Altitudus Interruptus

We were having such a lovely day. We packed up good stuff and jumped in Mama's truck, cranked up the air and some tunes and headed north. On this trip my phone was set to "avoid highways" and, without peeking, we followed it, turn by turn, over the mountains and through the woods and on thru the desert. My GPS consistently showed us to arrive, surprisingly, within 10 minutes of the trip with all the traffic on the freeway.

I find it a bit ironic that our topic of conversation was how blessed we are considering the pandemic. We moved, we made it through to vaccinations, work stayed steady, kids are all healthy and happy, blah, blah, blah. Except for the tour getting canceled we did pretty well. So far.

We are driving Mama's big truck and Mama's driving. The wind is blowing 30 miles an hour with gusts to 50. We pull up to the stop sign laughing about how lucky we are, wondering when the other shoe will inevitably drop. Halfway through the intersection and BAM! we get hit by a Honda. A glancing blow to our left front headlight. He flies across all lanes and into a telephone pole. We roll forward and pull Mama's big truck off the road. Have you seen those videos of a kitten hitting a pitbull in the face? It was kinda like that.

We were still running and leaking only water. I had watched in slow motion as Wakitu banged her head and hip on the door. That and a seatbelt bruise had us calling for an ambulance to see about cracked ribs or whatever. I, too, hit my head but it hit me in the hatband so I felt like I was ok. I kicked the door open and ran to the other car and made sure everyone was ok. They were, including the baby. Barefoot in the biting wind, I ran around and check on Waki again. She's on with AAA while they call cops, medical and a tow truck. I trade paperwork with the Dad and offer tools to help get mom out of the car. With everyone OK, I run around to Waki's door. In the 30 mph wind we couldn't even talk. I ran back around to the passenger side and we talked and tried to figure what to do next.

We are in the middle of nowhere. With covid restrictions you are no longer allowed to ride in the tow truck. Our nearest "alternative ride" was over an hour away. Their alternative ride shows up and it turns out he is an EMT and offers to check on Waki. He too advises the hospital should be next. Their tow truck comes and goes and we are left on the corner in our dripping truck waiting in the wind for our turn. I don't know how they knew but the electric company was one of the first to respond.

Their car hit the pole so hard it moved it 2 inches in the dirt, and twisted it so the two cross ties had broken and were hanging by the carrier wire. While the tow truck driver is lost and on the phone with Waki the ambulance passes him and he says he'll just follow them in. So all at once we get a fire truck, a rescue truck, an ambulance and the tow truck. They are checking her out and I'm trying to figure out what to do with the truck and after talking to the driver we send it off to the firestone parking lot. He says it's somewhat safe and they have cameras. As they are loading Waki into the ambulance I throw him my keys and he promises to lock it up and leave them in the night drop box.

I gather up 3 bottles of oxygen and some stuff, lock the back and talk the ambulance guys into letting me ride in front. For a minute they weren't even gonna let me ride in the ambulance. i looked at her and pulled the guy over to the side and said, “She will seriously freak out if I'm not with her, you have no idea" and I give him a look. They put a guy in the firetruck and let me sit in the passenger seat with a mask on. I don't feel bad at all about the whispered scheme. She's a rock. I probably would have been the one freaking out, shivering in the wind waiting on an Uber.

Off we go, us in one direction and our truck in the other. Her first ride in an ambulance is uneventful and we arrive quickly at the Antelope Valley Hospital. I couldn't really see her but at some point I heard her laugh and that calmed me down a little. Knowing I was up front calmed her down a little. I jump out and run around back as they open the door and there she is. She is sitting up a bit, smiling at me, surrounded by three hot firefighters, with an assortment of wires and a half a boob hanging out of her shirt. (Falsetto voice: There were all these hands and I felt so safe!)

Seriously those guys were amazing. They gave her the once-over asking a few questions and when we got to the hospital the Doc got a brief. It was the most thorough and informative monologue on her status I'd ever heard. By now I've heard a few. This was succinct, top to bottom thorough with her history, status of existing conditions, allergies and such, the details of the current injury with his opinion, all the details she would need to make the next decision without looking if need be. It was stunning. The doc blinked twice and literally exhaled and said "Wow, that was amazingly thorough.” He sort of "aw shucks" it in his fireman outfit with his mask on but you could tell he was beaming at the compliment. His buddies looking on so proud of him. Such a great team.

The next few hours is a blur of waiting, tests, scans, a breathing treatment and more waiting. Somewhere around two in the morning we are finally done and grab an uber to the local Crack’n’Stab Suites motel and finally slept. With all our clothes on in the really, really bad - like bad hollywood movie bad - motel. Seriously, the worst. We're alive, that's what counts. I got a bump on the head, she got seatbelted and that hurt, that and she banged her hip and head. All told we are a bit sore but fine. Our truck, on the other hand, is still up in the air until I can get the hood open and get a look under there.

In the morning I uber over to the rent a car and we drive over to the firestone to check on the truck. It is all locked up, parked in the lot and, unfortunately, we can see her purse on the seat, sort of half hidden by the jacket we also left behind in the rush. They now have the only keys in the nite drop box and short of breaking a window I have no way inside. All my tools are locked in the back. We decide screw it, we’re alive, we hope for the best and head two hours up the mountain in the rental. Obviously, it was only a few hours later that we're notified that her credit cards are being used at the walmart.

Two transactions later we got everything canceled. We still have my card for gas and stuff. We head down in the morning to asses the damage and, sure enough, they had slimjimmed the door, gotten the purse and everything inside and they twisted the locks on the tonneau cover and all my tools, about 2500 dollars worth, are gone. We load whatever is left in the rental and head down to LA.

Back in the city, my 4x4 has been down with power steering issues for a week or two, her truck is still in Lancaster, the jag is unregistered all we have left is the old Taurus wagon. We had lent it to our boys when they were opening the weed store. It was a little beat-up. So while we have the rental we run that over and get the AC fixed and this and that. That thing won't die. It rolls up hill at 80 miles an hour and floats around the windy roads like an old buick! Back on the road we take the rental back and get the truck towed down and park it behind the office. I still haven't gotten the hood open but it seems like the drive train is fine. The radiator is toast and the frame is bent up front. We'll see how that shakes out. All in all, it will be expensive. Losing the tools is a heartbreaker, some of those were my dad's. Other specialty tools collected over the years will be difficult to replace. Our Motorola stage radios, my JBL bluetooth thingie, her iPad, easily $4k worth of favorite stuff and favorite tools. The wreck, the stuff, the truck ... this is gonna be expensive.

She's alive  and I don't give a shit.

Often when bad shit happens I need a sense of when everything is gonna be ok. I find that if I plant some seeds, by the time they sprout and start growing strong... everything will be fine. So I did. I planted a few seeds I found on the ivy at the back fence, I checked in on them this morning after the rain last night. The city smelled so good when I opened the door to have a smoke. It was early and the traffic hadn't started; the sun was nearly up but behind the clouds. I had Broadway all to myself for a little walkabout. On the way back in I checked and I found several little sprouts had popped up and I know, soon, everything will be fine.


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