When I was a junior in high school I was hit by a school bus. Well, more accurately the car in which I was riding to school was hit by a school bus. I often grabbed a ride with my neighbors, my dear friend Karen Siegel who was in my grade and with whom I was thick as thieves, and her brother Jeff, a senior, who had an open top Jeep with a roll bar. Karen had a long perm and flakey skin from a surplus of acne meds and she talked staggeringly and moved shiftily and apologetically, on purpose, in what was a total aping of Diane Keaton in any Woody Allen movie ever, but especially Annie Hall. Jeff tried to look cool but he was a geek and had floppy blond hair and wore some kind of granny glasses. He looked like a Jewish John Denver.
There was one main road that full school busses traveled up to reach the large circular drive in front of our “regional” high school, and down which the empty busses would depart. And there was a small road, just one, that ended at that larger road, that we would arrive at, to make a left onto the main drive, timing our turn correctly between the arriving and departing busses passing in either direction perpendicularly before us.
“I think we can make it” was the last thing I remembered Jeff saying before the collision was over. One bus, I’m not sure now whether it was a full arriving one or an empty departing one, slammed into us. No Jeff you cannot make it you stupid nerdy muppet. What happened was the school bus hit us and we flipped completely over rolling on that bar which was living up to its name—can you believe that roll bar actually got use?—such that we landed upright again, a total 360. It was barely the eighties so we weren’t wearing seatbelts of course; so I think Karen and Jeff “stayed” in the car by virtue of centrifugal force but I, loose as a goose in the back seat, with said roll bar available for my own flipping pleasure, apparently smashed my head and face against it as we did the roll which, while upside down, must have “pushed” me back into my upside-down seat and luckily it happened so fast that we were upright again in a flash and it wasn’t so slow a roll that I was crushed under the roll bar or otherwise flung from the Jeep, until the very last moment of impact which I can’t help but imagine was like when Dorothy’s house landed on the witch of the East. Anyway, I was on the pavement.
All I knew were bananas and Bruce Springsteen. I don’t know if you’ve ever had amnesia but when you do you don’t actually remember anything. You just know a couple of things. I knew the smell and taste of something called banana, and I knew the sound of a sound and that it had a name and that name was Bruce Springsteen. I couldn’t tell you what a banana looked like or what it was. I just knew banana. And I couldn’t describe Bruce Springsteen or even know Bruce Springsteen was a person let alone a singer I just knew he was what had been in my ears the last time I knew I had something called ears. I was messed up. And I was bleeding all over the place and Karen, who had absolutely nothing at all wrong with her, was pulling me to my feet. I don’t know if it was Jeff or the voices in my head but all I could hear was “don’t move him, you never move an accident victim.” But either Karen didn’t give a fuck what her fucked up brother, who would only sustained broken forearm, was saying OR she couldn’t hear the voices in my head so she walked me to the nurse’s office.
I wasn’t quite back in reality but bits and pieces were beginning to return in jigsaw fashion; but obviously I was not in my right mind because the first thing I did was reach into my pocket to dig out my black wooded bowl and cloudy, sticky baggy of what was left of some larger amount of not very good pot and hand it to the nurse who was probably sixty and slender with some Reagan era version of the 1940s hairdo she wore in her twenties, which was tucked under her white cap to match her pristine tight startk white polyester—school nurses actually looked like nurses once, remember—onto which i was somehow dripping blood.
“Oh dear,” she said. I remember that distinctly. Because I recall thinking she was more concerned about the blood I was getting on her dress than she was about the fact that my head was actually a blood fountain that was spurting all over her. Then again “oh dear” was probably due to the fact that she probably had never touched a bowl or a bag of pot before as this was something she only experienced heretorfore in the abstract via the propogandist anti-drug films they still trotted out since they first showed them to students in the 1960s for us to see in health class, in which, she made cameo appearances. Actually, i think it was a triple-layered “oh dear”; she was actually saying “oh dear” about the blood on her dress, the blood spurting out of my skull, and the bag and bowl I was simultaneously shoving into her hand, all at the same time. Three “oh dears” said all at once. And why would I give our lovely innocent, to me, then, rather elderly nurse my bag and bowl? Because somewhere I was aware that people in uniforms of some sort would be arriving and that I shouldn’t have that shit on me. It never occured to me I was giving it directly into the hands of a school official that would, of course, bring it to the principal who was not, and never would be, my pal.
I’m going to stop there. It’s a long story and I’ll tell you the rest tomorrow!
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