Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

Stupid Mistakes

I had a nice weekend visiting some friends in Troy and then spending the 4th with my family in Milford, but that’s not what I really want to talk about.

On my way home from Milford to Ann Arbor, I got in a car accident. Although very scary at that time, it was pretty minor, involved only my car (and a guard rail), and didn’t result in any bodily harm and seemingly minor vehicular damage. Usually when I drive I have my iPhone in a holster with a bluetooth headset on, but just as I got off M-14 and was driving down the ramp in Ann Arbor my phone rang. I’d taken off my headset to better listen to a song I usually play whenever I return to the city (yeah, I’m lame, w/e), so I (foolishly) looked down for a second to grab my phone and answer. When I looked back up, I was on the left-hand shoulder, bouncing along the guard rail on the M-14 off-ramp. My reflections on my memories from the event have yielded some interesting points.

It was really surreal. I was going pretty fast, maybe 45 mph. I felt like I was just magnetically attached to that guard rail. Whenever I’d try to pull away, it’d suck me back. By the time I got unstuck I was swerving back and forth and I was struck by how true-to-life most driving games are wherein you wildly careen out of control whenever you try to turn at high speeds. I wasn’t even going that fast and I felt like I was on an oil slick. I’m pretty sure that as I veered out of control I quickly checked my rear view mirror to make sure I wasn’t going to slip in front of somebody. After discovering that my attempts at braking were being hampered by the fact that I was pounding down on the clutch and not the brake, things started to get back under control and I found my way onto a side street. Catching my breath for a few moments, I decided to drive on a short distance to a parking lot where I could inspect the damage.

The driver’s side of my car is somewhat banged up, but it’s not awful. Most of the damage seems to be cosmetic, and I’m not too worried about that. The experience is what jarred me the most. There’s this weird, survivalist mode that only gets flicked on occasionally, and usually it’s kind of fun. It was the same feeling I’ve had in the past when doing some sort of at least semi-adventurous sport and things go wrong. Whether it’s wakeboarding in the moments that you begin to lose balance before you fall, or after falling while skiing and trying to right yourself while rolling down a very steep hill in a jumbly mess of snow and blood and skis, all other thoughts are pushed out. Not that this was a near-death experience, but it totally could’ve been. If another car had been near me and hit me when I bounced off, I could’ve conceivably been killed. It’s not the gravity of the situation that’s giving me pause, it’s my failure to appreciate it in the moment. In some ways, that’s worrying, because I feel like I need to do more reflecting now, because I may not get the chance to if I meet an untimely end, but it’s also reassuring, because it seems that, so long as the end is met suddenly and violently, I will indeed not have time to adequately understand it, or maybe that just comes later in the process…

I guess that’s enough minor accident-driven, quasi-philosophical musing for one night.

I start my new job officially as a “Research Area Specialist Associate” for the University with orientation in the morning. I hope tomorrow will not be marked by the same kind of stupid mistakes that marred today.

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , , | Leave a comment

Milford Part II (Dictated)

So I’ve been staying in Milford for several days now, and one of the things that I’ve forgotten is how lucky I was to grow up in such a natural and beautiful piece of Michigan. Right now as I record this (I’m dictating right now for transcription later), I’m looking out the window, listening to a soft rain, and watching fireflies light up in my backyard, making for an almost comically perfect image of tranquility and peace. The weather has been so perfect and I’ve been so docile. For some reason, when in ANn Arbor, there’s something depressing about slouching around the house all day. If I sleep in in my bed, the only other place to lounge is the couch, and once that’s done, it’s back to bed. But in Milford, I can somehow go an entire day not doing anything and still feel like I’ve accomplished something just through locomotion. I might start the day sleeping in in bed, then move to the couch, then out to the hammock to read, then poolside to catch some sun, then floating in the water for some time, then back to the hammock, etc. Somehow just by cycling through these different points I actually feel like I’ve made some accomplishment, at least enough to keep existential ennui and sense of dread and stagnation from keeping in.

Normally I wouldn’t relish something that takes away the prongs of motivation that stab when I begin to dawdle, but when recovering from (supposedly) mono, I suppose it’s a good thing to rest up 🙂

June 28, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , | Leave a comment

Milford

I’ve been back in Milford for five days or so now. I forgot what a cute and cool town it is. As exciting as it is to be in a big city, there’s also something neat about a place where you feel like maybe you have some chance of wrapping your arms around a more complete narrative. Any place that I go here, chances are that at some point in my life I’ve been here before, and that many houses are occupied by former classmates, teachers, or other people that I’d recognize. It definitely has a small-town lure that I haven’t experienced in a long time. I suppose I get something similar in Ann Arbor. I think that’s why I enjoy the Ann Arbor centered blogs so much; they give me some feel of community that seems to happen automatically in a town as small as Milford. I’ve always though of Ann Arbor as a “city,” but I think that’s mostly a relative feeling; it’s bigger than Milford, which I think of as a “town,” so it automatically gets moved up a class. I think English lacks a good term for these intermediate sized municipal units, or maybe it’s just my own vernacular that lacks a good term. Any suggestions?

Since my return from China I’ve been camped out mainly at home, for several reasons. First, I returned right around Father’s Day, so I wanted to spend time with my parents, and especially with my dad. I got kind of used to that and it’s been nice spending time with my family. It’s weird how life ebbs and flows. It seems like not that long ago I was eschewing my family’s company for friends, and yet as my friends evaporate in the post-college haze, family once again becomes important. From talking to friends, that does not seem like I’m the only one having such an experience.

June 23, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , | Leave a comment