[begin time dilation]
“Huh Wut?” says the intellect.
“Oh hey!” says the hind-brain. Some also call this ‘instinct’ or ‘the id’. “I just dropped her down TWO gears, aimed us HARD left more or less at that concrete median wall, and twisted the throttle to the stop.”
“Uhhh. Thanks?” says the intellect. I’ve mentioned this before, but you’d REALLY better know what you’re about if you order up full throttle on a Valk.
“Well, shit was happening,” says the hind-brain by way of an explanation. “I’ve bought you perhaps 0.84 seconds of life. Use it wisely.”
The intellect is finally up to speed. “Oh, BRING IT ON!” I’d have preferred a quiet commute, but challenges, once issued, don’t phase me in the slightest.
This would have been a great time to verbalize an “Oh shit!” or such, but there wasn’t any time for those things.
Hard RIGHT…tires squalling, and now on the left shoulder, inches from the wall, and beside a semi trailer. I heard crunching noises behind me.
…and there was a dead car directly in my path on the shoulder. Still too fast to stop and unwilling to try due to the sounds of carnage behind me, the intellect determined the only chance was to get past the semi-cab before we ate the back end of the car. What sucked was that full throttle and down two gears…wasn’t gonna be enough.
Needed another downshift, but there wasn’t time for that. Or to think about that. Or to even ponder how much this was gonna hurt.
And some “art” kicked in.
I goosed it. For those unaware, that’s the act of feathering the clutch to give the beast even more torque at the back wheel without downshifting.
It’s not good on clutches. It’s seldom needed on a Valk.
We squeaked out into free, but limited space in front of the truck, and cleared the dead car by inches at least. Other maneuvers were required at that point to avoid other traffic that was still shutting down, and to not get squished by the (now behind me) semi, but they were much less extreme. We had the luxury of several seconds this time.
“AND WE LIVE TO FIGHT ANOTHER DAY!!” screams the hind-brain.
“Fukin’ A!” says the intellect. That was the best it could come up with at the moment. The adrenaline was late to the party but WAS starting to kick in. “GAHHHHH!”
[end time dilation]
Reconstruction after the fact…
80 mph traffic. I was in the middle left lane (4 lanes). Traffic was shutting down and fast. Dallas freeways are prone to that. No problem, I always leave plenty of room.
Problem is…today there are lots of folks not paying the slightest attention. Most of them seem to be directly behind me.
At some point I noted that THREE cars behind me weren’t slowing down. The left lane, my lane, and the car nearly beside me in the middle right lane. His lane was stopping faster and he was about to rear-end another car. He was moving hard left and taking my lane to try to avoid that.
Kind of annoying, that. Two objects, same space, same time…yanno?
But that’s when the hind-brain…always aware of these sorts of things…took over and I found myself pointed at a concrete wall.
So…middle right car comes into my vacated space in the middle left, and promptly buries his nose under the DOT bumper of the semi that had been in front of me. Had I stayed where I was, I’d have found myself smashed into pulp and crammed under a semi.
The news would no-doubt note whether or not I was wearing a helmet.
I had already left that scene, crossed the left lane for the shoulder, barely clearing the semi in front of me in the left lane, who was then promptly rear ended by the car behind HIM (as I squeaked between). By then I was playing with the fractions of a second still left to get in front of him and dodge the dead car on the shoulder…which was then promptly rear-ended by yet another car that I have NO clue where it came from.
It’s a dance…and apparently nobody but me could hear the music.
Instinct. Art. Intellect. It’s a little of all, and perhaps even a little bit of luck (I happen to believe we make our own luck).
…and I live to fight another day (a good ride) AND I can use the machine again (a GREAT ride).
Y’all get with the damn beat, will ya?
I’ll see you on the road.