Much as I predicted the month of December has done a bang up job of keeping me off my bike. I know I’ve mentioned that driving is a high stress activity for me. My distaste for driving is one of the few things I feel truly passionate about. Between running around for the holiday errands, playing the part of family chauffeur, and being ill (again!) this month has all been a bust for me getting any serious miles in. I have been assured that the holiday season is highly disruptive to most people’s schedules; that’s what I always wanted to be lumped in with “most people”. At any rate the amount of time I have been spending driving all over town has made me an angry and nervous wreck.
The other day my wife and I left the house early to do just a little bit of last-minute shopping for Christmas. It had been a long stretch of work and it seemed like I’d been getting less and less sleep, as I was getting home later than normal only to have to get up a few hours later to get our daughter ready for school; my mornings had been filled with a combination of yard work and errand running. I have been wearily trudging along, my sights set on December twenty-fifth because after that I might be able to sleep in for a couple of days. It was an unusually chilly morning, at least for Florida, so the I had the heater on, mostly just to defog the windows. I don’t normally listen to the radio while I drive but, my wife likes to listen to NPR in the mornings. She was discussing with me our itinerary of stores that we were going to be checking for the gifts we had left to buy. It was shaping up to be yet another in a series of all day driving events.
The extended lack of sleep, the practiced rhythmic drone of the radio announcer, and the comforting warmth of the trucks heater was making me drowsy and I began to get distracted. I apparently had not heard my wife tell me something so she touched my arm and called my name. I glanced at her for a just a second and then I heard her suck a breath quickly through her teeth. I knew before my head whipped around what happened. I didn’t see the light had turned red.
I slammed the brakes but it was too late. The truck slowed, but not enough to stop me from running into the little coupe stopped in front of me. I couldn’t believe the physics involved as the impact forced the other car into the traffic of the intersection where it got hit on the passenger side by another that was turning left; the two cars spun around and then apart in a shower of metal and glass. In less than a few seconds other drivers, unable to react in time careened into the wreckage; car after car piled into the intersection, in a seeming endless stream.
This is the point that I woke up in my bed, again. Just like I had the time before, and the one before that. The scene continued to play out in the predawn morning over and over again. Each time I awoke I had to spend several minutes adjusting to the fact that none of it had actually happened.
I’ve been driving too much. Far, far too much. Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up and find out that the errands have been finally finished and I can get back on the bike. I have to get back to riding soon or I’m gonna loose my god damned mind. In the meantime I can take some solace that I have not, in fact, caused some god awful traffic accident that quite possibly killed and/ or maimed several people.