Sunday, December 19, 2010

Car Accident Reflections

Night before last Alexander and I were in a car wreck. We're okay, sore, no broken bones, recovering, still have our wits.

* * *

Many years ago, back in 1990, I had a yogi friend named Tom. He'd been to India to study with some heavy spiritual types including one of Richard Alpert's gurus, Neem Karoli Baba. Tom was a disciple of sorts of Hanuman and sometimes lived at the Hanuman Temple in Taos. He was a free spirit, a twin to my own Gemini wiles and one of those kinds of friends you have for a brief but important passage of your life.

Tom was helping me pack my belongings into the back of my newly bought yet thoroughly battered 1970 VW bus. At some point during the packing I hit my head on the roof, not hard but enough to stop me in my tracks. And I started crying. One of those moments Tom called an Aha. It was a marker for an important time of change in my life, and he knew it. I was moving from New York City back to San Diego and I'd made a six month stop over in Taos New Mexico. Sort of a clearing of the energies, a place to hang my hat and have a few adventures and decide where I was going next in life.

Tom sent me off with a picture of his guru and stuck a little stamp sized sticker of the Indian trickster god Hanuman on my dash board. I didn't think much of it...until 2 weeks later I'm in San Diego, staying with friends and my VW bus starts honking at 3 o'clock in the morning. You see, one of the oddities about this old bus I'd bought from a Taosino was that it would randomly start honking it's horn when you'd start the car, not every time, but maybe every 3rd time you'd crank the motor.

I ran outside to see two scruffy guys in my bus, which was still full of almost all of my stuff, frantically trying to get it into gear, while the horn is honking away like crazy. I yelled at them "get out of my car", but they pulled away from the curb and slowly got the bus to move on down the street turning a corner and then out of site.

Days later the police found the bus, I went to the tow yard to see if there was anything I could salvage. Nothing. Not even a tire. Just a hulk, a shell. Not even a scrap of my belongings were left in the car. Well, the only thing left behind by the car thieves was the small stamp sized picture of Hanuman. It had been ripped off of the dash board and the mischievous monkey smile was glaring at me face up on the floor of the car.

I didn't even have a belt for my pants. Alot of my stuff was gone. Strangely, what was at first a very bad thing, having nothing, made room and time for a new life for me. Out of this came my Garage Orchestra album and a whole new way of approaching music. And then meeting Paul, who was, as he attested at the time, the embodiment of The Fool.

* * *

And now, for the first time in many years, I have no car. Our car is in a tow yard, very likely totally unfixable. I can rent and find a way to buy one again. But it's that bump on the head time again, figuratively ( fortunately I didn't hit my head in Friday's car accident).
It's the time in between fixed points.

* * *

As for our car accident, Alexander and I were traveling home from his piano lesson and my giving a guitar class. We were heading south on old Coast Hwy 101. It was drizzling and dark. I was going my customary 30-35 miles per hour, cuz it's a bit of speed trap right in there. On my left are multi million dollar homes on my right a guard rail and about 10 feet of bluff dropping 50 feet down to the ocean.

Suddenly a black sports car, out of seemingly nowhere, backs over the double yellow line into oncoming traffic, which is me. He was backing up fast and there was nowhere for me to go except for head on. Brake for 2 seconds and brace for impact.

I don't know what happened for a few seconds, I had my eyes closed during impact, but when I opened them we were moving forward again toward the guard rail and the ocean bluff. I pressed as hard as I could on the brakes and we finally came to a stop. My son Alexander, who's nine, said he couldn't breath but then he started crying and I knew he was breathing. I grabbed my cell phone and ran to the back to be with him, trying to remember how to dial 911.

A lady came over and said she was a doctor and lived across the street she looked at Alexander and stayed with him while I looked out for the ambulance. When finally it came my legs went weak, I didn't have to be the strong- hold it together force now. The paramedics took over eventually determining we were okay, but transporting us by ambulance anyways to get x-rays and evaluations...

And thank you to Susan and nine year old Guthry Hahm for being with us at the hospital, calming our nerves, bringing us back to ourselves. And thank you to all of you that have left us heart felt comments on FB and by email.


  1. The car accident you went through was traumatic. How old was he back then? You must be really thankful of the lady doctor and everyone else. What happened to that black sports car that came out of nowhere, btw?

  2. I know it's been years since it happened, but I still worried for Alex. He's only a child, and too young and vulnerable to be traumatized. And I must say that that sports car driver was so darn irresponsible! I wonder how did he get the license to drive that kind of car. He didn't even tried to glance over you.

    Maggie Malone

  3. No matter how traumatic an accident may be, time will heal and courage will let you move forward. Be thankful that your lives were spared. By the way, did you pursue a case against the perpetrator of the accident? I hope you did! Reckless drivers shouldn't get away from their legal liabilities.