Near Death Experiences

Have you ever had one?

I have had three that I know of.

1) I was 17, driving home on Old Redwood Highway in Santa Rosa. Behind the wheel in my parents' 1990-ish Honda Accord when I reach down for a Kleenex. (Yes, allergies have plagued me all my life except for the three hellish years in Phoenix where pollen spontaneously combusts before it can implant in your nostrils.) I cross the double yellow and almost crash head on into an oncoming car. I swerve back into my lane and drive home. #AsianTeenDriver=Deadly

2) Driving home from Reno to see The Good Doctor in SF. It was the middle of winter, during a snowstorm, and I was trying to cross Donner Pass before the "chains required" signs went up or 80 was shut down. I was crawling along with everyone else when traffic suddenly stops. Even at 5 miles an hour, I know I'm going to rear end the car in front of me so I turn into a 10 foot high snow bank to my left. POOF. It sounded like I drove myself into a marshmallow. Complete silence. Engine stalls and all I see is white. My little Honda Civic is enveloped in snow. Completely. I start my engine again -- it was a stick shift -- turn on the wipers and slowly turn my wheel to the right and emerge from the ginormous snow bank. Put on my right blinker and inched back into traffic. The big rig driver behind me was probably like, "WTF." Drove the entire way to SF before getting out to see if anything was wrong with my car. Not a scratch.

3) Also driving home from Reno to see The Good Doctor in SF. Again in snow. I make the genius decision of changing lanes FOR NO REASON while driving 20 miles an hour on 80. I get over the right lane, and keep sliding. All the way to the shoulder guardrail. My Civic hits the rail, spins around 360 degrees and stalls. It was like, "Damn Gina, learn how to drive in the snow." I start it up again, and drive to a Chinese restaurant in SF where I meet The Good Doctor and tell him what happened. I am so afraid to get out of my car to see the damage that I make him inspect it while I'm still sitting in the driver's seat. Two grapefruit sized dents, one in the front right bumper, and one in the left rear bumper. We re-enacted how my car must've spun around using chopsticks and a salt shaker. I am amazed I survived. I had the good fortune that that section of Interstate 80 actually had a guardrail. Otherwise I'd have been down at the base of the Sierras, dead at age 24.

So yes, I'm very grateful to be here and I've learned a few things: never drive in snow. And, never drive in snow.

Two out of three of my near death experiences involve The Good Doctor. Nevermind that all three involve my driving. I will read nothing into that whatsoever.