Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Harry Potter and Close Calls

So, we conquered the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this past weekend with about 50 million other people!  The park was so freaking busy, it was nuts.  Apparently Saturday was the slowest day they had seen in a month -- I asked -- and it was insanity.  Sunday was worse.

Either way, we had a blast.  Super Spawn was in three-year-old heaven with all the rides and exciting things to do and see.  He even rode Flight of the Hippogriff (a roller coaster)!  He came home bedecked in every bit of Gryffindor paraphernalia we could find, Ron Weasley's wand, Scabbers, and a flying car.

I've got my own little Weasley.  :) 

We drank butterbeer (YUM), ate in the Three Broomsticks (YUM), had Rock Cake (DOUBLE YUM), and even adopted a Pygme Puff named Hermione.

Yes, we had a blast.

We did have a couple near misses on our trip though.  As we left Islands of Adventure on Saturday evening we noted smoke billowing into the sky from the park.  We wondered what it was coming from, but shrugged it off and went to the hotel.  Later we learned that a ride in the Toon Town portion of the park had caught fire.  A ride we were looking for the entrance to, but gave up when Super Spawn decided he was ready to go.  *phew*  Thank you, Super Spawn.  (This ride has it out for me, I think.  On my Senior trip it broke down while I was on it and we had to evacuate.  Weird.)

The biggest, and scariest, near miss happened on the way home.

The interstates were packed full of cars, people trying to zoom in and out of bumper-to-bumper traffic.  Scary.  I don't like interstates, and I definitely don't like them full of bad drivers.  Lucky for us, we had my sister's GPS, which we set to take us home by back roads.

Out in the middle of nowhere, on a four lane road with a 65mph speed limit, we had our second near miss.

We were riding along in the left lane, a gray truck in the right about six or eight car-lengths in front of us.  A white truck pulled across the road, and I saw it coming. 

I said, "Oh no," and slammed my foot onto the brake.  The gray truck hit the white truck -- full speed, there was no reaction time -- and I swerved off into the median as they went flying off the right side of the road.  I screamed, "Call 911!"

My brother-in-law is a first responder, law enforcement.  He bolted out of the car and across the street as my sister called for ambulances.  It was terrifying.  I've never seen such a bad accident in person, and I've certainly never come so close to being involved in one.

My brother-in-law was able to resuscitate the driver of the white truck, and she was taken by life-flight as the seven others involved were taken away by ambulance. 

We have no idea of the outcome.

All any of us could say to one another the rest of the drive home was, "Thank goodness Holly was driving."  I have the fastest reaction time, and well, I drive the slowest.  It's doubly strange because just minutes before this happened my sister and I were talking about how differently we drive.  How I prefer the left lane, and she prefers the right.  How I am more of a defensive driver, and she is more aggressive.  We switched seats, so I could drive, not thirty minutes before this happened.

Not only is this a lesson in safe driving (PAY ATTENTION AND SLOW DOWN, PEOPLE!  There were two very small kids involved in this accident, and I shudder to think of the outcome had they not been belted properly in carseats.), it's also a lesson in chance and character.

It was chance that I was driving.  Chance that we chose to leave the interstate.  Chance that the GPS chose this route for us.  But it was character that had me in the left lane.  Character that I reacted the way I did.  Character kept us from being involved.

As you're writing and delving into who your characters are, consider this.  Which lane would they have been in?  Would their outcome have been the same?  Would they fly across the street to save a life, be the one on the phone for the ambulance, or be the one still gripping the steering wheel, shaking from head to toe as they calm the baby down in the back?


Pam Harris said...

Wow, what a story. It's scary to think of what could've happened if you weren't driving. I was involved in a minor fender bender, and I was thisclose to being sandwich between two cars. Luckily, the large SUV behind me reacted quickly and slammed on brakes before he could crash against me. Though I had to deal with a lot of insurance crap, I have to keep reminding myself to be thankful it wasn't worse.

Jessica K. said...

Holly, you never cease to amaze me. I just relived the entire thing while reading your post. It is so true, how character made us react the way we did. I am so proud of hubbs.

Erinn said...

Wow! I agree with Jessica you're amazing and you're excellent about the constant real life reminders about being careful.

I'm glad you guys had a great time at Harry Potter World but I'm sorry the day ended in such a tragic way.

Logan E. Turner said...

So, so scary! I'm glad you guys are all okay and that you had a fantastic time at WWHP!

KO said...

whoa holly- so glad you are all safe. Glad HP was a fun day. It's fascinating to think about all the elements of chance and character.

LTM said...

people drive like maniacs. Glad you escaped unscathed... And I'm so jealous of your proximity to the WW. We can't wait to go~ :o) <3

Alicia Gregoire said...

Wow. Like everyone else, I'm so glad you guys came out okay. I'm a nervous driver, so I'd be still shaking from this.

Jess said...

Wow, scary! I'm glad you are all okay!

And way to turn it into a great metaphor for writing. That's not one I'll forget any time soon...