Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2005.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Thank God

Posted 22 October 2005

What a sucky three days. On Wednesday night I was suddenly overcome with weariness and was thrown into a deep, vivid dream. 13 hours later I woke up. Thursday night I just didn't sleep at all, and I literally mean I didn't lie down at all. That all sets the scene for Friday.

The plan was for Amanda and I to head down to Starved Rock, which apparently has some amazing outdoors to explore. I'm of course tired, but I'll just use adrenaline to coast through the day. I didn't eat lunch, either, so I'm getting really hungry. We're going to stop for lunch, though, so it's cool. What follows is an attempt to reproduce how dramatic the events were to me.

So Amanda and I are driving down the road, which is about to turn into Lakeshore Drive. Whoa, "Kiss Me" by Sixpence None the Richer is on the radio! We haven't heard this in years! Kiss me out of the bearded barley. The road turns into the four-lane Lakeshore Drive and Amanda pulls into the middle-left lane.

Man, it sure is beautiful out. Amanda's singing along with the song. I'm taking in soon-to-be etched details. She's smiling. I like how she sings "Oh", because she kind of breaks her voice like how Little John yells "Yeah!", except she's actually singing. Kiss me down by the broken tree house. We roll up the windows and turn up the volume.

Hiking in the woods is going to be great! It's quite a drive out there, but I've been told the fall colors are amazing. Kiss me beneath the milky twilight. Amanda signals to pull into the far left lane and begins to change lanes as the song begins to end.

Suddenly our car swerves back into the middle-left lane. I watch as a black convertible blazes past us, but the lone driver is obviously not in control of his car. Kiss me. He overcorrects left, right, and then he's out of control completely. His car hits the center median and hops the curb. Kiss me. A cloud of dust is kicked up as the guy's car starts to flip. God. No. I watch as the top of a tree falls backwards into the cloud from the force of the car hitting the tree low to the ground. Kiss me. Amanda masterfully slows the car, avoiding sudden braking, and pulls over. Lots of people are doing the same as we hustle back up the road to the site of the accident. The smoking wreck is upside down and stripped of a lot of metal. There's nothing holding the car up off the ground, so no one can see inside. Please don't let him be dead. God, please don't let him be dead. People begin to yell "Are you OK?" and "Let's get this door open."

I think the worst is the uncertainty. The guy is entombed inside of his car, and there's no movement or sound. I have only my imagination, and the images in my mind are all spectacularly graphic, and worse, I superimpose those thoughts on my own body. I had images of my jaw being rent from my skull, and other unpleasant thoughts, circling my mind for hours.

I become queasy with these visions, and turn my back on the wreck to direct traffic. Stupid rubberneckers, always rubbernecking. Keep moving! Leave a lane open! When I next turn around, the crowd has figured out how to open the door without the handle or outer metal. Amanda is amazing in the situation: she's on her hands and knees, halfway in the car, holding the guy's hand and speaking to him in English and Spanish to quit struggling, the ambulance is on the way.

The impression I got from the police was that both Amanda and the guy tried to change lanes to the far left lane at the same time. However, the guy pulled a double lane-change while speeding, which was where the accident started.

God really protected Amanda and me, and I'm thankful for that. Her car was completely unharmed, as were we, and everyone else on the road who could have otherwise slammed on their brakes. Further, a lot of people stopped to help, and the police and firetrucks (with mobile care units) arrived within 5 minutes.

Amanda and I didn't go to Starved Rock - I was mentally and emotionally exhausted, and was both hungry and queasy. That, and I didn't feel like spending three hours in a car after seeing that accident.