This post was imported from an old weblog posted to by multiple people who do not have user accounts here. Some, if not all, of the links may not work, and some of the content is … questionable. These posts are mostly here for my own sake, but feel free to read through them.
Well, let’s start where most stories start, from the beginning, Sunday, August 14, 2005.
It’s Sunday morning, and I’ve just finished a security shift guarding the Telus compound in Terrace, the shift was from midnight to 8am. So I drive home, which takes about 45 minutes. I get home at about 9am, after watering some plants for a friend who is out of town. I go right to bed because I have to work at the pizzaria from 4:30 to 8pm, and after that I’m back out to Terrace for security again. I fell asleep around 9:30am and I wake up at about 2pm. I’d planned to sleep right til 4pm so I stay in bed for another 30 minutes before giving up. It’s just too warm and too bright to sleep. That’s 4.5 hours of sleep, not good, but I’m not really feeling tired, so I don’t think anything of it. So I get up and do some stuff around the house, on the computer, etc. Just killing time until I have to go to work. So at 4:15pm I head up to the pizza place.
Work went well, even made some decent tip if I remember correctly, and I get home at about 8:30pm. Since I have to leave at 11pm to get to Terrace for work on time (giving myself a 15 minute leeway in case something happens) I figure it’s not worth it trying to get some sleep, since I probably won’t fall asleep anyway, and even if I do, it’d only be like 2 hours, and that’s if I fall asleep right away. I’m not feeling so bad, so I just shrug it off.
So 10:45pm arrives and I take off for the pizzaria since I’d ordered some food for work. I stay and talk for a bit, and I’m out of town by 11pm. The drive is not fun, I’m just starting to get tired and I’m squinting at opposing traffic a lot, which makes me tired. I roll on into Terrace at about 11:40, and I’m at the compound in another 5 minutes. I talk to the guard on duty until midnight and then I’m alone. The shift itself goes well, except that I’m having a hell of a time staying awake. 8 hours later, the other guard comes to relieve me and I take off.
I get through Terrace fine, and head out on the highway. When I hit the 100kph sign, I put the cruise control on, so that I can focus on steering. I’m thinking that as tired as I am, if I can concentrate solely on steering instead of dividing my attention into speed as well, I should be okay. In hindsight it sounds stupid, but I was tired enough at the time that it sounded logical. So I’m cruising down the highway, having a hard time keeping my eyes open, and I get to the bottom of Onion Lake hill, it’s about 8:15am. There’s a pull off at the bottom, and for a moment I consider stopping there and taking a nap or something. “Nah I’ll be okay,” I think to myself. “If I get much worse I’ll pull over at the next stop.” From there, the road has a soft “S” curve. It veers left, then right, then goes left again. I remember starting the first left turn, and then I only seemed to blink, and I was in the gravel shoulder on the right side of the road, I later found that I’d made it through the first left, and the right turn, and gone off the road on the third left. I’m not sure what’s going on, or why, but I hit the brakes and turn back towards the road, thinking everything will be fine, but it’s like I’m pulled right off the road. Now, as clich? as it sounds, the next part is just a blur. I remember bouncing up and down as I crashed through the bush, like when you go down a pot-holed road too fast, and then it was over. The car had come to a stop.
There were trees and brush in front of me, and to either side. There was a small tree, the diameter of the trunk at least 5 inches, laying on the hood. The car was still running, Rammstein’s Sonne blaring through the speakers, so I shut it off. I felt fine, my leg hurt, I must have banged it, but otherwise I didn’t have a headache, I wasn’t dizzy, and nothing felt broken, so I decided to get out. I tried the driver’s side door, it wouldn’t open, it felt blocked. I tried the passenger side door, it wouldn’t budge. The window was gone so I tried to climb out, but the tree on the hood was in the way, and I didn’t feel like I would fit anyway. I climbed in the back seat and tried the passenger side door there, it wouldn’t move in the slightest, so I tried the driver’s side and, amazingly, it opened without a problem. I climbed out of the car and looked at it briefly. The driver’s side didn’t look so bad. The only reason the door wouldn’t open was because of a tree in the way, it didn’t even look too badly dented. I walked around the back, since the front was enclosed with brush, it looked fine, nothing broken. I get to the passenger side and it’s a disaster. The rear wheel is sitting at a 45 degree angle, the front door is caved in, the window smashed out. The back door is fine, the window isn’t even cracked, but the exterior panelling, the virtual skin of the door, is ripped off, hanging on by only the tiniest shred of plastic, exposing the mechanisms for locking the door and opening the window. Knowing there’s nothing I can do about it, I climb up the embankment to the highway. I look down at the car, where it’s sitting it’s perpendicular to the highway. It looks like as I was driving along I stopped, made a hard right turn and drove off into the bush. I’m so frazzled I don’t even remember how I went off the road and I start trying to discern how I could have accomplished parking my car in such a manner without damaging the bush leading directly off the road. Then I hear a vehicle coming, so I stumble into the middle of the road, ready to flag them down.
A minivan comes over the top of the hill, I wave my arms and get them to stop. It’s the owners of a local business, I recognize them even if they don’t recognize me. The man, Ken, offers me the use of his cell phone, and holds out a handful of tissue.
“What’s this for?” I ask.
Ken replies, “Your head.. it’s bleeding.”
I reach up with my fingers, brushing my forehead, and sure enough there was blood. So I accept the tissues and wipe my head. That’s when I notice a bit of blood on my arms as well. None of the bleeding was major, it appeared to have already stopped, I’m guessing it was only from the glass shards from the broken window.
I don’t know who to call, I would normally call my Dad, but he was out camping, so I decide to call my security supervisor, Roger. So Ken asks for his number and dials him up. After a bit of moving around to get a better reception, we get through.
Roger answers, and I reply, “Hey Roger, I uh.. my car just.. went off the road.”
“Oh my gosh, are you all right?” He asks worriedly.
“Yeah actually, I feel fine.”
“Oh good. Okay, what do you need me to do?”
I can’t even think. I stutter and mumble into the phone until Ken says, “Tell him to call you a tow truck.”
My thoughts fall into place, “Yeah, that’s right. Could you call me a tow truck? I’m part way up Onion Lake hill, on the Terrace side.”
“Yeah of course I can do that,” he says, then I say goodbye, and thanks, and we hang up.
Now, while I had been on the phone, another two vehicles had stopped, between them three women got out and asked what was wrong. Ken, his wife and I explained the situation. When I looked at the women I worried for a moment why my vision was so blurry, then I realized my glasses had come off, so I climbed back down to the car and found them on the floor on the passenger side, I grabbed my hat as well since it was starting to rain. When I came back to the group Ken and his wife were just explaining that they were on their way to catch a flight, they asked the women if they would mind staying with me until the tow arrived, they didn’t have a problem with that. I thanked them for stopping and letting me use their phone, and said goodbye, then they left.
So we’re standing on the side of the road, waiting for the tow truck. All three women are friends and so they talk amongst eachother, and ask me questions every now and then about who I am, what I do, etc. I learn two of their names, Debbie and Julia, the two who were riding together. I never caught the other lady’s name. I actually recognized Julia from the hospital where I’ve guarded patients before. At one point when they were talking to eachother, I crossed the road just to have another look at the car, Julia followed me. I climbed down the embankment, inspecting the wreck, she climbs down as well. I lean inside the car, just looking around, not really taking notice of anything though. Julia is looking at the car and expressing her confusion as to how I got my car where it was without leaving any significant marks on the edge of the road.
Then she points down at some churned up dirt in the brush, a skid mark from the car, and points down the road, “It looks like you skidded in here from that direction.” She walks through the brush parallel to the road, “You did, you flew through all this brush.” She points at a chunk of black plastic, “Look, here’s part of your wheel well, and here’s one of your wiper blades,” continuing through the brush, “and here’s more of your wheel well.” She stops, “Dude, this is where you went off the road. Look, here are the tire tracks!” She pauses, and looks back at where the car is from where we’re now standing, probably a good 50 feet away. “Wow, you’re really lucky.”
But all I could think about was how my Dad would react. After all, the car wasn’t actually mine, it was his. Sure I probably would have gotten it when I left home, but in the meantime he was teaching my sisters to drive with it, and we all liked the car. It was a nice vehicle, good power, pretty good mileage, comfortable, virtually rust free, and we’d only had it a few months.
Eventually, at about 9am, a Pronto tow truck arrived. When the guy looked at the car he told me it’d probably be a write-off. Unfortunately, we only had liability insurance on it, no collision, so it didn’t matter, we couldn’t make an ICBC claim anyway. He had to take it back to Terrace to his impound lot, so the two girls who had been riding together gave me a ride into Kitimat. I hated inconveniencing them like that, as they were on their way to work in Terrace, but they replied they didn’t mind and that they hadn’t been looking forward to work anyway. I’d given them the perfect excuse to be late. Yay for me.
They dropped me off at home, telling me to go to the hospital and get myself checked over. I went inside, and told my sister, the only person home, what happened. She asked if I want her to come with me when I go to the hospital, and I figured it might be a good idea. Who knows if I have some weird head trauma, and half way to the hospital I could fall down and go into conniptions or something. But I didn’t. Left for the hospital around 10am, and got there without a hitch. They looked me over and asked me some questions, put some ice on my sore leg as it was starting to swell, told me to watch out for certain signs, but otherwise there was nothing they could do. Sometimes the symptoms of whiplash, or whatever else can happen, don’t show up for 72 hours, they said. The doctor gave my sister, who she assumed was my girlfriend, that was weird, a sheet with stuff to watch out for. She said the symptoms sounded like a drunk: Dizzy, unsteady, vomiting, unusual behaviour, etc. So they sent me home at about 12pm, lunchtime, and they told me to get some sleep, so I when I got home I tried, but to no avail. Remember, at this point I’ve been up since 2pm, Sunday afternoon. It’s now 12pm, Monday afternoon, 22 hours later and of course now I’m not a bit tired. It was like one friend joked when I was telling the story to him, “Sleep?! I’m never sleeping again!”
I’m laying in bed, trying to sleep, when I decide it’s a lost cause. I just have too much running through my head. So I pulled out a binder with some paper, and began writing down my thoughts. That’s what this writing started as. I wanted to write down everything I remembered, because I was afraid I’d forget details otherwise. At about 1:30pm, my parents came home. I decided to face the problem head on. I was nervous, but otherwise fine. I was actually surprised by that. Throughout the whole morning, the only emotion I’d felt to any degree had been anger. I was really mad at myself for letting this whole thing happen, but I hadn’t been scared, upset, sad, anything. Even when I was crashing through the brush I was more confused and calm than panicking. So anyway, Dad’s pulling the trailer up onto the lawn, and I go stand outside and wait for them. Mom gets out of the truck and is walking over to me.
“Where’s the car?” She asks curiously.
I try to reply, “It’s.. I.. I…” and then I just start breaking up, I start to cry, and I can’t figure out why.
Mom gets a look of panic on her face, “Oh my god! What happened?” She starts to cry herself.
“I’m okay,” I say quickly, but then I realize what’s running through my Mom’s head. I’m not much of a cryer, the last time I cried openly was at my Aunt’s funeral, so just imagine what Mom’s thinking when she sees me breaking into tears, the car is gone, and my sister hasn’t come out of the house yet. I quickly tell her, “Everyone’s okay!” I’m in full blown tears by now, blubbering like a 3 year old who skinned his knee, and probably just as coherent. My Dad has gotten out of the truck by now, and I just keep saying, “Don’t worry, everyone’s fine.” And finally I stutter through, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I had a car accident. The car is ruined.”
Both my parents are hugging me fiercly, and Dad just says, “God Rob, don’t worry about the car, the important thing is you’re okay.”
Eventually I calm down, and I’m able to tell as much as I can recall about what happened. After we go inside and we all calm down Dad figures we should go to ICBC to let them know what happened. So we go over there and they tell us that because we didn’t have collision there’s really not much they can do, and all we really should do is make a report with the RCMP. So the next stop is the RCMP station where I have to make a written statement. The Constable asked for as much detail as I could give. I’d kind of like to show him this when it’s done, I’ve got a lot more detail in here than the statement I wrote there. After we finished there, Dad and I decided to go out and have a look at the car and get the rest of the stuff out of there. We also brought the camera so I could take some photos to show the rest of the family how the car had turned out.
So we drove out to Terrace, called up Pronto and got in to look at the car. It was a mess, worse than I remembered. The bumper was falling off, held on with one of those rubber bungee cords. The windshield was smashed and caved in at one corner. The doors were no worse than I remembered, except the panel that had been hanging by a thread had been torn right off and put inside, but the rear passenger side wheel was almost right off. So we hauled the stuff out of there. Dad had decided it was definitely a write-off, not worth fixing at all, so we stopped off at an auto-wreckers and described the car to him to see what we could get for it. He told us that the maximum would be about $650, but not to get our hopes up, he still had to see it for himself. So we went home. I’d gotten in touch with work, both places, before we left, and let them know I wouldn’t be working for a while, so when we got home I had nothing else to do and by 8pm I decided to go to sleep, which I promptly did.
So there you have it. From 2pm Sunday afternoon, to 8pm Monday evening. 30 hours of being awake, and honestly I felt like I could stay up even longer. As I write this it’s two days after the accident, and we still don’t know where we stand with the car. We went out to Pronto’s impound yesterday to get a few things we forgot, and the licence plates to cancel the insurance on the car. While there, the guy asked what we planned to do with the car, when I mentioned the name of the auto-wreckers we’d talked to, he told us they were cheap and wouldn’t give us a good price for it, then he called someone else who came over and had a look at it. That guy asked for our number and said he would get back to us either that night, or the next morning. Well, he missed the morning, and it’s now 8:30pm, so I don’t think we’ll hear from him. We got his number from Pronto and tried calling him, but the first time it was busy, and the second time was just voice messaging. My Dad’s friend has convinced him that if we don’t get a decent price from either place he’ll actually get another friend of his to tow it back into town where we’ll take the engine out and sell it ourselves. He figures we could get $1,000 for the engine alone (which is what the first wrecker said, but they only pay out 10% of what they think they can make on the parts, ie: if they can sell the vehicle in parts for $6,500, they’ll buy the wreck for $650), and the transmission is still good too, not to mention the interior is fine, although covered with glass sprinkles. Tomorrow Dad wants me to give the second place a call and see what he’s going to offer us. He’s hoping for $1,000, and if he can get it, he’ll let the guy have it. At the very least it will help pay for the tow job ($257, which actually wasn’t bad considering where it was and everything).
We’re not sure what we’re going to do about another car. In the meantime I’m kind of stuck for work, Roger mentioned something about leaving the company jeep in Kitimat just so I could get out to Terrace for work, the company is short on people right now and they need people for the Telus compound, but he has to clear it with the head guy first. Until something happens though, I can’t work for the pizzaria, delivering is out of the question, and the alarm calls that I normally do here in town are a no-go as well. Unless Dad’s truck happens to be here, Roger will actually have to drive into Kitimat to attend the alarm himself. For his sake, I hope that doesn’t happen very often. Anyway, Dad’s got an appointment with the bank on Monday to see how his money is doing, and how possible it will be to get another car, but it could still be months before I’m back on the road. Hopefully things will work out.