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Still the same Close Shave

Anyway, as I was saying before I was so rudely set upon by a bunch of Pharisees,  I had moved to the middle of nowhere, wrested control of the project from the guy who thought he was in charge, and got myself a reliable car. Things were going great, cue the ominous music…

One clear and sweltering Summer morning as I made my way to work, the sun only just peeking over the horizon, and the sound of cattle gently lowing in the air (Dorothea McKeller* eat your heart out), little did I know that within minutes my life would take an unexpected turn. (now that there’s some mighty fine writtin’)

For those who have lived, or are living in a remote area, you would already know that your windshield (windscreen to some) always seems to have a coating of bugs, complete with the attendant yellow and white gunk that oozes out of them on impact, for everyone else, now you also know. It was this patina of pests that made driving into the sun very difficult, so much so that I had to stick my head out the window in order to navigate the road up to the main site.

In case you’re unaware (although for the life of me I can’t imagine there’s anyone among us who hasn’t driven with their head out the window), there is a natural tendency for the car to head in the direction that your head goes. This means that the car ends up on the wrong side of the road. That sounds lot worse than it was, firstly is was a private road, and secondly I was only doing about 30 miles an hour.

The trouble was however, that even with sticking my head out the window, my vision was still very much impeded by the bright sun shinning directly into my eyes, it was so bad that it seemed like I was driving at night with no lights. The best I could do was focus on edge of the asphalt and try to keep the car lined up with it.

Unfortunately for me the road had a slight incline, fortunately for the guy at the other trying to get the concrete truck started, it had a slight decline which was just perfect for clutch starting the truck. One minute I was blindly making my way to work in my newly fixed up car, and the next I was rapidly making my way to hospital in an ambulance.

I spent the next six weeks in hospital, and then another 14 weeks in an ankle-to-hip cast, and I had lost my front teeth, well actually I didn’t lose them exactly, I just left them stuck in the door of my car. When I finally got back to work, I asked the guy driving the truck about what happened (bear mind that I knew him before the crash), and he laughingly replied "It was the strangest thing, I was sitting in the truck and saw you coming up the road, when all of a sudden you just lined your car up with my truck and came straight at me, I thought you were just screwing around and before I realised what was happening it was too late." It must have seemed funny to him at the time, for his back was to the sun so everything would have seemed normal.

So there you have it, I promised you that the next close shave would have dire consequences for me an it did, even today my leg hurts in cold weather, and my teeth never did grow back.

Oh, here’s a little treat that I just found for you, the actual entry I made about the crash at the time (and I seems I was a year out with my earlier estimate, it was actually ’75 not ’74, but I was close, and I did say around 1974)…


Stay tuned, I’ve got even more close shaves.

*Coincidentally, that poem was written on a sheep station not far from here.


35 Responses

  1. Good grief, that’s really funny! I thought “patina of pests” was inspired!! And that illustration …
    I can’t believe you have more close shaves – I would think they don’t get much closer than this!

  2. jesus christ, WT. i’m going to send you something that we have here in amerrika that can prevent such catastrophes from happening to you again…. we call them sunglasses.

    i’m glad you lived.

  3. oh, wait, i forgot: 😉

    or was it ; ) damn.

  4. Now you’ve got laurie all confused. I hope you’re proud of yourself.

    I took care of a man in our ICU forever (it seemed to me,anyway). He had decided to end it all and jumped in front of a (fully loaded) city bus. Somehow he misjudged timing wise and the poor bastard survived. Not unscathed, believe me.

    But for weeks (after he could finally talk) he would scream that the sun had been his undoing, and that if it hadn’t been for the glare he would have been successful.

    “The goddamned glare,” he shouted for hours.Over and over.

    Perhaps you two should meet.

  5. I think I’d like to send you some bubble wrap. Your stories never disappoint.

  6. Melissa – This was one of the more extreme ones.

    Laurie – I was wearing sunglasses, you really need to experience sunrise on a plain to know how blinding it is.

    As for your addendum, I suppose it depends on the ethnicity of the writer, if you are Asian or Micronesian you’d probably go with ;), however if you were Slavic or Eastern European, I’m guessing you would look more like ; ). However, in the absence of an extensive knowledge of cranial anthropology, either would be fine.

    RC – Hey it’s not my fault if Laurie (I prefer the big ‘l’) can’t figure out what to do with her punctuation marks.

  7. Dude. You’ve got more lives than a cat.

    Thanks for the poetry link – it was beautiful.

  8. I loved your illustrations. Was that a dingo splatted? How come there seem to be two bodies? I am sure I couldn’t take the bright sunshine. I have to wear sunglasses year round here. Even clouds create glare for me.

  9. which dog was in the accident? the one splayed all over the left hand side of the page?

  10. Junebug and enidd – The dog lying flat out was a Red Cattle Dog, and the one running away was a Beagle (both mine, and neither were hurt). The guy underneath me was another electrician who I shared a house with, he only spent a night in hospital.

  11. I tried to read your old journal entry and am now under the firm opinion that you missed your calling, you’d have made a fine doctor.

  12. Was it the Red Cattle Dog or the beagles that are saying F*CK? You do have a way with words WT! And now, I see you also can draw! Glad you lived.

  13. Being nosy I’m curious to know what Linda said in her letter to make you very happy!!! No wonder you can recall everything so vividly if you keep all your old diaries!

  14. Chris – As it happens, I didn’t remember to check the journal until after I’d written the post, and I only included it as an afterthought becasue I like to include a picture. I was pleased that my reporting at the time pretty much matched the post.

    As for Linda, I don’t even remember who she was, let alone what the letter was about! Actually, it just dawned on me who she was as I wrote that last sentence. How about that!?

  15. Omg how awful. Well I’m really glad you lived to tell the tale.

  16. Cripes, I go away for a few days and all hell breaks loose around here.

    I loved this story, not because you almost died (although that adds a certain thrill*grin*), but just because I have also driven into the sun with a “patina of pests” on my car. Who knew we had so much in common.

  17. Cat o’ Nine Lives…

    This was about #4?

    The only time I hang my head out the window is when I’m NOT driving…

  18. Please enlighten me. Does “writtin” have anything to do with a writ?

    You got Laurie to use 😉 or maybe ; ). Actually, now that I think about it, you got her to use both. I am stunned. Stunned, I tell you.

    Glad you, the dogs and the poor electrician were ok.

  19. Sure, and no one cares about the poor truck driver who was traumatized for life and driven to drink by the guilt…

    Glad you made it, glad the dogs made it, can’t believe I missed the car question yesterday after you wrote about it the day before!

  20. Just think – all of that could have been avoided if you had just pulled over and cleaned off the windshield. What? you didn’t have any water with you? Well – I think urine might have worked just as well.

  21. uh, yeah, remind me to never ride in a car with you at the wheel. as my friend Erin would say to me, Dumbass!!! (and I do say that with full affection because you obviously survived to tell the tale…)

  22. Like watching movies about superheroes, the good thing about these close shave stories is that we know that the outcome is going to be okay because you obviously are still here. However, this close shave does seem very close.

  23. One might say that even the Pharisees are forgiven.

  24. Can someone PLEASE inform me as to what is going on here? I have plenty of feed in the barn.

  25. Oh and if you think the Pharisees are a problem, wait till the Philistines pull in …

  26. Wow I was biting my nails to the finish wondering if you made it out alive. :-O

    Love the journal and drawings. Your life stories could certainly fill a book.

  27. Are you that comatose furry thing in the picture?
    Is it right or wrong that I now feel much better about not commenting on your blog lately?

  28. best comment of today (if you’re keeping track): Swampy’s. it’s derivative, but in an ironic way. ; )

  29. geez, journal complete with drawings! I hate people who can pull that off! sigh.

  30. I’ve always wondered what that gooey stuff was that came out of bugs when they crashed into my window.

    Now I’m wondering, Is it their teeth?

  31. ….and do they keep journals.

  32. Wow you keep a diary! That’s amazing!

  33. Did you get yourself a new grill?

    Man, this was intense! You take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’! What a treasure that journal is. I don’t know if my heart can take many more of your close shaves.

  34. Good grief, WT! Glad you survived that one! (How did you not HEAR a cement mixer?) Too bad about the car.

    Love your journal! I haven’t been able to use the computer at home for several days now, and not being able to journal/blog about each day just about drove me crazy (as I was on the brink anyway), so I’m back to writing on paper. I won’t say how many pages I use per day 😉 even without illustrations.

    Your leg wouldn’t like Wisconsin, too bad.

  35. Oiy, I know exactly what you speak of when it comes to driving in the country and those damn squished bugs AND into the sun. Add in a couple of cracks in the windshield from flying rocks and it’s a wonder stuff like this doesn’t happen more often. Glad you’re ok and lived to blog about it :o)

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