I am a country bumpkin to my core. I may have been born near Seattle (Bremerton Naval Hospital, actually), but 90% of my life has been spent in Idaho, an 80% in the Northern part of the state. This may seem like an unnecessary distinction, but considering the different landscape and density in population, they might as well be two different states.
About two years ago, due to the poor economy in the area, my mom moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma to live with her brother for a while until she was able to take care of herself financially again. Her roots lie in Northern Idaho even more than mine do, and since my brother and I both stayed where we were, I imagine it was incredibly difficult for her to stay here when my brother and I boarded the plane home without her. I know it was difficult for me at least.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was finishing up school at the University of Idaho and eager to move back to Coeur d' Alene, the place that my heart considers home. My family, childhood friends, and everything familiar to me are there. I started looking for a place to live and a job back in April, but it became more and more apparent that there was nowhere for my cat and I to go.
My family is huge and awesome and generous, so please don't make any bad assumptions there. If any of them had the space and financial security and the space for my cat they all would have jumped at the opportunity to provide shelter while I found a job and saved money for my own place. The idea of joining Mom half way across the country had occurred to me, but I had snubbed it because Tulsa is large, confusing, miserably hot and a humid, and about 1800 miles from “home”. As finals week drew ever nearer, however, I finally stopped being stubborn and had to admit that Mom and my cousins down in Tulsa had a point. I could go there. So I did.
So last Sunday, the morning after a glorious graduation party put on my by aunt, my mother and I set out for Tulsa with my brother along for a temporary trip. My Dodge Durango (affectionately dubbed “Ivan”) was full to the brim with things I wanted to bring, though they were strategically placed so I could see out my back window. My cat rode with me (shotgun after whining in her carrier and drowning out my music for two hours – she quieted down after being out of it), and my mother and younger brother either leading or following in her sedan.
We first passed into Montana, which is a beautiful state. My favorite part of the drive was the gently rolling and fading hills as we passed out of the Rockies and into flatter lands. I would have photos of these had my camera not rebelled and lost them forever.
About five hours into the drive was when this trip, quite bluntly, began to suck.
It was raining and cold and nasty in Montana on the road towards Billings. This made stopping for gas and potty breaks uncomfortable, but while inside my car I had no issue with the weather...until a point. This point came when I rose over the top of the hill and quite suddenly there was stopped traffic in front of me for some reason. I had a millisecond to assume it was an accident before I realized that I could not stop.
I was in the passing lane and figured I'd just turn, slide into the median, and then motor my way back out once the coast was clear. No collision, no muss, no fuss. Except not.
Perhaps the bank was more slick than I anticipated, perhaps it was more steep, perhaps both. Whatever caused it, the next instant up was down and the reverse was true, and my car came to a heavy stop on its wheels in the grass and mud and several of my belongings were scattered nearby, growing muddier and soggier by the second. It was at this point that I realized my car had just done a barrel roll and landed perpendicular to both sides of I-90.
By some Divine intervention (and I truly believe that), I was not injured. No blood anywhere, and if I was hurt internally I couldn't feel it yet. My panic-stricken but quiet brain was busy realizing that my cat was no longer in the seat beside me and I needed to find her. I shoved open my door to the sound of my mother in hysterics rushing towards me from my car and several strangers gathering around to ask what happened and lovingly gather my belongings from the mud. Starz (the cat) was in the back seat looking the most confused I have ever seen a living thing. I pulled her out and herded her into her carrier, then closed it. Or I assume I did that. I remember picking her up and her hissing because she was scared, but the action of securing her isn't really in my memory.
I do remember mom's continued screaming, clinging, my brother being the cool cucumber as always, people asking what happened, police men, and some Army personnel in uniforms helping out, one of whom insisted that I sit down and grab a blanket from the back of my car because I was probably in shock. I think that was a fair assumption. I was stubborn for a bit and didn't get back in the car, but I finally obeyed. Thinking back I wonder if he would have sat me down himself and shut me in the car. I wouldn't blame him.
At some point an ambulance showed up to check me out. I was... impressively coherent and still not in pain. I even noticed the paramedic writing the wrong birth year on my documentation.
I don't like thinking about this event to begin with, mostly because it costs me sleep. Beside that, the rest of the day was very technical and I spent it in a stupor. My car was towed to the nearby tiny town of Big Timber, we stayed in a Super 8, I had a shower and was the most hungry I had been in a while after a couple of hours. The soreness also started about an hour after the fact, but that part wasn't surprising. I was in a far less serious collision almost two years ago (not my fault), and once the shock wore off everything hurt due to the tension in my body from the shock of the accident and the lack of control of my car. Except more things hurt this time because I'd been on an unwanted roller coaster ride.
At the moment he's parked outside my mom's apartment sporting plastic sheets held over said windows with duct tape.
That's right, my car was still drive-able, also by Divine intervention. Mom drove it the rest of the way while my brother and I took turns piloting her car, but it held together for the rest of the journey and is still in (more or less) one piece. I drove it out shopping today.
This seems more than enough for one entry, so tomorrow (or soon after) there will be more.