The Buckle and the Crash

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005

Today started weirdly enough. We were sitting in my room when there was a sharp cracking sound outside. Looking out onto the balcony, a circular area of tile about three feet in diameter is bulging upward like a bubble about to pop. The title on the edges is cracked, but the whole tile bubble feels bouncy and hollow. The photo I took doesn’t do justice to how weird this deformity looks, but notice how the wooden stool is at an angle.

I can’t figure out what caused this.

Three days ago, we were stranded under an awning during a downpour and were witness to a motorbike accident. It was mild, luckily. He had been sharing the curbside lane and a car had been pulling out and neither saw each other. The bike and rider stayed attached but tipped over and skidded for a few feet. The driver righted his bike and with a few kick starts got it running enough to drive away. And despite that he was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and almost had his head crushed by the back wheel of a bus, he seemed no worse for wear.

Then yesterday we were walking back from dinner and we saw a dog get clipped by the sidecar of a motorbike and go first rolling and then scampering down the street. It was a strangely surreal experience, and in joking I said that “that will be us next.”

Well I was right. Today on our way to an elephant rehabilitation park, our van rear ended a song taew taxi and in turn was rear ended by a large construction truck. The weird thing was that I was nervous about that ride (as I always am out here). There were no seatbelts and I imagined how my body would move in an accident. I would generally regard this as paranoid, but it seemed fitting today. Since I had not slept very well the night before, I leaned my head against the window and tried to sleep. But that posture proved uncomfortable, so I crossed my arms on the back of the seat in front of me so that I could rest my head. This was a lucky move, because I remember feeling and hearing sudden breaking and that calm quiet before impact. A few people gasped, then smash. Or two smashes actually, but I only remember one. The window that my head would have been resting on was part on the corner that the construction truck hit, shattering the windows and bending the frame and the seat in my general direction. I got s bunch of glass bits on my back and head and a jolt to my hip. One of the girls ended up conking heads with someone in the passenger’s seat, another guy got a bloody nose. C. hit his head I think and felt some shock so he sat in the truck until the ambulance came. Crazy ambulance ride. Lots of sitting in hospital. Bonding with the other guys. Everyone ended up being okay. Thankfully.

My revised open letter to whoever is in charge:

I value my life already; no more near misses please.

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