February 6th, 2006

truck

like a bullet


had every intention of posting an entry about my birthday weekend in Pittsburgh for my next entry, but then something happened today which pre-empted that. I had picked up a load this afternoon in southern Indiana and was taking it to Georgia for delivery tomorrow morning. I was travelling along I-64 through downtown Louisville. For those of you familiar with the city, I was going beneath the pedestrian overpass beside the Galt House hotel on the waterfront, eastbound.

I had been talking with welfy on the phone for the past couple of hours, relieving her boredom at work as well as mine. My friend Robin had tried calling me earlier in our conversation but I ignored it, with the intention of calling her back later. Now she was calling me again, so I decided to see what she wanted. I'm not quite used to my new phone, so I completely screwed-up the call-waiting switch over and accidentally hung both of them up. I called Robin back; she was on her lunch break from work and was wanting to shoot the breeze. I told her I had been talking with Welf and that I 'd call her back a little later. Upon hanging up, I hit the speed dial to call Welf back. It was at this moment that I was entering the overpass. Long, pretty icicles were dangling from its underside. While listening to the phone ring in the earpiece of my headset, I heard a VERY LOUD THUD.

I wasn't sure what had hit me at that exact moment, but skilled-instinct had already assumed control, making preparations. I was already reacting to the THUD independent of any direct input from my brain. My right foot had already come off the accelerator and was covering the brake. My left foot had already engaged the clutch and my right hand had instinctivley moved from the steering wheel to the shift-stick and had pulled it out of gear, preparing for an immediate downshift. I performed an immediate scan of my mirrors and the road ahead of me. All of this occured within a split second, because in the next split-second I felt something land on my left arm, holding the steering wheel.

When you look at something and you don't see anything which makes sense in the moment, it takes a few seconds to register. I must've looked completely bewildered at that moment, reacting to some unknown striking of my vehicle from the outside and the striking of my person on the inside, in what was essentially the same instant. I glanced down at my arm to find it speckled with tiny, shiny shards of glass. Quickly, though, all of the things which had unfolded prior to this moment clicked together like the pieces of a puzzle and I glanced above me.

My truck is outfitted with a skylight in the roof of the cab. It's a standard feature of Freightliner trucks. The fates of the highway decided it was time for a convertible. One of the icicles had fallen as I passed underneath, blasting through the skylight like a 60mph ice bullet.




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