Sunday, March 29, 2015

Suspense Magazine Interview

I did an over the phone interview for Suspense Magazine today that was broadcast live over some number of channels:

I'm still fuzzy in the head from trying to fly Jeeps upside down and I hope this came out okay. It's only thirty minutes long so hopefully I won't put anyone to sleep. I'd listen to it but for the fact that unless I'm imitating Bobby Darin, I can't stand my own voice. And even then...

... I'm no Bobby Darin. But give it a listen and let me know what you think. Comments are good. Real ones, not those "Your blog is good excellent but my wife's cousin makes $85 dollars every fifteen minutes without leaving the small part of her bathroom" ones. Those are just the black flies of the Internet.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crash Boom Bang, or, Jeep Wranglers Don't Fly Too Good

I rolled my Jeep on Sunday. I think I went around twice, possibly three times, though all I could really swear too is once. It's fairly disorienting flipping a car: there's the "Oh, crap" moment, and then there's the rolling and you know what's happening. I think the first flip was mostly an eccentric sideways-oriented rolling mostly in the air, then one along the ground.

And it was a soft top Jeep and no, I wasn't wearing a seat belt. (I think seat belts are a fine idea but I can't help but bristle at laws aimed at protecting me, like bike helmet laws, motorcycle helmet laws, and the like. I know it's stupid and indefensible, but if it weren't for the law, I'd probably be a seat belt wearer.) (I do make my kids wear the things, though. It's just a personal view.)

I refused the ambulance service because I had to get to the mountain and time a race. Fortunately it was a smaller one, and when I finally got to the ER, the stitched my left ear back to my face (there was about an inch gap), stitches over my right eye, and a really, really painful sprained neck.

I'm a bit worried about the neck but presumably I'll heal, not so for the totaled Jeep, which fortunately came to rest on its three remaining wheels.

Anyway, I hate cars. I hate their limited lifespans, their drain on the monthly expenses, the maintenance, being a slave to up and down gas prices, but damnit, if there's such a thing as just a fun, rugged car, it's a Jeep Wrangler. And it did it's job. The airbags didn't even deploy. Why? Because it's a Jeep, damnit.

Of course, the obvious problem is that I'm down an expensive automobile. More hardship. Oh, well. I could have been ejected and subsequently crushed, I could have slid upside down, any number of far worse things could have happened. I remember gripping that steering wheel, thinking, "Crap! I'm rolling!"

It made me think of all these silly movie scenes where people jump off cliffs or some such thing, bicycling their arms and legs, yelling "Whoooooaaaa!" Doesn't happen. I was a skydiver for many, many years with thousands of jumps. Stuff happens. You survive or you don't. I'm convinced that either you panic in these situations and just surrender yourself to the fates, or your mind instantly flicks to what's important. In this case, for me, that was holding onto that damned steering wheel. Beyond that I had no control of the situation whatsoever.

I think that's important for writers to realize: the mind goes to what's important for survival, not to making silly arm and leg motions and silly exclamations. There's plenty of time for saying, "Damn, my Jeep is totaled." As much as I could love a car, which actually isn't very much, I loved that Jeep. But hey, any crash you walk away from....

It was 6:30 in the morning, the roads were very slick, poorly plowed, and the tracks of the previous traffic pulled the "cleared" portion too close to the exit ramp. I think what happened was I caught the paint for the ramp, which meant I was more to the right than normal, sharpening the curve that 's right there--the police said that that spot was the biggest accident site in town--and the back end started to go. I tried to correct and go up the ramp as it was a straighter shot. But one of the front wheels caught the median and after that the Wright Brothers would have been embarrassed to watch.

I'd be shocked, pleasantly so, if this isn't going to cost me money, but I'm sure somehow it will. My head is bandaged like a turban and I look ridiculous. Add to that the Hawaiian style shirt I'm wearing--it's a button down I don't have to slip over the head bandaging--and I am officially ridiculous. But more alive than my Jeep. And I suppose that's a good thing.

And I didn't wave my arms and legs, didn't yell "Whoooooaaaaa!", didn't throw my arm in front of my face accepting the inevitable: I proved my point, and I've done it before, that when faced with situations like this, the mind goes to a place that's best for survival. The rest is Hollywood drivel. What's real is that Jeep's weren't meant to fly, and damn, does my neck hurt.