Monday, January 19, 2009

FWG: Wear Your Seat Belt

Its Sunday January 19, 12:36pm, and I'm locked in the back of a cop car. How did this happen?...


This weekend me and the girlfriend decided to take another weekend trip to NH to get in some more well deserved snowboarding. Saturday morning it was a snot freezing -12 degrees out. I didn't expect it to be Miami Beach but something above zero would have been just fine.
After last week's trip, I was definitely feeling a lot more confident.

Next logical step: Hit the board park. My early years snowboarding had involved a lot of methods, nose bones, 360s, and the occasional board slide. I don't know what I was thinking. After several major diggers my pride and back were killing me and I decided it was time to retire to the "Bunyan Room" to treat my wounds. Dr. Lunn was on call, his prescription? Drink two beers and call me in the morning.

Unfortunately, that is not where our story ends. It's actually where it just begins.
Sunday night I had an important business meeting to get back to (I was scheduled to work at one of our local bars). So we decided we would forgo the 8 inches of fresh powder on the ground and make our trek back to UConn. We started out on 93 South at about 11:00am making our way through he back roads of Lincoln NH to find out desired route, noting several times along the way that the plow driver "must have been drunk" considering that the roads looked like they had been barely touched. So we get on 93, going no more than 40 miles an hour. The biggest thing on my mind was how Kurt Warner was still tearing up opposing defenses even after receiving his AARP card. And then, like something out of a bad action movie I turned to the girlfriend and said, "These people passing us are crazy. Totally unsafe. You watch, they'll be spun off the side of the road in no time." About a minute later, the Volvo in front of us brakes and so did we. Only instead of a reduction in speed (the intended result), all of a sudden our 2001 Grand Cherokee is fish tailing across two lanes, bouncing back an forth like a life size game of PONG. In a flash the car had done a 360, facing on coming traffic, and flew into a snowbank.

The next few seconds happened in super-hi-def-slo-mo. The Jeep hits. Slips. A loud thud. And we are barrel-rolling before being suspended upside-down.
I looked to the girlfriend who was breathing heavily and had my one pure moment of panic. on her windshield there was a thick-red liquid pooling. I automatically assumed it was blood. I freaked out, before realizing it was power-steering fluid. That was my holy-shit moment of the day.

I tried to undo my seat belt but it wouldn't release. Here is where I tell you that everyone makes fun of me for having a multi-tool on my key chain, but I was able to cut myself out of my seat belt. Two motorists stopped and called 911 and I was able to cut the girlfriend out of her belt as well and get her out of the car. We were alright. We walked away without a scratch. A miracle.

The cops and ambulance showed up, and this is where our scary ordeal takes a turn for the hilarious. It was absolutely freezing out, and the State Trooper told us to get in the backseat of his cruiser to stay warm. What a great guy. He gave us one piece of advice, "Don't let the door shut." He was off to direct traffic and we were left there to wonder about all the what ifs. What if my hockey skates had hit one of us? What if I wasn't wearing a seat belt? What if we had been going faster?

My girlfriend is an amazing person. She was a bit shook up, but remained incredibly calm the entire time. Fall asleep in bed while she's talking? It's World War III. Flip her car over on your Sunday drive? Just another day at the office.

I got out of the squad car to grab some of our belongings and the insurance information for our now upside-down Jeep. It was a complete mess. iPods, cell phones, everything thrown all over the place. It was like you placed the car in a giant cocktail mixer. Shaken, not stirred.

I trudged back through the snow to the cop car, got in and without thinking let the door shut behind me. After all that, flipping the car, cutting the belts, the evaluation by the EMTs, we were now locked in the back seat of a police car.
5 minutes go by. 10 minutes go by. 15. 20. Nothing. Apparently no one was wondering where the two passengers of said-totaled-Jeep Cherokee were. First off, I've never spent (considerable) time in the back of one of those things. Instead of a regular back seat, its a plastic shell. We were in there so long my butt went numb and I couldn't feel my toes. That backseat alone is the reason anyone over 6'4 shouldn't get arrested. We couldn't help by laugh. I finally convinced her to try and fit her body through the little window in the plexi-glass divider.

Finally we were rescued by a trooper who saw the girlfriend trying to wriggle her way into the front seat. He then informed us: without those seat belts you wouldn't be alive. I'll skip the details about our drive home and the insurance phone calls and calls to our parents.

Bottom line: Wear your seat belt.

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