Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Yellow Birds (copy)


It was raining cats and dogs on I-55. I sat behind my husband’s early 80s, F-150 making great time. Heading to Memphis to get a present for my mother, the plan was to get this last gift then head home to pack for our early morning Christmas departure.
The truck was my husband’s idea. I prefer a car in this type of weather, but mine was new and we were unsure if the “run flat tires” hydroplaned. These miracle tires allow me to take on a handful of nails without generating a flat. I can also drive at a normal speed until they can be replaced. I once hit something on I-240 that took a 1″x 2″ chunk out of my right back tire and dented the rim, yet I drove to my event without feeling anything amiss.
So, in the truck I sat, slowing down when the downpour was too much and speeding up when there was a break. The hydroplaning only occurred when I switched lanes. Yes, I was already unhappy with the hubby. I would much rather hydroplane in something a little closer to the ground.
Then it happened. I had passed a clump of traffic and was a half-mile ahead when I switched lanes from fast to slow. The collected rut-water sent me lurching towards the median instead of the right lane. I caught it, but with a jerk.
The truck came back into the fast lane then continued its turn. I was headed for a roll. My experience kicked in, not my instinct. My instinct is to grab the steering wheel and correct the turn, but that would have completely rolled me. My experience told me it was too late. I crossed my arms, took my feet completely away from the gas, and prepared for the worst.
A donut on the interstate, then I careened to the shoulder where I did two more donuts on the hill then rolled down to the ditch for a quick up the ramp followed by a slide back into the ditch.
Murphy, the tragic character in The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers, says going into battle is like an oncoming car wreck. As a solider, he is trained to handle all types of combat, but he cannot predict where the enemy will attack him. He can only do his best then ride it out. 

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