On the way back from seeing the fireworks in Wildwood (NJ), on the 4th of July, I was driving on the four-lane causeway (over the marshes) that links North Wildwood to the mainland.
|THE PHOTO CHOICE WAS OBVIOUS BETWEEN THIS AND A CLOSE-UP OF ME PIGGISHLY EATING A SAUSAGE AND PEPPER SANDWICH, COMPLETE WITH A LARGE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM STAIN ON MY SHIRT.|
At 11:PM, the outgoing traffic was heavy but I was able to maintain 55MPH. Two miles before the Garden State Parkway entrance, the cars started to slow down. I was crawling along in the right lane with a giant Lincoln Navigator in front of me, so I couldn't see what the problem was.
I was down to about 20MPH when an SUV in the left lane unnecessarily cut-off the Navigator. But the SUV didn't stay in the right lane. It continued onto the shoulder and sideswiped the concrete barrier so hard that sparks were flying. At the same time, the passenger door behind the SUV's driver opened and a young girl (14?) fell out of the car and her ankle was run over.
The Navigator slammed on his brakes. The driver jumped out to help and so did others. The girl tried to stand but couldn't. The next day, I spoke to MACE (a resident of North Wildwood) but he didn't see anything in the newspaper about it.
Five days later in Galloway, I saw another crazy thing. I did my banking and then walked about 500 feet, next door to the pharmacy. On my way out, I saw a coworker in the CVS parking lot. I was facing the bank as we spoke. Suddenly, from the first spot in the TD Bank's lot, a white Nissan Versa burnt rubber as it peeled-out, in reverse.
|THE SHINY, VERSA I SAW, LOOKED LIKE IT JUST CAME OFF THE SHOWROOM FLOOR.|
I was certain that I was seeing the get-away from a robbery as a continuous plume of smoke, like in the movies was produced by the spinning tires. But when the car's arched path reached the point that it could proceed in drive, it continued screeching backward, in a circle. Still in reverse, the Nissan jumped the curb, knocked over a four-foot high decorative lamp and sped on the grass. It finally stopped inches from the shrubberies in front of bank's huge, customer service window.
I took a deep breath when I figured that someone had lost control of their car. But then I thought it was a robbery again when the car was floored a second time, forward. I re-re-changed my mind when the car bounced off the grass and onto the lane that leads to the drive-through section. But as soon as all four wheels hit that pavement, the driver made a sharp left turn, climbed the curb again and hurled itself back towards the same window.
Luckily the car stopped before crashing into the building. A man from an armored car delivery (in a bullet-proof vest and his hand on his gun) ran to the thoroughly cracked-up vehicle. Then a UPS truck zoomed onto the scene. I was third to arrive as the UPS guy called 911. The stunned driver looked like she was in her eighties. I didn't see any mention of it in the newspaper.
These mishaps coincidentally occurred at the same time (last week) that I was trying to locate JSS, a long lost friend, on Facebook. The coincidence was that I was with her, in 1977 when I had a close call with a potentially serious car accident.
Facebook has drawn me closer to many friends from the past. At first, there is the usual skyrocket period of wonderment. I love the positiveness of this personal interaction and the reminiscence of shared highlights. These cyber meetings have led to several face-to-face visits. I'm happy to say that they have all worked to rekindle lost friendships
Of course, not all these old friendships were founded on solid foundations to begin with. Therefore, the novelty wears thin when your "friend" speaks about people you don't know. Then you really know you're going nowhere when the other person complains. Hell, we get enough at that home. If you still manage to stick with them, the next major roadblock...especially at my age, is when health problems and medical procedures dominate the chats.
I must admit, getting beyond this point is rare. Even with the best intentions, the great remembrances are usually limited so the overwhelming amount of these revivals lose momentum soon after you've seen all of each other's photos.
If somehow your computer relationship is still fresh, then you have to watch out for the next negative phase. That is when you realize that your partner's best contributions are reduced to spiritual slogans, politics, their "like" of Prell Shampoo, reminders of dead celebrity birthdays or a seemingly endless stream of jokes. If you're still on the fence whether to "unfriend" them, it becomes easier if their most significant messages involve Farmville, Mafia Wars, Scrabble or Angry Bird conquests.
I am hoping that my latest FACEBOOK friendship with JSS doesn't fizzle out quickly. Every July for the last four years, I have tried to get a birthday message to her. I had researched a bunch of our mutual friends and acquaintances but oddly none of them knew how I could get in touch with her. After my armpit check revealed me to be in the "safe-zone," I figured there was a some conspiracy or better yet, she was in the Witness Protection Program.
This year I did my usual July birthday check and I found that she had joined Facebook. So far we've only gone as far as friending each other. Soon, I expect that we will skyrocket through our strongest memories then hopefully maintain a lasting friendship. Perhaps a face-to-face reunion too.
I remember meeting JSS at CHARLIEOPERA's 1976 New Year Eve party. She got sick and her sister and their friends had to take her home. Afterwards, we knew the same people and became friends. We had several fun times and on one occasion, I drove her deep into the heart of Flatbush, to Brooklyn College, (she went to a different college).
For those of us with *Kingsmen maroon and gold blood coursing through our veins, we can remember the nightmare of parking at Brooklyn College, (a spot, ten long blocks away was considered decent).
*How bourgeois can you get? Somewhere between 1977 and now, the powers that be changed the BC mascot from the Kingsmen to the Bulldogs.
My back was turned to the intersection, at that fateful moment as I got I out of my car. A two-tone blue Ford Maverick (I remember because light blue on dark blue was my high school's colors) ran the stop sign and there was a crash behind me. The other wrecked car careened towards me. It all happened too fast to react. When I turned around, the crash and ugly scraping metal sounds were over as the crippled heap stopped three feet from me.
I wonder if JSS remembers? Maybe I'll ask her while we are still in the FACEBOOK skyrocket mode. Or during the personal interaction or I'll save it for the reminiscence. Because she saw the whole thing.
It's hard to forget that if that moronic Maverick driver was going a little faster, I might have gone to my grave without ever witnessing a car accident...even the one that killed me.