Mudcat Café message #1417775 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #78678   Message #1417775
Posted By: Don Firth
22-Feb-05 - 03:20 PM
Thread Name: BS: ClintonHammond & His I-75 Misadventure
Subject: RE: BS: ClintonHammond & His I-75 Misadventure
Ye Gawds, Clinton! My knuckles turned white as I was reading that!

Some years ago, I had stopped at a drive-in and bought lunch (Big Mac or some such wet cardboard sandwich and a big cuppa coffee), and I was driving down to a parking area overlooking Seattle's Green Lake to relax and chow down. I had to cross E. Green Lake Way (busy thoroughfare) to get to the area, and the light was with me, so I kept right on going. Suddenly, on my right, I saw an SUV (bloody great tank!) speeding along Green Lake Way, and in a split second it became evident that he was going to shoot right through the red light (his way) at about the same instant I'd be going through the intersection. Too close! We were both going too fast to stop in time.

I whipped the steering wheel to the left (wrong side of the road, but no one was coming my way), and at that instant, he saw me and romped on the binders. He was still moving fast as I hit the accelerator and passed in front of him in the oncoming lane relative to me. We missed each other by about the thickness of my paint and the chrome-plating on his front bumper. I then whipped the steering wheel back to the right to get back on my own side of the street.

He stopped in the middle of the street several car-lengths beyond the intersection (his tires were smoking), and I pulled over to the right curb and parked for a moment to reassemble myself. We both looked at each other. We were both shaking. I don't know what he was thinking, but I was giving thanks for the solid traction of the new steel-belted radials on my Honda Civic and the feeling that I was on rails as I did semi-impossible maneuvers. The impulse was to call him an idiot at the top of my lungs, but he looked wide-eyed and white as a sheet, and it was obviously that he was aware he had goofedórun a red lightóso I let it go. We gave each other a tentative wave, and went our separate ways.

It's amazing how, in situations like that, time can seem to expand, even though only a couple of seconds of real time pass. I was acutely aware of speeds, trajectories, possible g-forces if I tried to avoid a collision by cutting the corner and whipping a left turn (wouldn't have made itóradials of not, I'd have slid broadside into a light pole), and made a couple of calculated decisions ("No! No! Yes! Maybe. . . .") in less than a second.

Been there. Done that. At least a similar kind of danger. That's why the heart started pounding, I got knots in my stomach, and my knuckles turned white as I read your post. Damned well written, by the way. Evocative.

Glad you and yours are okay!

Don Firth