March 6, 2006

I was late getting to San Francisco for church yesterday because a car on the Bay Bridge was on fire. A real hot rod. Two or three lanes were shut down as the fire engine and CHP were taking care of things.

Not sure if I told many of you about the time I single-handedly shut down all westbound lanes on the Bay Bridge. It happened five or six years ago when I still lived in Berkeley. My Toyota Tercel had recently died, so I was driving my uncle's old Honda Accord.

I was headed to church on a Sunday morning. In fact, I think I was scheduled to teach the middle schoolers. But I guess the Lord wasn't pleased with the lesson I had in store for that day. As I was crossing the eastern span of the bridge, the car started making a funny sound. I had a flashback to the Tercel and I recognized the sound immediately. It was the sound of a car's last breath. I was in the middle lane and was trying to get over the side, using my blinkers, and waving my right hand to the drivers behind me (the universal NASCAR sign for 'my car needs to pit'), but was unsuccessful and the vehicle coasted to a stop.

For about a minute, I was trying to restart the car while hoping I wouldn't get hit. Cars were doing a pretty good job of avoiding me. Until I heard a crash, followed by another crash and a jolt. The car directly behind me had slowed and was looking to change lanes when the car behind him couldn't stop fast enough. The car in back hit the car behind me, and a big games of dominos followed. So now there were three cars sitting motionless in the center lane on the Bay Bridge.

After a few more minutes, all westbound traffic was stopped by the CHP. We all got out and looked at our train wreck as the officers tried to figure a way clear the mess. I ended up getting pushed by a patrol car to Treasure Island where a tow truck finally got brought me to San Francisco. The Accord was pronounced dead, meaning I had killed my second car in less than a month. One of the greatest accomplishments of my driving career.

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