Jarred. My Double Take writing partner, Susanne Bacon, suggested the word jarred be our starting point for our April 2020 Double Take.
I have no idea how or where Susanne came up with the jarred idea, but I need to run with it.
Susanne’s and my Double Take articles start with just that one word, jarred. Normally Susanne and I meet and read our articles to each other. Circumstances prevented us from getting together for the read, so Susanne and I will both be as surprised as our readers when our two takes on Double Take are published.
Let me first start with a definition of jarred.
Jarred is the past tense of jar. Thinking back, I have to say during the past 75 years I have been jarred on an uncanny number of occasions.
That’s it. I am going to write about being jarred. My life pattern of being jarred is mysterious and unexplainable.
(1) Jarred c. 1944 – 1945 on Queen Ann Hill, Seattle, Washington: While sitting in a post-war baby stroller I used my dangling feet to push myself out the front door, down the front sidewalk, followed by a basic right and then I hurtled down Queen Ann Hill in Seattle.
My mother fraught with panic, was glued to our 12 party-line wall-phone as she witnessed her precious young son escaping from our duplex.
She yelled for my dad, who chased after me, running down Queen Ann Hill. When we reached the bottom, he managed to grab the stroller handle as he slid into the intersection blowing off his right slipper in the process. We came to rest in the intersection. No one was hurt and of course being adventure boy, I said, “Wee! Let’s do it again, Daddy.” It was a jarring experience for my parents.
(2) Jarred c. 1960 on Old Military Road, Seattle, Washington: I was motoring along at 35 mph in a 35 mph zone in my 1949 Packard when another driver ran a stop sign and struck my Packard on the left rear driver’s side quarter panel. While his vehicle was damaged, my Packard sustained only a smudged bumper. Obviously since I remember the incident in detail 60 years later, I was jarred.
(3) Jarred in 1960s – Seattle: I stopped behind a car load of young girls doused in buckets of perfume that radiated out of their top down tiny convertible through my window. When the light turned green she hit the gas forgetting that she was in reverse and smashed into my car. I was so jarred by the experience I neglected to get the driver’s phone number so I could ask her out to the movies.
(4) Jarred c. 1965 – 1966 in Canada: While on a road trip to Canada in my 1962 Chevrolet 2 door sedan I hit some black ice hidden under the melting slush at 35 mph in a 70 mph zone. The tall rock cliff to my left produced a shadow preventing roadway ice from melting. On the right was a steep 70’ death producing cliff with the mud flats at the bottom. On the left was a serious, but shallow, ditch. We fishtailed and slipped gently into the ditch ending up upside down. We were jarred by this escape from death.
(5) 1972 Jarred on Bridgeport Way: On a warm sunny day I was driving my 1967 Austin Healey Mark III with the top down and the 8-track is playing. As I attempted to pass through the intersection of 75th and Bridgeport on my green light, an old man, who was probably younger than I am now, made a blind left turn in front of me. We collided. My car was destroyed. Had I died, my daughter, who was born later in the year would have grown up daddy-less. I was jarred.
(6) Jarred in early 1990s on Bridgeport Way: I nosed my marked patrol car into the bank parking lot up on Bridgeport in University Place. A driver grew impatient waiting in the drive-through line at the back of the lot. He threw his truck in reverse and screamed across the lot towards my fully marked patrol car. He struck the front end of my patrol car pressing two push bar marks into his rear bumper.
He told me we could forget all about it since there was no damage to my patrol car and since he did not care about the damage from my push bars.
Had I possessed a weak moral compass, his offer to forget about it would have sounded good to a guy on probation. I did not take the bate. I called my supervisor as was required. Before the supervisor and traffic officer could arrive, the at-fault driver had already made up a lie telling the investigating officers I had hit him from the rear. The lie did not work, but had I not reported the incident, I would have rightfully been judged to be unfit for duty and lost my 25 year career.
(7) Jarred 1990s on Bridgeport Way: In the 1990s my police radio crackled, “County, 259, motorcycle – vehicle collision at 75th and Bridgeport. I returned to the same intersection where the old guy had destroyed my Austin Healey. This time a nice lady turned left in front of the motorcycle. Four days after I visited the motorcycle rider in the hospital, he died. I was jarred by those events and am always reminded of both crashes each time I pass through the intersection.
(8) Jarred mid 1990s on Bridgeport Way: I was dispatched to a 2-car collision on Bridgeport Way SW between Steilacoom Boulevard SW and Custer Road SW. A driver, bent on suicide, removed his seatbelt, sped up the slight hill on Bridgeport and at the last minute veered into the oncoming lane thereby creating a self-manufactured head on collision. He died and others were injured. I was jarred by this event.
(9) 2017 Jarred on 38th Street: After a kindly driver flagged a driver into his lane from a private lot, she exploded into my lane. We crashed. I was seriously injured, disabled, and in pain for a long period of time following this totally unnecessary collision. I was jarred by this event.
(10) Jarred 2018: On my way home from having ridden to the Arctic Ocean on a BMW motorcycle, I pretended I was Evel Knievel by flying over the handlebars at 70 mph south of Deadhorse, Alaska. I was jarred by this event, big time.
(11) 2019 Never jarred once. Nothing happened in 2019. Nothing to write about. Sorry.
(12) 2020 Jarred on Bridgeport Way again: An elderly driver headed southbound as I drove northbound, made a sweeping blind left turn and T-boned my 2004 BMW Z4 in the 6300 block of Bridgeport Way W. My car died, but I lived. This event seriously jarred me, so much so, I have given up sports cars.
My pal Jimmy recommends I drive Orchard instead of Bridgeport.
After being jarred with three crashes in small sports cars; one in the Austin Healy, and two in the BMW, my next vehicle is going to be a tank. I do not want to be jarred even one more time.
Care to read Bacon’s Double Take? Click here.
Joe Boyle, author of the Suburban Times’ column “Westside Story”, and Susanne Bacon, novelist and author of the Suburban Times’ column “Across the Fence”, are sharing their thoughts about a variety of topics in their joint project of double features called “Double Take”. Comments are more than welcome, as they know that the world has more than their two angles – the more the merrier.
Susanne Bacon says
OMG, more than nine lives, Joe! I’m jarred now – take good care of yourself!
Dieter Mielimonka says
Although I have never met you, I think you are a nice guy and an interesting writer. But I sincerely hope I am never on the road when you are….you remind me of Mr. Zdxmpc of the old “Li’l Abner” comic strip ,
Mary Hammond says
Joe, with this essay on Susanne’s clever “jarred” theme, you’ve won the prize. There wasn’t a prize? Too bad. I was aware of a few of these adventures, and a couple of your many cars, but Wow! Yes, Larry gave you good advice. Now *I’m* a little nervous about traveling Bridgeport between UP and Lakewood. I’m so sorry to see your beautiful blue BMW crushed like that. I’m amazed that you weren’t hurt! Looking forward to seeing what you’ll be driving next, so I can stay out of your way with my precious 21-year-old car.