April 28, 2013

The days had been filled to the max. The deadline for the 41 scripts to translate looming I set a strict schedule of work: work, short breaks, caffeine ingestion and more work. By Wednesday I still had to do 8 scripts to finish by Friday and with my 2 a day rate it meant I had to take double size bites. So I upped the production. It’s amazing some times how much you can get done. It’s as if time disappears and only necessity exists.

Thursday came and I did  6 scripts in two days, plus rehearsal, and other errands.  I get a weird feeling, weird thought about taking the road, going all the way over there… I brush it off.

I even managed a short nap. I am so tired, but duty calls. Duty and the fact that playing the music is so rewarding… so fulfilling, and playing it with Forrest even more so.  I put the saddle bags on the bike, loaded cables, pedals, make up and stage clothes put the leathers on, slung the guitar on my back and headed out on the ten westward towards Hollywood.

I had a bit of a strange feeling. Must be fatigue… I find myself heading towards the sunset, towards the ocean, towards this city rising out of the earth, gigantic teeth in the sky surrounded by haze. LA… I have a hard time keeping up speed.. constantly slowing down, un-energized. Traffic snarls up near the 5 North. I am so glad to be on a bike. That allows me to cut through this mess of practically parked cars.

I’ve gotten to be a lane splitting junkie. The high intensity, the fact that it demands every cell of your body to be awake, aware, ready to react. To read every sensory input, analyze every move, space, feeling, vibes in the air surrounding a car. It’s intoxicating.  So despite the fatigue I start getting into the game…

The 101 is particularly intense, it is narrower than say the 10 or the 210, it is old, pot holed, dented and angry, the drivers are LA drivers, maybe not dented or pot bellied but there is angst, it’s LA… It’s the capital of celebrities, of power, of this weird thing they call success …. I slice through all this, a Ninja. Yeah, Ninja like a cartoon character. I’m a hero with my red and white jacket heading into the center of the commercial music world of this planet we call earth.

I make it to the club, the area is quiet right now… it’s too early yet. I park right in front of the club. Get in. Find Forrest, hugs and I go get ready trading the leather for cotton. The helmet head & face for make up and rumple my hair to give it a bit of some sort of attitude. Ready.

We play our set. One hour. One hour is short… There are some really good moments. The club is not as full as I would wish but hey, one way or another it’s the same deal, we’re playing for nothing, people are getting partied up, we’ll get off the stage and another band, and yet another band after that will have lugged a pile of gear, driven their cars from God knows where, set up and  go play for nothing.  The booze will flow and the night will go on.

It’s a full moon night. I’m really glad that our friend Hector is here. I’m drinking in this whole scene. The beautiful women, the slick dudes, the doorman whose name is Austin and whose whole demeanor is so movie like, I don’t really understand half of his jargon, but I get that he loved the show.

I think of Turkey, Istanbul, what it would be like under this full moon. I look around, now there’s tons of traffic. The people beautiful, elegant. The next bands are so loud I stand outside. Hector’s bike is next to mine. Across the street the valet parking is making gold. There are so many police cars going up and down it’s mind boggling. Earlier there was a story of a skateboard kid who rolled by and threw a brick at some gentlemen’s car… that was around 6 PM, it’s now past 9 and the gentleman in question is still waiting to talk to a cop. Somewhat ironic…

I feel good after playing. I’m enjoying but I’m detached, could be the fatigue.. dunno. Around 10 I went to put the leathers back on. Wanna go home… We chat and chat some more, there, that weird feeling came back again. Why am I nervous? Maybe the fatigue?

Hector Leaves. Forrest heads out to his car as I get on the bike. I let it warm up.

There is a lot of traffic, I’m parked on the left side of the street and need to go up, cross the lane and turn left. That weird feeling again. Slight uncertainty.  

A woman stops to let me cross. I don’t really want to but I do.. I hesitate… there is an SUV in front of her car which means that I can’t see the oncoming traffic. I move forward half way up the lane, there’s broken pavement under my left foot, a bit of a hole, I look to the right, I can’t quite see, I try to inch forward just a little bit.

Next think I know, the engine is revving full blast, I’ll never forget that sound. WIIIIINNNNGGGG!!!!  I see this car in front of me… parked on the other side of the street and I’m heading for it full tilt. Then I’m not so sure, I hear scraping the engine madly revving and then I am down thinking something along the lines of “What?… I’m dreaming this right?”  “Oh my God the car”… 

Suddenly, there’s a whole bunch of people around me, numerous black pant legs surrounding me, I feel arms grabbing me…

“Are you OK!?? Are you OK?!??”

I do an assessment, neck, back OK.. Ow! Pinky finger on the right hand, I recall the feeling of the glove moving as I was crashing in that car…

“Are you OK?!”

“Yeah, I’m OK.” I try to get up and my legs give out, I try again and Austin lifts me up and others I don’t know make a circle around me.

“You don’t look OK if I trust my first aid training experience” One guy with a mustache says…

“I’m in shock.” I said

I see other guys getting the bike up, moving it backwards and then up on the sidewalk. It looks so light and small…

The parking guys attendants get a chair, sit me down. I’m in a daze.

“Oh my God.. Oh my God, the car… the car… Oh my god…” I keep saying trying to get up but I’m not quite ready to get up.   I’m in a foreign country… I dunno how this accident stuff works… this is my first accident… Oh my God I trashed that car….

“Do you want water?”

“Uh.. yeah…”  I don’t know what I want… this is so unreal, I’m trying to feel some sort of anchoring..

I look at the bike and I see all the damage… My Arkadaş… all busted up. And so incredibly strangely, I’m not upset. At all. My thought is simply:  “it’s just plastic.”  What’s most upsetting is that I have no idea what happened, I could not possibly have done what just took place…  I relive the feeling of the bike taking off from under me as if someone had floored the throttle in my place…   people ask what happened and all I can say is:

“It’s as if the throttle got stuck…”

I look at the car… A Mercedes, one of the long ones, the expensive ones… I trashed the whole side of it… I can’t believe I did that… I am so respectful of people’s stuff.. and there I just trashed the thing… I am appalled… confused I don’t know what to do… I ask around…

“I’m Canadian, I’m not sure how you do this stuff here? What should I do?” And no one is really concerned…

“Oh just leave your information..”

In Canada you have a form to fill, we love bureaucracy up there… Constat Amiable, they call it in French…

I sit down on the chair and try to figure out what to do. I call Ozzy, no answer, he’s probably already sleeping… then I call Forrest.

“I’ve been in an accident… I’m at the club… I crashed in this car… can you come back?”

He did.

Finally about an hour later the car owner showed up. She’s a very pretty, expensive looking young woman. Tight pastel jeans, high heels, tight shirt, pretty face, curly hair… She starts talking to me like I’m trying to do something shady. Slightly rude. I stayed quiet.

“No, I am totally at fault, I am so sorry this happened, I’m just not sure what I am supposed to do… Yes I am insured…”

“I have to call the cops!”  She calls and says :

“Yes, I have witnessed an accident, my car…”

She ain’t witnessed nothing… I’m thinking, she just came out… And then I realized that she meant that she saw her car busted up… she was trying to sound good on the phone…

“My car has just sustained extensive damage…” she says. At that point I decided that I didn’t have to hear any of what she was saying on the phone, as it might just be upsetting. There were enough witnesses that saw the whole thing if there ever were questions.

She hung up and came towards me

“Are you insured?” She asks.

“yes I am.”

“I will need all your information… Don’t try to run away..”

“Run away?! I’ve been here waiting for over hour to find out who this car belongs to… I put my number on your windshield..”

Then she mutters something to the effect of people trying to screw people… I said :

“You won’t get that from me. I just want to do this right. I”m not from here and I’m not sure what it is I should do. I am so very sorry…”

I got paper and pen and started to write all my information, driver’s licence, insurance policy number, phone, address… then the police arrived.

Two young men. She goes to them right away and rattles something.. I talked to the other one, explaining once more how I’m not quite sure what the procedure is being a foreigner and all… He said:

“Accidents happen, there has been no crime committed here, you just need to get each other’s information and the insurance companies handle the rest.”

I was so grateful for his calmness, helpfulness. I thanked him.

“If you want we can get her information for you?” he offered.

“Oh that would be great.” I was glad. I was thankful, I was still under shock and didn’t really feel like talking to her, trying to write in the dark, my hands shaky, my body all filled with adrenaline and my mind filled with a strange sort of guilt and such a sense of unreality.

She requested all my papers, at one point she had all of them in her hands, driver’s license, registration, insurance card, writing everything, I felt slightly violated…

Under this LA full moon. I feel dumb, shocked, incredulous, confused, bruised yet I am calm. I finally took a good look at the bike… cracked front fender, dislodged from the front forks, cracked and broken fairing in multiple spots hanging sadly over the headlights, loose plastic, cracked plastic.. but the engine and everything looks intact. I forced the fender back into place, checked for anything that would impede motion..

The cops left, life continued on the busy Selma street. The moon was high. I’m feeling a bit nervous. I guess I’ll have to ride back. I backed up the bike on the road. I told Forrest :

When I used to ride horses we were always told that the best thing to do was to get back in the saddle immediately after a fall if possible… so I guess that this is one of those …”

The engine runs. I see a whole in traffic, head down Selma. I go gingerly. I head onto the 101 freeway. Thankfully it’s not busy. I get onto the 10. It’s dark in the interchange and I realize the headlights are not quite pointing the right way… What else is wrong I wonder…

It seems to take forever to get home. I’m getting cold. But I’m all right minus a pretty bruised up pinky.

The house seems strangely lifeless… I’m feeling strangely not there… I wonder about the insurance process.. dunno how that works? Never had an accident… What if they don’t want to pay? Then I would have to cover this… Then I could not go to Turkey… Then… then.. then… My mind started to race.  So I sat down.  Closed my eyes and meditated for a good long time.

Something else is poking at me, something other than this stress and fear… Something I had a slight inkling over the past few weeks… something about being on foot. Something about the fact that the next stage in this whole adventure that is my life was going to require being on foot, bikeless… And also something to the effect that this “had” to take place for this girl… She did mention to the parking attendant something about “serendipity” again not quite the right word for the situation but a good sounding one… She had almost had her car  parked in that lot  earlier on that night,  then decided to park on the street… before I crashed into her…

Ah the mysteries…All that we do not know and must surrender to.   

I’ve been sore but OK.  The insurance people were nice and all is under control in that department…  I played the Klatch with Forrest the next night, Friday.  We had a really good show…  Then I kind of collapsed, tired.  All of it, accident, shock, stress, the gigantic work week coming down at once… but I’m OK.  I’ve not looked into fixing the bike… I’m just trusting.  Breathing.  

I said it before, I’ll say it this time again… never a dull moment.

8 Responses to “Crash…”

  1. I thought you handled the situation like a champ, Danielle. I am just SO GLAD that things were not any worse. That whole thing with what the young lady was saying also… you know my feelings on that. But again, you handled everything like a CHAMP. When you first called, and I heard what I THOUGHT you said, I was honestly pretty scared, and not necessarily just for Arkadash. Thank God, you are okay!

    And YES – what a great night of music on BOTH NIGHTS… as ALWAYS!

    Seraphim Robinson

  2. David Walker Says:

    So sorry this happened but so thankful that you seem to have come out of it alright! Take care, we all care about you.

  3. Danielle Liard Says:

    Ouch! Sorry this happened. Your pinky not stopping you from playing music? Glad that’s all the hurt you took. Take care.

  4. Chris Percy Says:

    Hi Danielle, I”m glad your OK. Sounds like life’s moving pretty fast right now. Take it easy. Sending you a big Hug. C

  5. bob skoot Says:


    thank goodness you are okay. You have friends and you can still make beautiful music

    take care, get some rest, relax and slow down . . .

    Riding the Wet Coast

  6. Aaron Says:

    Oh nooo. So scary. I’m glad you’re OK. Yes, you need to down shift a bit. Slow down and make sure you take care of ‘YOU’. Take care and miss you.

  7. circleblue Says:

    I’ve been busy and away from reading blogs. I was not pleased to see the title of this post. I was anxious as I discovered it was a real crash. And I’m relieved you are managing to move with this as you have moved through so many other challenges.

    Wishing you wholeness,

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