This NYT article about therapists who help people stay in the closet just makes me wonder more about “being true to yourself” when there really are so many aspects to self, some of which we struggle to preserve more than others. I think that this goes back to the ideas of the noble savage, humanism, the age of enlightenment, and our ability (or lack thereof) to choose who we are, who we will be, and what motivates us.
After recently following your blog I can say that I thoroughly enjoy reading the things that you post about! Your take on the movie Super 8 was perfect, and I am very pleased that someone could put how I felt about it into words, since I could not do so on my own!
Thank you so much! the movie was such a fun experience in so many ways but I think that what makes things works of art is when they convey some truth or realism to connect to those who are attempting to appreciate or experience that art. While it wasn’t a perfect film, that’s what stood out to me and I’m glad that you could relate to that.
Today I saw Super 8 with my husband. It is a well crafted film packed with movie magic and nostalgia value but the reason I’m writing about it is because of how I felt during the initial traumatic crash scene where a pick-up truck collides with a speeding train full-on. I know that movie theaters have great sound systems to make the movies come alive but this was an frighteningly realistic experience. The chaotic noise coming from one side and then the other, the camera angle crashing back and forth as if battered by the explosions, and the stop and start nature of the accident as train cars piled up on one another and destroyed the surrounding area. I stiffened in my seat involuntarily and jerked at each impact. I wanted to tell the teenage characters to run faster and further from the chaos but was held back by my own memories of how powerless they were to escape. On the way home I talked about the way I felt with my husband and he had felt the same during that scene. As he thought about it, he realized that the realism we perceived the scene to have drew heavily from our own experience and, having gone through our accident, we could probably not watch anything like that so flippantly again.
I am not looking for attention or sympathy. It is just interesting how for the first time I am feeling such real emotion in relation to an adventure film and the emotion I feel is fear.
Car Wrecked but Family Unhurt therefore Entirely Grateful
Last night my family was in a crazy car wreck.
Font of the car - you can see how the driver side (right) is crushed by the door while the headlight and passenger side has been crushed in / sheared off.
Passenger-side headlight detail - you can see how the machinery has been damaged with wires hanging loose, the entire front headlight gone, and front corner in completely crushed. The side view mirror was not ripped off but was completely shattered and crushed against the side of the car.
Yong Peng, the place of the accident - We were not far from our destination but not close enough.
It was a frightening experience and we feel fortunate to be alive. Our car may never be drivable again but we will certainly remain grateful for how we were not crushed in the body of the car while the rest of it was wrecked. We walked away with minor bruises and our baby, aside from being frightened during the moments of impact, was not affected at all.
This is what happened: On our way from KL to Singapore (for a weekend visit to my parents and younger sister) we entered a 2 lane section of the highway and we were in the slow lane. There was a truck in front of us that was not going as fast as my husband would like. He was getting very tired and wanted to finish the journey as he had been up since 5 am and it was about 10 pm at that time. He tried to change over to the fast lane to overtake the truck but there was another truck in the fast lane that did not want to let him in. S did not see how aggressive the truck in the fast lane was being and still tried to enter the fast lane. From the passenger side I could see through the driver-side window that the truck was accelerating up to our car, with the fender right next to my husband’s head. In the split-seconds that followed, the truck in the fast lane accelerated into the car, right by S’s door, and pushed our car into the truck ahead of us that we had been trying to overtake.
The truck ahead of us began crushing into the passenger side of the car (where I was sitting) and we were pushed between the two trucks one or two times before ultimately being pushed into the guard rail in the median of the road. C had been sleeping in the center backseat in her infant carseat and began crying during the tumult but, thankfully, was unhurt though frightened. When the car finally stopped, S and I were in shock but checked each other. We were each amazed to see that the other was not hurt. I could feel bruises forming on the arm and leg which had been bracing against the car door and I was sure that S probably had some whiplash but we were basically unscathed.
There was a strange smell in the car and S said he was unable to get out of the car from his side, as his door was wedged against the guardrail. I checked oncoming traffic and stepped out. I checked on C in the backseat and she seemed okay. As I looked around I saw a highway foot-patrolman was running up the highway behind our car and was waving cars approaching from the fast lane to go around us. I thought it would be dangerous to stay in the car and the foot-patrolman indicated such. I took C out of the carseat and stood with her on the road. The patrolman asked if S would be able to move the car to the shoulder of the road but the car could not move. It was stuck in neutral and he could not even remove the keys. After a few minutes of standing inches from cars going over 120 km/hr and seeing no way to cross the fast moving traffic I moved to put C back into her carseat as I thought that perhaps it would be safer for us in the car than in the open on the road. At that moment a car swerved to avoid us, braking suddenly, and the car directly behind it crashed into it’s rear, about 3 feet from the passenger door where I was loading C back into the car. Frightened, I quickly climbed into the car and closed the door. Earlier, S had climbed through the passenger front seat and gotten out of the car at the urging of the patrolman. Just as I finished bucking C in I saw S approaching the trunk/back door of the car. He opened it to say or get something but as he did, I saw bright headlights approaching behind him. He hurriedly closed the trunk and, seconds later, those headlights raced into the back of our car, inches from where S had just been standing, while C and I were jolted within. I am so grateful she was already secured into the carseat at that moment. At this point it was quite obviously even more unsafe to be in the car then standing in the median and, with the patrolman and police (who had arrived at this point) assisting us, we spotted a break in traffic and ran across the highway to the road’s shoulder.
Later, when talking about this with S, he realized that probably the impact of the truck in the fast lane would have spun us out of control and being between the two trucks is probably what saved us from going perpendicular across the highway (and getting t-boned) while running into the guardrail stopped us from careening into further traffic. After all this, everyone who had been in the initial accident (2 trucks and our car) and the accidents following (collision while I was reentering the car and rear-end collision into our stopped car) went to the police station in the nearby town of Yong Peng to file police reports.
At the end of all of this, S and I had some talks with each other. Among other things we’ve realized that:
We are so blessed to be alive and unharmed.
Being spared so generously was likely a once-in-a-lifetime blessing and we must be much more careful in the future.
We will not drive long distances at night in Malaysia (and possibly anywhere else) again.
We must be cautious about driving when tired, even if the schedule seems to press for it.
The Honda Fit seems to be a safe car and we may buy that make again in the future.
We need to more prepared for accidents in the future (spare tire, light reflective vest, hazard sign, tow rope, car jack, jumper cables, extra fluids) - even if we don’t use these things, perhaps we had this experience so we’d be more prepared to help others and will help someone else in need later.
We need to rebuild trust in ourselves and each other following this accident.
When the accident began I was not worried for myself. I just saw, in horror, the fender of a massive truck filling the window by S’s head. I thought he would be crushed. At the moment of the accident S was much more worried for me as he saw my side of the car getting crushed into the back of a truck. At the end of the day, however, only the car was damaged and it’s just a car. Maybe our insurance premiums will go up, but at least we had good insurance that seems likely to cover everything. The important thing is that we are alright and together at the end of this, about 24 hours after the craziness began. We are so thankful to be alive and feel sure that we need to learn from this as we are not likely to be so fortunate again (were this ever to recur: which, we fervently hope, will be never). I am so grateful to even have had a chance to write this down. C will be so mad at us when she grows up.