Monday, September 29, 2008

Sadie's Back!

I didn't know just how much I missed my car until the mechanic called this morning to say that she was ready for pickup. The lingering depression I've been in since my accident lifted instantly. When I was in the mechanic's office waiting for the key, I was almost as excited as I was when I first bought her five years ago. With all the body work she's had, my car is as beautiful now as she was then. :)

Now that my depression's gone, I feel like being artistic again. Time to start painting!

Hmm.... I've noticed before that I can't paint when I'm depressed. I wonder if that's true for every artist, or have there been artists whose best work was done when they were depressed? Is the same true for other types of creativity? I would guess that melancholic poetry is best written while depressed, and maybe some music as well?

Monday, September 22, 2008


I went to the MET a couple weeks ago to see the Turner exhibit (the artworks were spectacular, the curation was mediocre) and also did some wandering around the museum, discovering a painting by a really fantastic artist, Alberto Pasini.

I love the realism coupled with the clean, sharp quality of his painting. He has just the slightest bit of an outline to his forms, lines that aren't there in real life, but that help define the forms and give the painting a fresh, clean quality that really appeals to me. I suppose that isn't too surprising, given that I collect prints and comic books. I suppose I have a preference for the visual qualities of traditional print styles--forms defined by outlines and enriched by inner color.

I'll have to add Pasini to the list of artists who have influenced my own art. And I'm going to start "hunting" for more of his paintings to learn from.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Summer Summary

Had lunch with my favorite uncle today--we caught each other up on what we've been doing. I realized that this has been a very eventful summer for me (and I hope it's done being eventful now!).

I replaced my roof, which was scary, climbing up that high on a ladder.

I got bit by Kodos, an unvaccinated cat, and very quickly learned an awful lot about rabies in cats (he's fine, I'm fine, and he instantly learned that biting is a very very bad idea--SMACK DOWN!!!).

I had the vet cut off my cat Tyger's leg.

My car got smashed by a total jerk at the bottom of Walnut Street in April and had to get a new front bumper, hood and side panel.

I finally had my house-warming party, one year late.

I started a very cool new job and had to quit the teaching job I've had for five or six years.

Last weekend I did some creative driving with my car, and now it's getting a new rear suspension, rear bumper cover, antenna, tires and a few side panels.

I think those are all the major highlights. Like I said, I hope that's all there is this year.

But, you know, as I think about it, for the past three years, there's been big stuff happening pretty regularly. Mostly good stuff, but still big stuff. My life is not quiet. I love the quiet days, though. I love being able to spend three days in a row doing nothing but reading in the sun or sleeping late on a rainy day. On the other hand, I get bored without new challenges, and life is for living!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've been trying to reserve my judgment of Palin until I had more information. I really disliked her first speech, where she riled up the emotions of her listeners, guiding them into disliking and distrusting Obama without giving any actual solid information about him, or any solid reasons to vote for her.

The first thing to truly disturb me was an article in the NY Times that quoted the email she sent to announce the birth of her very oddly named child Trig (isn't that a horse's name?). She composed and signed the email as if it had been written by God. That's just creepy, bordering much too close to a psychosis. Her insistence that she has no doubts about her ability to be president is also unsettling. Is she arrogant or just naive?

The latest worrying thing is her statement that she would be willing to go to war with Russia over Georgia. What a stupid and extremely dangerous thing to say! If you go about declaring that you're willing to get into a fight with a particular person, the odds are good that they will want to fight you.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Sketch (sort of)

I keep seeing things that might make good paintings. Here's one of them:

I like the way the figures of the women contrast with the hard straight lines of the subway architecture. If you look carefully, there are four women waiting by the tracks. The interplay of their positions and their forms is great. The woman closest to us, in the yellow shirt, is looking and leaning slightly to the right. In the opposite corner of the image, there is a woman in a green top who is turning to the left. And then there are the two women leaning up against the post, one with her back against it, the other resting her arm against it in a heavy contrapposto. I could not have posed them better!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Damage Report

The claims adjuster visited my car today. Not including anything they might find after they take it apart, the repair cost is $4500 (of which I pay $500 for the deductible). He estimated 13 business days to do the work. 13 is the key number. 13 days to repair. 13 years that I've had car insurance. I was jinxed!

The mechanic claims it will take a week to a week and a half to repair. Dunno why his time estimate is so different.

New discoveries were made in broad daylight: the rear bumper cover was torn. I suppose that probably happened when I whipped around 180 degrees right next to a stand of trees and shrubs.

I had been estimating that I was maybe three feet away from being crushed, but now I think it might have been more like six inches.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Off On A Tangent

I've been meaning to start this blog for a few weeks. Thanks to my wipe-out, I had the time today to get it started.

Last night I was driving from Suffield right shortly after Hurricane Hanna (downgraded to a tropical storm) started drenching Connecticut with rain. I later learned that there were tornado sightings around the state at the same time.

Just before Route 20 merges onto 91-S, there’s a very sharp curve in the road. I usually take it in the left lane, but last night I was in the right lane. I’ve driven this road numerous times, so I instinctively slow down as I approach the curve. I thought I was going slow enough last night, so I was very surprised when I suddenly felt my car sliding to the left (on the tangent). I tried to regain control, but wound up fishtailing, wiggling about the road, briefly returning to the right lane before sliding all the way to the left.

I’m not entirely clear on the sequence of events, nor am I entirely clear on exactly everything my car did. At some point after I slid onto the grassy median, my car spun around at least once and my cell phone, which had been on my lap, went flying very fast and hard to the right. I had a brief observational thought: “Crap, this really sucks,” overlaid with abstract feelings about being embarrassed to be in a second accident this year and feeling like an idiot for not having gone slower into the curve. I think I was also mildly surprised that I didn’t flip over when I hit the median.

I could see a wooded copse approaching rapidly, and then I could 91-S getting closer and closer. At this point, there were only two things left to do that I could think of: pull up on the emergency brake, and then go limp to minimize the number of broken bones. I was 100 percent certain that a massive collision was about to occur. Interestingly, going limp also meant that my brain turned off. I guess it’s some sort of defensive action. When I pulled up on the emergency brake, I scraped the back of my hand, but it took an hour before I even noticed the pain. In a crisis situation, the brain focuses on elements involved in avoiding death, and completely ignores minor details like injuries. My fate was in the hands of God, there was absolutely nothing I could do. I believed that I was about to suffer severe injury or death, so my brain suspended its processing of information.

When my car finally came to a stop in the middle of the median, I assumed the engine was dead. I tried to start up the car, but the engine was still running. The gear shift was in neutral, although I don’t know when that happened. I turned the engine off and got out, shaking tremendously. I was absolutely amazed that I wasn’t dead. I walked around the car and was amazed that the only damage I saw was a broken antenna. I could see grass and mud wedged into the edges of the hubcaps. I couldn’t pull any of it out, it was lodged in so firmly.

It was pouring rain, so I was standing in wet grass holding an umbrella. Next I realized that there was a youngish guy walking towards me across the median. He had been driving behind me when the wipe out happened. He said it was the most incredible thing he’d ever seen. For him, it all happened in slow motion (not so for me!). He seemed certain that I was airborne, about a foot off the ground, at one point. He agreed that it was surprising that I didn’t flip over. He also kept saying things like “I thought you were done for,” “You are the luckiest person in the world,” “Your angels were really looking out for you” and “You should go to church tomorrow.” He also pointed out the assorted things (signs, trees) that I very nearly impacted. His intention was to be a Good Samaritan, making sure I was okay, waiting with me until the police arrived. And he did call the police for me, which was good. But I think he also made me more stressed out.

The GS noticed that my front passenger tire was leaking out the edge of the hubcap (there was bubbling in the mud), so I knew that I at least had a flat tire in addition to the broken antenna on the opposite corner of the car. Next he pointed out that the rear passenger side tire was pointing slightly inwards. Not good. The GS asked if my insurance company covered towing and flat repair. I didn’t remember, so I tried calling them. That took a while, getting through their phone system. Turned out I don’t have Roadside Assistance, but they offered to hook me up with a tow truck anyway. The tow truck company demanded my credit card information in advance, and said it would take 45 minutes for the truck to arrive.

In the meantime, the GS and maybe someone else had called the police. They took 45 minutes to show up. Three cars total eventually arrived. The first trooper greeted me by asking “How are you doing?” I was tempted to be snarky, but kept my response to “I’ve been better.” Eventually he asked me if I was injured. When a different officer gave me the accident report number and a verbal warning to not speed again, I nearly lost it when I assured him that there was absolutely no need to warn me, I would be the slowest driver on the road for a long time. After the other two state trooper cars arrived, one of them directed me to drive my car over to the end of the median, alongside 91, to make it easier for the tow truck. The car handled very well, all things considered. I later learned that both passenger side tires were flat and the rear suspension is messed up.

An hour after the accident occurred, a tow truck showed up. The driver told me to go get in the cab, and he loaded my car onto the bed. When he asked me where I wanted to go, I explained that I had no idea where to go. After some discussion (it was like a bad date), I agreed to go back to his place. Back at his place, he gave me the spiel about why I should let his auto body company do the repair work on my car. He dropped me off at Dunkin Donuts, where I drank a hot chocolate and waited for my dad to come get me. There was no way I was going to drive a rental car that night. In fact, while I was waiting for the tow truck, I was thinking seriously about giving up driving entirely.

While I was riding in the tow truck, I got a phone call from the tow truck driver summoned by my insurance company—he couldn’t find me. I told him I had already been picked up, and he told me I had better call in to cancel my tow request. This was more than an hour after I had called the insurance company. So much for them. The tow truck that did get me must have been summoned by the police.

I eventually got home five hours after the accident. I almost started crying, I was so happy to be home and to not be dead. When my neighbors started making noise, I thought it was a wonderful sound, instead of being annoyed. I took a hot bath, after which I was finally relaxed enough to realize that I was starving—it had been 11 hours since I had eaten lunch.

When I woke up this morning, I was fine until I remembered that I had almost died, and then I was shaky again for a few hours. I’m wondering why I haven’t broken down in tears. I cried right away when my car got hit back in April. I almost cried a few times last night on the median, but stopped almost as soon as I started. I can only assume that I was “coping” very well. I’ve been in a few high-stress emergency situations, and every time I go into fully-functional mode, suppressing emotion, becoming highly efficient and focused on making everything okay. I’m wondering if that’s why I didn’t cry last night, because I was holding myself together to get through the crisis efficiently. More importantly, I’m wondering if I’m still doing that, if I’m stuck in that mode, if I’ve got a major melt-down crying fit on the horizon.