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Tag Archives: puddul shift

I’m late.  I know.  I’m sorry.  There were…things…that needed to be figured out.

Tuesday, early morning:

Draw 5_2_2014 18_04

In case you’re wondering, that jagged hole is about 3/4″ long. Not. Patchable.

I was on my way to work on Tuesday and because I left later than I wanted, I had to detour from my normal (shortest) route because of traffic.  I was on the 60WB and mere miles from the 605 when I heard quite a bit of commotion on the right side of my car.  I know I had run over something and that something sounded heavy, but I didn’t immediately feel anything different and I didn’t see anything in the rear view mirror, so I opted to continue driving for awhile to see what would happen.

Well, my car started feeling sluggish on the right side.  I don’t know any other way to describe it.  It felt sluggish.  And only on one side.  And I felt something similar before…when I have a tire doing its best to deflate itself.  And sure enough, a few seconds later my low tire pressure light comes on.

I was able to pull off the freeway and into a very accommodating Jack in the Box and listened to my tire hiss alarmingly for awhile.  Then I proceeded to change my tire.

I did not appreciate the stares I got from people walking into the restaurant.  I also did not appreciate that they stared and didn’t offer to help.  Not that I needed help.  I mean, I was even dressed for the job of changing a tire.  Yes, I was going to work but I often work in manufacturing facilities.  That means jeans are perfectly acceptable and I almost always wear steel toed boots.  I kind of wish that I put a pair of work gloves in the trunk like I’ve been meaning to since I collected Puddul from the dealership, but whatever.  Washing your hands isn’t that big of a deal.

Anyway, I got the tire changed, which I apparently can do in less than 10 min now, I am so practiced, and took a look at the flat tire.  It had a very large, jagged hole in it.  It was obviously not salvageable.  It made me very sad.  Because this was the third tire I’ve had to replace.  Actually, third and fourth, because my tires were at about half their lifespan and I couldn’t just change the one without messing up my alignment.

Sugh.

At least I didn’t have to order the tires this time.  My dealership had them in stock.  For once.  (Also, yes I took my car to the dealership for a mere tire change because I really prefer only Subaru touching my alignment from past experiences with other cars.)

Spontaneous car squishes.  I’ve been thinking about them a lot lately.  And witnessing a lot of them recently.  I even partook in one about a month ago.

Mine was a truly spontaneous car squish.  It was of the rear car squish variety.  What had happened is that I witnessed two separate car squishes in front of me and I slowed to a stop, because these two squishes happened in two different lanes of the freeway and if nothing else, the cars involved needed to get to the side of the freeway.

So, the car in front of me had stopped, and I also had stopped.  And as I was looking around to see how I could extricate myself from the situation without causing any more spontaneous squishing to cars that were yet unsquished, then did my car rear spontaneously squish.  By UNKNOWN.

And it made me annoyed and angry.

No one was hurt in the all the spontaneous car squishing.  Several people were rather shaken up.  Several cars were probably totaled.  Puddul got out with probably the least amount of damage after the largish pickup, although it was enough damage that I only just got my car back.  Largish pickups are generally pretty hardy and resist spontaneous squishing fairly well.

What made me so annoyed and angry was that while the person in front of me was able to stop in time without hitting anyone and I was able to stop in time without hitting anyone, the person behind me wasn’t.  And it wasn’t because I slammed on my brakes and the person behind me wasn’t able to react in time.  I did have to step hard on the brakes, but I stopped with a good amount of space between my car and the car in front of me.  And after we had both fully come to a stop, there were several seconds in which I was able to consider how to get myself out of this situation.  AND THEN I got hit by the person behind me.  That tells me that this person just wasn’t paying enough attention to the road.  The person did try and stop, I mean, this person didn’t just plow into me.  And this person did also try to swerve out of the way, but wasn’t able to completely do so.

So…when you are driving, especially in Southern California, and especially during rush hour (which is like all the time), you have to pay attention to the road and to what you are doing, WHICH IS DRIVING.  Yes, it’s a waste of time to spend all your time on the freeway.  I know because right now, I cannot make my commute any less than five hours.  FIVE.  HOURS.  Do you know how much I could do in five hours?  But I don’t have a choice right now.  I have to drive during rush hour and it is first quarter/semester of college when freshmen still feel like they have to attend their early classes and Daylight Saving is close to an end; all things that tend to make traffic worse than most other times of the year.  But you have to pay attention to actually driving because there are so many people on the roads and the freeway system wasn’t really designed to handle a load that we’re throwing at it and people are capricious beings.  They sometimes like to step on the brake for no reason.  They sometimes like to swerve for no reason, or for a bad reason like they’re talking on their cell phone, or putting on makeup, or eating breakfast that involves a bowl and spoon, or reading the newspaper, or are just really tired because they’ve gotten up early to try and beat the traffic but SURPRISE!  Morning rush hour begins at 05:00 in SoCal!  Hahah!  That’ll learn you!

So anyway, you should pay attention to what you are doing (which is driving) and to a certain point, to what other people are doing (which should be driving) so that you can react to them if necessary.  That means leaving enough space between you and the next car.  That means not cutting people off with mere inches between your bumper and the other person’s.  That definitely means not cutting off a semi because dude, if the driver of that semi doesn’t stop or slow in time (which is likely), that’s probably the end of your life.  There is no way any passenger car can stand up to the squish power of a semi.  Even the mighty largish pickup will have issues.  Review you physics if you don’t understand why.

So, having said all that, I’ve decided to call these collisions “spontaneous car squishes” because…I think it’s funny.  And also for my case and this one other case that I saw while driving to work one time, it really did seem like the cars spontaneously just crumpled.

For me, it was not readily apparent who hit me.  I was involved in a collision that ended up involving seven or eight cars.  We made the morning commute so pleasant and wonderful for so many other drivers!  I was the front car of the third group of smashed cars.  Anyway, the CHP officer who was taking down all our statements had a pretty good idea of who hit me (and so do I), but because of the circumstances of that other driver, the CHP officer told me that it would be easier for me if he filed my collision as a separate incident from all the others with UNKNOWN.  So…I was just driving, and all around me there were explosions and cars going flying and I was totally fine, and then…the rear of my car just spontaneously crumples in.  I fully intend to animate this scene I see in my head someday.

And I’ll just mention the other incident.  It was just so strange as I drove by.  On the side of the road, I saw an SUV with the whole of its passenger side smashed in, as if it were T-boned.  And a little ahead of the smashed SUV was a largish pickup with the front right side caved in.  Now…how did that happen?