I had my first highway collision last Friday. When I say highway, I don’t mean that it was a high-speed hit. I was actually stopped, halted by I-95’s typical bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic south of D.C. The guy behind me failed to notice I wasn’t moving and BAM a horrible sounding metal-on-metal crash slammed my body forward. All the stuff that has gradually accumulated in my car, despite my best efforts to contain it, flew to my feet – pens, nail file, post-it notes, shoes, directions, half-eaten banana.
Thank God the man wasn’t going very fast… maybe 20mph or even less, I really don’t know. My head banged back hard against my headrest and I sat there for a few moments wondering what to do. The shock subsided as a merging 18-wheeler jolted me to action and I pulled off the road, the perpetrator following.
I stepped out of my car on wobbly legs, shaken and sore in my neck, but otherwise fine. The damage was, to my surprise, not much more than some chipped paint and an imprint of his license plate, and after exchanging insurance information, each of us drove off.
The problem was I still had 4 hours to go until I reached my destination: Durham, North Carolina. That’s a long way to go on a good day after almost 3 hours already stuck in the car – and after the crash, all I wanted to do was get there – or anywhere really – and get out.
I continued on my journey, and somewhere around Richmond started following a little white pick-up truck with Texas tags. For some reason, I found comfort in this nondescript car, and stayed behind it for awhile before losing it as I got off I-95 onto I-85. But a few miles later, I found the little white truck again and kept in its wake well beyond crossing the NC border.
I’m not sure what it was about this car – it was pretty nondescript, and I never saw the driver. I doubt he thought any more of me than a pair of bright lights on his tail. But when I finally got too low on gas to risk waiting for another exit, I veered off the road, regretfully parting from my leading guide.
I finally did make it to Good Fellows bar at midnight, just in time to ring in JC’s birthday. The next day we drove to Wrightsville Beach in Wilmington, and I can honestly say that jumping in the cold salty ocean never felt so good.