Many of us speak of our first car with fondness. I am foremost among them, but not for the reasons you’d think.
It was the day after Christmas, 2002. I was driving my Dodge Intrepid down Interstate 10 from Luke Air Force Base in Phoenix, where I was stationed, to visit my grandfather in Tucson. A nap attack arrived – I swear it’s always around 1:35pm – and I figured I could fight the fatigue and keep driving. Older and wiser now, I advise thus: pull over and nap. It only takes twenty minutes to reset your body.
That day, somewhere north of Casa Grande, I nodded off. The freeway curved to the right; I did not. The rumble strips woke me up and I swerved hard right to correct – too hard. The back end of my Intrepid swung out left and took the rest with it. I remember only skidding into the median like a really loud, really fast, really big bike accident multiplied by ten. It remains the most terrifying 1.5-second memory of my life.
The next thing I remember was lying face up, outside my car, blood streaming down my face as I stared up at the sky, scared, wondering what had happened.