in getting the wrecked car off the highway, and had it towed to a nearby repair shop. (Also, as we found out a few minutes later, one of the troopers inspecting the car actually busted his ass on the black ice, and had begun to slide all the way down the highway before he regained his grip).

Eventually, after meeting up with the car, and talking with the people who towed it, we were given no choice but to spend the night in Liberty. Thankfully, there was an Econo Lodge about a minute away from the tow yard, so ZuZu and I chilled there. We made a few phone calls here and there to let our parents know what was going on (though, it definitely sucked that my new phone suddenly decided to die on me just before the accident).

The next day, I played “the phone game”, calling up rental companies and parents to figure out how the hell we were going to get away from this cornbread-ass town. (Zulay and I made up 100% of the town’s minority population). After my original rental company pretty much told me to fuck off (citing the fact that the weather conditions were too bad to rush out another car to me), I was forced to rent another car from another company. After about two or so hours, we finally got a car, and made it to NYC in one piece. By the time we got back on the road again, the sun had come out, and the roads were completely clear. The new car, a Toyota Corolla, definitely was an adequate replacement for the PT Cruiser. As a matter of fact, I was complaining before we took the trip that the Cruiser, “didn’t feel right…it felt too lumbersome,” despite the fact it had a small ass engine. So, the Corolla, which took me a minute or two to get used to (“it was too loose” I said, which, after about the second or third time of me saying it, made Zulay wonder whether or not I was still talking about the car, or about something else…), drove like a champ. The next day, I didn’t want to take the car back. It was an awesome ride.

So, finally, I made it back to NYC, and thankfully, everyone is okay. Still, I can’t help but shake my head: two accidents, one month, neither one of them my fault. When this year finally ends, I think the one quote that will sum up my experience for the year comes from my international guest partner in crime, Giselle (appears in France and Italy blog entries in late April, early May):

”What ELSE can happen?”


3 Comments:

Blogger Zulay said...

mama nooooooooo .... lol....

when we lose grip and i saw that we were going to hit, i actually got kinda excited and was like ooh, let's see how much impact i can withstand with my feet!!! :-D

how saddening... lol... the thought of actually getting hurt didn't faze me when we got into the accident... but when we stopped and i saw another truck coming our way when u were moving the car got me freaked out... dun hit the parked car!!!! aaaahhhhh

lol, paz

10:35 PM  
Blogger Nima said...

Toyota's rock.

Black ice sucks....even though it's fun as hell to slide on....did that once with a bunch of friends....slid down a hill on our asses with ice picks in tow...best winter time ever.

You should try it sometime....

Or then again, maybe you shouldn't.

11:55 PM  
Blogger djkibblesnbits said...

LOL, black ice and I don't get along. I'd slide down hills of snow, but, nu uh...no black ice for me. :-)

12:02 AM  

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