Adventure,  Creative,  Lifestyle,  Uncategorized

How to Get Hit by a Train…and Survive

By Robin Postell

When I think back to that night, July 5, 2022, it is kind of hard not to wince. However, I also refer to the Woody Allen film, Crimes and Misdemeanors, when Alan Alda’s character says, “Tragedy plus time equals comedy.”

So, I laugh.

Because getting hit by a train – from behind – isn’t someone gets to say they’ve done very often. And I’ve done a lot of crazy things throughout my life, both personally and as a journalist. I’ve climbed a live volcano on the Aeolian island of Stromboli, just off the coast of Sicily. I thought I was fit, but this sea-level-born-and-bred girl thought that staying on the Stairmaster at Gold’s an hour daily was going to prepare me for the increase in altitude. I’ve been on the support crew of the Baja 1000 unlimited bracket. At the Silver State Classic, I wore a fireproof jumpsuit and a 5-point harness and rode shotgun as navigator in the 155+-mph division. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

The question on everyone’s mind might be, my god, how the hell did you get hit, from behind, by a train?

And that is a legitimate question – so I’ll tell you.

First of all, it was around 9 p.m. and when I set off for my short jaunt through my little one-horse where I live, it wasn’t raining. But within a few minutes, it wasn’t just raining, it was pouring. I take a shortcut through town to go toward the store I was headed and got caught behind a train. It was looking like it might take a while so I decided to hang a right.

About the time not just pouring-down-rain began, but a literal flash flood ensued. I still chose to make that fateful right, thinking that it would take me out to the side road where the store was. Bad decision. In my obscured view of the road, I didn’t realize that it was a dead end. There was no signage and I’m not particularly familiar with that specific area of town. My bad.

Squinting through the rain, I realize, wait…am I on grass?

So I pause. A big light is in my rearview which I thought was a truck with its headlight out. Around here where trains are the norm, you always assume everyone else is doing the same thing as you – making turns to avoid the train delays.

Well. I was wrong. The light belonged to another train!

And the street I was on, the unmarked street, was technically a railroad-related area (even though there were houses lining it on the right), and the track veered several feet towards the right.

This meant that the train the operators were trying to move would veer to the fateful right where I was, thus tapping (very hard tap) my left rear bumper, sending me skidding in the wet grass some many feet into darkness.

The cops and ambulance were called before I even had a moment to consider calling.

The train’s engineer met me outside of the bashed Honda I was driving, asking if I was okay. I was in a complete “tizzy” as they say down here in the deepest deep south.

The train was going about 10-20 mph, thankfully, but it did a real job on my car, and my head. My concussion was the least of my worries, frankly. All I could think about was my car, and that I’d only had it about six months – and I only had liability!

Note: If you have a car and paid it off but it’s still worth a decent amount of dough, get full coverage!

Everyone was saying to sue, but I just really didn’t have the gumption for that. I felt like, in my heart, that I’d done something pretty stupid, which was, not just sit there till the train passed. Even thought what I did was a typical move for most around here who want to avoid train delays at tracks, given the flash flood situation, my confidence got the better of me and I certainly did not figure into my equation that the city did not mark the oft-traveled Railroad Street as a dead end.

That left me with a month of PTSD-ish type feelings, like I was an idiot, irresponsible, omg, what a dolt, etc. And I kind of checked out from things for a solid month…or two. But finally I did contact several attorneys and the response was bad-to-good. Most didn’t want to bother with filing a claim against the city – oddly. I thought that was an attorney’s dream come true!

Whatever the case may be, I got slammed with a $5800 repair to my Honda CRV – the first responsible, reliable, common auto I’ve ever owned in my life.

At this very moment it has been returned to said shop to be repainted in one prime spot on the rear hatch. And the owner was in the hospital for two months, delaying the repair!

And now he and his wife have COVID!

What is it with me and cars?

Oy vey.

In summation, I’m quite happy to have a new cocktail party anecdote about being hit by, and surviving, being hit by a train during a flash flood.

And hey, I’m really lucky to be alive.

Writer and photographer since age 7, I took it pro when I turned 21, freelancing for newspapers and magazines internationally. Now, I'm shifting gears looking for new adventures, both personally and professionally - the two have, frequently, been synonymous. A writer must adapt to the tsunami of technology and information in this brave new world. I'm game. R

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