Stowing the suitcase made me think of the incident. There've been many unanswered questions. Lots of speculation. And buckets of concern about our rocky mountain car accident. My husband sustains aches and pains, but my emotional scarring has scabbed over. At the time, I could only write short posts from my iPhone. (A technological feat I'm still amazed I accomplished.) But now I'm ready to fill in the juicy details...
It was at my insistence. "Michael, it's Sebastian's Spring break. We ARE going away." Really, I had only one restriction. Had to be driving distance. Air travel is just too much of a hassle these days, and t'aint cheap. I found a place in Lake Arrowhead, up in the mountains. This is going to be good, I thought. An adventure.
Before we left, Michael had a conflict...a couple of conflicts: a show and an audition. Of course he did. (All I need to do for my husband's career to pick up is book a vacation.) Although not eco-friendly, we had to take both cars. I traveled solo. He had the kids in the Toyota Sequoia which is so embarrassingly big it has its own zip code. Everything was dandy, until we hit the hill taking us up to Arrowhead.
I'm not sure if he will approve of my splashing his phobias all over the web, however my husband has many. Because of this, there are vacation rules. Not too high up in the mountains. Not too close to the shore. No hot air balloons. No scuba. No helicopters. No deep sea fishing. And topping the list, combining his fear of water and height, no boat planes! I've never driven to Arrowhead so I didn't know of the windy, narrow roads, flimsy guardrails, plunge-to-your-death heights.
As we convoyed, I knew Michael was white knuckling it. Perhaps because my typically leadfoot husband insisted on fifteen miles an hour. However, we made it up the mountain, got lost, found our way to the resort (and I use that word loosely) without Michael needing to smoke too many cigarettes.
Michael sized up the place immediately. He groused that it was going to be our white trash vacation. I nudged him in the ribs and tried to focus on what Guy Behind Desk was telling us about the kids not being allowed in the jacuzzi. (Not good. Sebastian's favorite thing is roiling water at uncomfortable temps. Oh, well, I'll cross that bridge...) Michael interrupted, "Is there a stove?" This seemed somewhat out of place, since I do 99.98% of the cooking. But his instincts were spot on. Guy Behind Desk told us there may be a hot plate in the kitchenette. Michael cut his eyes at me. It was a look that said, "What the fuck kind of place did you book us in?" Guy Behind Desk then pulled out a map and proceeded to draw an arrow to our accommodations. He just as easily could have saved a tree and pointed, "Head that way two structures."
I pulled in to the parking place with ease...and that's when I heard it. The Sequoia skreeeeeched in anger and lurched forward. It jumped the curb and started to take my family down a hill.
My heart in my throat, I tried to get out of my car, but I was in drive and my door does not open until the car is in park. My mind refused to work as fast as I needed.
How do I park again? Because if I park, I can fling my door open wide. If I open my door, I can run to the Sequoia and throw myself in front of the behemoth, which would stop the car from plunging off a cliff. Surely that's a plan. But first I have to get out of this car. Dammit. How the fuck do I put this car into park?!
Luckily, there were pine saplings willing to give their lives to save my family. Otherwise they would have gone down that hill and hit an unsuspecting ramshackle bungalow complete with hotplate. When the car came to its resting position, two of its four tires were off the ground.
First thought, get the kids out! I could not have predicted this. Kids before husband. But Michael validated my instinct. Good. Kids safe. Now husband. But his door was blocked by a pine. He'd have to climb to the other side with two wheels off the ground! In the eeriest of calm voices he said, "I refuse to take my foot off the brake. I'll just wait for help." And then he started to text and email his friends.
The folks at the resort couldn't have been nicer and couldn't have responded more slowly. First, a maintenance guy named Victor moseyed on up to see what the ruckus was about. He assessed that there was an accident, alright, saying, "You boys might need a tow truck." He scratched his head, then his balls, then his head again and reiterated, "Yep. A tow truck."
I grabbed my kids, quickly walked to reception interrupting Guy Behind Desk in deep self reflection. He seemed flustered at my urgent demeanor. He grabbed the phone book, fumbling through its pages and then stopped. He wanted to know if I had AAA. What? No. Who cares? I'll pay out of pocket. Could you please hurry!!
He finally found the number he needed, gave Tow Truck Operator the address and directions, and then the questions started. The make of the car. The model of the car. The year of the car. It's an SUV, isn't it? And I tried to be calm. I tried to play along answering stupid questions. But then I snapped. I put on my best Terms of Endearment Shirley MacLaine, banged on the desk to impress upon Guy Behind Desk and Tow Truck Operator the severity of the situation, "What color is my car? It's about to go over a cliff and my husband is in it!!! That's what color my car is. This is an emergency. We need someone! NOW!!!"
Half hour later... Help arrived in the form of Dennis. Finally, someone with a competent body...I mean, someone competent to help us out. He hooked up his big rig. Attached his equipment to our rear. He started by pulling gently. But we were stuck on something, so he had to pull harder. Then he'd loosen and pull, alternating in this manner, back and forth, back and forth, until he got just the right angle. It was excruciating to just watch. I wanted to jump right in and do something. But finally, and in unison, both Dennis and Michael yelled in triumph. And I have to tell you, it was a beautiful thing when Dennis finally released his equipment, my husband free of burden.
So, there you have it. All the juicy details as promised. I doubt we're going to Lake Arrowhead anytime soon, so I don't know if I'll ever see Dennis again. But I'll never forget. Dennis, who saved my husband, the tow truck man with capable, capable hands.