I'm finally in Santa Barbara, still wrapped up in a towel after a long shower. I'm trying to hide from the sun, or rather the heat of the sun. It's hot! Hot! HOT out here!
En route from SLO this morning, I got caught in godawful traffic. Not uncommon in my neck of the woods, but this was a different experience altogether.
I was a scant fourteen miles away from my destination, driving down 101 when everything and everyone came to a halting stop. I'm not talking about a few seconds, hell, even a few minutes. The whole scene took almost an hour. I was perhaps ten cars back from the accident. It wasn't good. It couldn't be good, I figured. Myself, and a long procession of hundreds of cars sat under the midday heat, cooking on the asphalt and in our cars that had become a proverbial oven. People were out of there cars, walking up and down the road, passing by my window, trying to catch a glimpse of the reason why not a single car was moving.
From what I could gather, a big rig had jack-knifed and scattered its parts all across the highway. And folks were having a hard time getting the truck off the narrow two lane road. And there was nothing we could do about it. I was nosy enough to get my camera, walk up as far as I dared to go and take photos of what I could. The rest of the time, I sat in my car, turning it on every once in a while, letting my face and neck cool under the fans of the AC when the heat became so unbearable it was hard to breathe. I cursed my toddler-sized bladder. I cursed the sun. I cursed my laziness for not having tinted my windows years ago. When I decided to let it all go, I started to think about things. Things I hadn't thought about in a long time.
I was in a pretty bad car accident several years ago. At this point, I can only remember snapshots, as if parts of the film reel are missing. I remember the impact, two to be exact. My airbag never deployed, and when the car finally stopped spinning, I was left facing the busy oncoming traffic of 880 in San Leandro. I remember people helping me out of the car. I remember murmuring, whimpering almost, because I was in such deep shock, my body couldn't operate in any sort of logical manner. I took a strangers hand, people were busy on their phones calling 911. An ambulance and a firetruck came. A fireman came to me, and I felt this surge of relief. Like everything was going to be all better. He saw the desperation in my eyes, the desire to be ensured that everything was okay. Even to this day, I remember his expression. A mixture of sympathy, compassion, and determination. I didn't want any medical support. He calmly had me sign a waiver, and as I stood there grasping the pen he'd given me, I suddenly noticed how badly my hand was shaking. Shaking so hard I couldn't even sign my name. I looked up at him. "I'm sorry," I whispered faintly. His lips pursed, and he gave me that look again. "You're going to be just fine," he said, and then he smiled. "Someone was looking out for you." He looked behind me where my car sat. It was totaled, and I'd walked out of it without a single scratch.
As I sat there in my car today, I hoped for the same for whoever it was that was up there. That they were walking around, just fine. That someone had been looking out for them too...
Here are a few pictures from last night and earlier today. I plan on heading down the bustling State Street, and taking photos of the setting Santa Barbara sun.
Drive safe out there. Miss you all...
|Can't see much of what's happening, but this was just the start of a long hour.|
|More cars came...|
|So many cars behind me!|
|I crept up closer and closer, only able to catch glimpses...|
|This is what I manage to catch, as the wreckage was cleared from the road.|
|The Mission, Santa Barbara. The guy at the lobby recommended I check it out, if I like "old stuff." I laughed and said yes. He got a more serious look in his eyes. And I added just as soberly, "Not that much...".|
|I love visiting Botanical Gardens. I've seen gardens all over the world, and I love them! The one here in Santa Barbara is probably my least favorite. But it was interesting to see.|
|Go figure I wanted to be in the Redwoods...shaded by the large trees, reminding me so much of home.|
|There was a live Tea session happening in the Japanese Garden.|
|Found this property...you know, I'm not sure I was supposed to be allowed up here...|
|Shade, shade, SHADE!|