"The radio was on...."

    Some woman screams, "The blood!"
    Yeh, so? What do you expect? There's a salty taste in my mouth. I guess that means I'm still alive. I can see sunlight somewhere. Okay, calm down, don't move. Relax. Ohm-mani-padme-Home-Money-....
    "My car?!?!" Some woman, the impact drove my car into a parked one; various other omigods and lookatthats. What's this in front of me? Oh yeh. The front passenger corner is crushed and wedged beneath the UPS truck. My windshield is shattered from a blow mark just off center on the upper left, excuse me, driver side. The safety glass in place but uselessly hanging there smashed. Hold on. What smashed it if the truck is on the other side. Take inventory.
    Well, my arms are moving. Check the head. There's a gash on the upper right side. I can feel a syrupy oozing that must be....
    Ohm-mani-padme-ohm-mani-padme-ohm-mani-padme... Breathe. In.
    Breathe out. Count three while breathing in, breathing out. Okay now, slower... like, seconds. Press with the palm. Okay, now turn the car off. Is the engine even running? Can't tell over the ringing in my ears. Take the keys out of the ignition.
    "Help her, somebody help her."
    What would cause an explosion? The gas tank's in the back. The engine is off, but still hot. And the gasoline feeds up to the engine. Open the door.
    "Are you okay?" Can't quite focus yet, some guy. I smile. "I think so, how's the other driver?"
    "Can you believe that, she wants to know about the other driver. If it was me, I'd be screaming and..." some other woman. There's a whole crowd nearly pressed up against my car. They all break into chatter. The man who offered help tries to corral them.
    "Okay ya'll, step back."
    He comes to me. "I don't think you should move."
    "Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. Do you mind if I just meditate? Oh, and um, call an ambulance, the police, whatever...."

    It takes two tow trucks to pull the step van up enough for a third to pull my car out. Needless to say it's totalled. The insurance company will pay bluebook for a three year old model, medical bills, and two thousand for lost pay, trauma, whatever. I end up with a seven year old Firebird.
    Eleven stitches close the half-moon on my forehead. In a few years, it's not really noticeable, but I can still find it.
    There are mechanical problems with the 'bird. So mom helps me buy a Chevette on New Year's Day, and I leave the Firebird with her at home.
    New Year's Day. Just a year ago, I was in Paris with my girlfriends. We had known each other most of our lives, and the previous two years, we had travelled to Vermont to ski.
    The first time, we had gone on the invitation of some boyfriends of Wilma and Betty from Tech. We met them in Washington, D.C. Three girls, three guys. Actually, one of the guys' girlfriend dropped him off to make it very clear that Josh was spoken for. I guess that means I'm freewheelin'. Sandy was obviously interested in Betty, and Leslie was pretty warm towards Wilma, and vice versa. We had lunch on the hill, at Lou's, apparently a real power hangout, for an icebreaker, and then walked to Union Station to catch an eighteen hour Amtrak to Vermont.
    We stepped off the train, and my nose hair froze. There was at least three feet of snow everywhere. Sandy called his uncle in Middleburg to come and pick us up.
    The first night, I learned to play cribbage from Sandy's uncle. Later, I took a walk outside and caught Betty laying on the ground, peeking in the basement window of the boys room. We were all staying downstairs in two separate rooms.
    "Betty... just what do you think you're doing?" "Shh! You scared me. I was watching Sandy. He's got quite a... a...." We were all taking turns showering to freshen up from the train.
    "Quite a log? Yeh, I know. I accidently walked in on him in the bathroom."
    "I was going to say he has quite a physique."
    Eventually, everybody made it outside and we had the obligatory snow fight. We all collapsed later and slept soundly.
    So, the next year we, just the three of us, drove back to Vermont and skiied. Obligatory pillow fights because we had a double room with a cot for the rotating third person, usually me.
    Last year, Austria. We, actually Betty and Wilma, found a great deal offered through Iceland Air, where for $699, we flew into Luxembourg, obligatory stop in Rehkjavik with enough time to visit the duty free shop, and then had a car to drive to Kitzbuhl. All we had to pay for was gas and any meals we ate away from the GaesteHaus. And of course shopping.
    Day after Christmas we went to Munich, and then I had to convince the others that New Year's Eve should be spent in Paris. So we drove all night. Anyway, the skiing was great.
    The Firebird? Ma' gave it to a bricklayer, the one who originally built the house, in exchange for some follow up work. He ended up running it into a tree.