Saturday, October 27, 2007

not dead

My last thought turning into the ECP was I am going to a hari raya lunch and I am not bringing a present for the host. My last words to the crayolas were I'm going out but I will come back and look for you.

The morning started ordinarily enough. Playing the guitar. Watching tv. Watching the poster paint dry on the pieces of drawing block. Green. Yellow. Blue. When all combined, they are the colour of autumn leaves. Trying to get them to finish their lunch. Just one more spoon of noodles ok?

I just got into the car when G called to get him from the airport. The timing was perfect. I would pick him up then we would go for lunch together. Turning onto the ECP, I tried to turn on the radio but gave up with fiddling with the knobs, turned up the AC because it was hot afternoon and stepped on the accelerator. It was a simple drive. Straight, no traffic lights and in less than15 mins I would reach the airport.

Because I'm not a fast driver, I took the middle lane. The rest of the journey is a blank recollection. Lulled by the sun, the quietness of the car and the AC burring at me, this is what happened. I dozed off - at the wheel.

The thing which saved my life, which woke me up was the rumble strip installed by LTA. I was jolted awake by the loud BRRR sound.

Rumble strips are grooves or rows of raised pavement markers placed perpendicular to the direction of travel to alert inattentive drivers. As a vehicle passes over the rumble strips, noise and vibration are produced, alerting the driver they are approaching a hazard.

From the middle lane, the car had veered to the rightmost lane. In that split second before I met fatality or the-end, I jerked my steering well to the left. Crunch! The right hand side of the car impacted the metal divider and I barely scraped away alive...I looked at my mirrors. There were cars behind me. I couldn't stop so I continued to drive on.

At the airport, G walked towards me smiling. It could have been a lot different. He asked me whether someone scraped the car. I give him the car keys and wobbily shifted myself to the passenger side "I'll tell you later, but i nearly died". I repeated it several times. I nearly died. Nearly died. G kept a calm and reassuring hand on my lap. His hand felt warm against the layer of cold sweat which had settled on my skin.

The rest of the afternoon continued in a blur - hari raya goodies, warm tea which my friend made for me to calm me down. I admired her new plasma tv then felt ashamed at how, i was hankering again after a new TV. We do all these things. Build our castles. Accumulate our possessions. Distract ourselves with media and pretty things. The vanity of all the things we do to preserve our physical selves. And all it takes is one crash.

I thought about the rumble strip. About the amazing guy who invented it. I wanted him to know that he saved my life with this simple invention. I wanted go on my knees and kiss the entire length of rumble strips along the ECP as well as the LTA. God was that you? You, who mercifully knew that I was unprepared to meet you and sent angels to save me?

When I got home, the enormity of returning to a life which could have ended in an instant, made me feel like a ghost returning to a life that didn't belong to me.

And I can't really get over it.


Anonymous eileen said...

I am sure that the Lord protected you, carrie. Thank God you are alive & for your life!

8:41 AM  
Anonymous sesame said...

Gosh. That was too close. Thank goodness for the strips!

Please, always have the radio on. I alway switch to class 95 even though I sometimes hate the DJs talking but the crap keeps me awake!

6:04 PM  
Anonymous Jeremy said...

Wow, I really thank God that He chose to preserve your life. I guess a near-death experience really puts everything in perspective, doesn't it. Thank Him also, for inspiring that brilliant someone to create rumble strips.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous imp said...

oh my gaawd. very close shave.

hope you're feeling alot better now.

2:44 AM  
Blogger carrie said...

Eileen- Everyday is a blessing.
Sesame-I'll keep the radio on
Jeremy-yes, very grateful
Imp-Its a miracle that I can continue to follow your blog

4:30 PM  
Anonymous Tiff said...

Carrie! That was the day after I saw you! Thank god for those noisy strips. Glad you are ok.

8:49 PM  
Blogger Ivan Chew said...

I'm not sure if I'm offering anything constructive. With time, you'll probably accept what has happened. You writing about it is a way to speed up that process. I think in your shoes, what's really important will be what I intend to do with the rest of my life. The near-death experience is in the past after-all. I won't necessarily change my life-style drastically. But at least I'll be mindful of what's the really important stuff.

8:30 AM  
Blogger carrie said...

tiff - yah, glad i managed to catch you and the bunch. Even tho we were just watching telly, it meant something.

ivan - when minor things go wrong in my life right now, almost crashing into a metal divider puts things in perspective.

4:27 AM  
Anonymous ying said...

whoa! glad nothing happened to you.. I had the same experience with them rumble strips a few months ago.. had zonked off due to MSG reaction which, when i have too much of, shuts down my system! and the rumble jolted me right back to life.

8:04 AM  
Blogger carrie said...

Ying - very scary. Havent driven since. But will have to overcome the fear. Will write thank you note to LTA and mention that my friend also saved because of the rumble strip.

9:23 AM  

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