After work today, I drove into San Francisco for dinner, making it three nights in a row that I have headed into the city for dinner. Normally, I'm not super-city-guy, but some friends from CWRU are in town (Chris and Karen Ishida), and since I haven't seen them in a long, long time, I have felt compelled to make the trek to the city three times in a row.
And let me say this up front - San Francisco has been great. On Sunday night, for example, it was raining both on my trip into San Francisco, and on the ride out. Both times, however, there was an accident on 101, but in the opposite direction that I was travelling. This means that I avoided not one, but two major traffic jams.
And it got even better today. I slipped out of work, and got on the high right around 6:00 PM. At the height of the evening rush hour. But the rain had stopped, and the big game was on TV, so I had one of the best rides into San Francisco on a weekday, ever. I made it from Sunnyvale to downtown in right around 40 minutes. Absolutely zero traffic.
And when I got to my destination in the Mission, I found a completely legal parking spot after only about 10 minutes of searching.
I had the feeling that I was burning through some serious "driving karma", especially for that amazing drive into SF. And, as it turns out, I was right, as I found out on the way home:
My Saturn is a bit lighter now, thanks to that bumper paint that got scraped off.
It was around 11:15 PM, and I was driving in a middle lane south on 101, minding my own business. The road wasn't very crowded, and it was clear sailing in front of me. I don't know what caused me to check the blindspot on my left side, but suddenly I saw a car that was coming up from behind, in the left lane. It was driving a bit erratically, I suppose, but all of a sudden it got really close to me, like he was trying to merge into my lane without seeing me.
I popped off the cruise control, and veered a bit to the right (out of my lane), in order to avoid him. But in so doing, I lost a bit of speed, and didn't get the separation that I needed to. Because he swerved again, much harder this time, and then I felt the "pop" of our bumpers touching.
What happened next was really amazing -- the guy breaked super hard, spinning his car out. Looking in my rearview, at one point he was perpendicular to the flow of traffic, before righting himself back into a lane. But I think that he came nearly to a dead stop in the middle of 101 -- which is a huge mo-no, no matter what time of day it is.
Luckily, all of the other drivers on the road managed to avoid this guy, and he was able to pull over behind me so we could exchange insurance information. But all said and told, we were both pretty lucky. My car just has a scrape, and we couldn't even find the equivalent on his bumper.
But now, of course, I get the hassle of getting this fixed. But, at least the driving scales are balanced, and I don't have to live in fear of having taking more driving karma than I have given.