Mario Villalobos

Stay Tuned

I stared at the instrument panel like nothing had happened. I turned to my right and saw a red truck stopped about 25 yards away, its emergency lights flashing. I turned to my left and I saw a white car doing the same thing. I turned the keys in the ignition but my engine wouldn’t start. I glazed over the gear selector and stared at the glowing R while I turned the ignition, and it didn’t hit me that I was in reverse. I put my car in park, took a breath, turned the ignition again and heard my engine roar proudly. I was parked perpendicular on the road, the front of my car in one lane, the back in the other. I had spun out of control, and it happened so fast I didn’t know that I escaped a potentially dangerous situation unscathed.

As far as I can remember, the drive to work was normal. It had snowed a little bit last night, but nothing I haven’t driven on before. I wanted today to be a good day that I even stopped at Dobson’s Coffee Company for an Americano. I treat myself to a Dobson Creek Americano about once a month, and today just happened to be that day. The speed limit on the highway is 70 MPH, but I usually max out at around 65 and set my car on cruise control. Traffic was slower today so I couldn’t do that. Everything seemed normal. I made my right toward Charlo, and drove around 60 in a 65 all the way until the 45 MPH left turn. It was around here that I stopped paying attention to the conditions on the road. I’ve driven this path so many times that everything I did was automatic. I was lost in a podcast I was listening to, and all I was thinking about was getting to work and drinking my Americano. After ending the left turn, I applied a bit a pressure to the gas pedal.

The rest is kind of fuzzy. I must have veered a little too much to the right side of the road and hit the snow that the plow missed. I think my right back tire locked up on the snow, causing me to lose control. My car started curving to the left, and my instincts must have hit because I turned my wheel to the right. This made things worse. When I realized things were getting worse, I didn’t panic. Hell, everything just became clear. I knew I had to turn toward the turn, and that’s what I did. I did a 180, saw the red truck driving and slowing down toward me before stopping, and stopped in the middle of the road. I knew what had just happened, but it didn’t hit me until later. I unbuckled my seat belt while pressing my foot on the break, and all I wanted to do was to get out of there. Once I maneuvered my car back onto the road, my seat belt still off, a bit of my Americano spilled on top of the cap, I resumed my drive to work.

The rest of the day was normal. Once I got out of my car and walked toward the teacher’s lounge to clock in, I forgot I missed a potentially dangerous accident. In fact, I completely forgot about it for the whole rest of the day at work, and I only remembered once I turned on my car again after work and knew I had to drive back home. That flash of fear lasted for only a second, and once I was back out on the road, I felt fine. The whole experience was intense but not really that scary. I wasn’t going to let myself get hurt; not like that. My uncle died in a car crash, and I’m not letting that happen to me.

I still have a lot of life yet to live. Stay tuned.