Friday, February 11, 2011
The loss of my Camaro "Baby"
One rainy day in Oakland, Ca I was going somewhere, I don't remember where, and got on to a notoriously short on-ramp. You had to take a sharp turn and then gun it to get up to speed with the traffic. Well I did the turn and then the rear end started hydroplaning. I corrected it and finally got it under control and just when I was gunning it, it fishtailed violently again in the opposite direction. Next thing I knew I was spinning out of control into the freeway traffic. When I was stopped finally I realized that I was sitting sideways in the middle of the freeway. Oh crap!
I looked out the passenger window for traffic and all I saw was the huge grill of a Mack truck coming at me. Had a second to think "Dang this is gonna hurt!" and held on. That 18-wheeler hit me on the front of the car, spun me around, another 18-wheeler hit me on the rear end, spun me around the opposite way, and then another one drove over the front end. All I remember was that grill coming at me, crash, banging, noises, and getting rattled about.
After all the movement and noises stopped I opened my eyes and looked around. In my daze I realized that my baby was still running and none of the windows were broken so I tried to drive it to the side of the road. It actually moved, granted very wobbly, so I got over and just sat there a bit stunned. I got out and just stared at my baby. She was mangled and had a headlight hanging out by the wired like an eyeball knocked out of its socket.
Next thing I knew one of the truckers came up to me and was worried about me. He asked me if I was OK and all I could say was "My car! She is mangled! My baby!" Finally reality shook me awake and I said that I was fine and was everyone else. Everyone was OK except the last guy to hit me was pretty mad. The trucker that came to me actually kept him away from me and took care of me. Wish I knew who he was so I could thank him.
Now the freeway is all stopped up with rubberneckers and there was tons of police and fire there. Funny thing is that my Dad was stuck in that traffic jam and complaining about it, not realizing his own daughter was responsible.
During this an officer came up to me and pulled me aside. He asked me if there was anything in the car that he needed to know about. Dazed and confused I just stared at him. I asked him what the hell he was talking about. He took me over to my car and in the corner of the smushed trunk was a bunch of white powder. He asked me what that was. Well I said I don't know but if that is what I think it is I am going to kill whoever put it there. He just started laughing. We later figured out that it was the fire extinguisher that exploded in there.
I refused medical care because I was by then embarrassed and just wanted to go home and nurse my wounds. I also refused a tow truck because I didn't want to pay for it. Everyone looked at me like I was crazy but I asked the officer if I could and looking doubtful he said OK. I slowly nursed her back on the road and drove home. Everyone on the road was just staring at me the whole way home.
I parked in front of my place and went inside to figure out what to do next. Now I lived in a very small town back then and knew a ton of cops. They all knew my car because of the distinctive pinstriping and it was the only white Camaro ever parked there. Next thing I know I am getting calls from them asking what happened to my car. Seems one of them drove by my car and told everyone else.
After I called my mom she came home and took me to the ER. I was hurting pretty bad by then and was found to have numerous bruises all over, even in places that didn't make sense, and whiplash. I got a foam neck brace that I had to wear for 2 weeks. I hated it because it made me feel like I was one of those people who fake injuries to get money. I hid out in my place until I could go out in public without it.
A couple of days later we took my baby into the dealership to get an estimate for the insurance. I knew it was going to be a total loss even though I was hoping it wasn't. When I drove it there it was like driving a jalopy. It would go down the road bouncing forward and back. When I drove it into the garage of the dealership everyone in the place stopped what they were doing and just stared at me. You could have heard a pin drop in that moment. The mechanic I talked to couldn't believe I was able to drive it to them and was doubtful about it's prognosis. It was a total loss.