Aug 9, 2007

The Blink of an Eye

It's easy to create drama on the internet, to make more of something than it really is. On Friday, August 3rd, I was in a car crash. I've called it an accident on occasion since, when discussing it with family and friends, but it did not feel like an accident. When a stranger so violently and deliberately steers a car through a red light, accident feels somehow an inappropriate word.

The moment itself was exactly like the movies—the noise, the telescoping of time, a car sailing through the air. The most incredible part for me, though, was not the drama of what happened but what didn't happen. I did not die. In fact, all three of us drivers involved opened our car doors, stepped outside, and made our way to the sidewalk where we were engulfed by a growing crowd.

The fact that I am, relatively speaking, okay—hurting, achy, bruised, swollen—but okay (that is, alive), still slightly surprises me almost a week later. I don't put it that way for the sense of drama, but because going into it I was sure I wouldn't be. As soon as it dawned on me that this woman was going to drive at full speed straight through her red light and into me, I braced for something I knew would happen. The impact came sure enough. But afterwards, looking up at that green light through my windshield, I had to double check to make sure it wasn't a symbolic green light.

The point of all this is nothing more than an explanation for why you haven't heard from me all week. And for why you probably won't hear from me for a while longer yet. The crash has raised some funny questions for me. Not questions about guardian angels or reasons for things happening, but questions about how I can spend my time now that I can't sit in front of a computer for very long. According to my statistics, there are a lot more of you readers out there than I ever would have expected and it occurs to me that I don't know you very well. I'd like to. Because although writing on the internet is often an exercise in egotism, for me it is also about the craft of writing and exploring ideas.

So now that my time online is limited, I want to make the most of it. Will you tell me what you think? About it all: your experience with this site, with the ideas I write about, with what you'd really like to read about, with all of it? There are all kinds of rules and tips and suggestions for writing on the net; much of it is either bullshit or common sense and I'd like to offer a little bit more than that. I would love for you to leave your thoughts below, or even to email me directly if you prefer.

[I've also posted this entry on my other blog, Small Failures.]


camper said...

Hi- ouch! What I enjoy about your blog posts is that you're really writing long-format essays, or ruminations, rather than quick links to other stuff.

There are places on the internet for people who post often and those who post infrequently but thoughtfully, and in the cocktail blog world, you're one of the few doing the latter.

Jonathan said...

I love your site... you're the most thoughtful bartender I know. I actually don't know many bartenders. You write coherently and with feeling. I only wish you would write about beer more often. A joke. But not really. I like beer.

Boak said...

Hope you're feeling OK.

We blog about beer in the UK so are generally fascinated by anything about the drinking culture in the US. We found your blog through a link from someone else's and like your reflective style.

Stephen Beaumont said...

I've been there, Jessie -- the dazed look, the utter confusion about how the hell this came to pass, the "what happened? was it my fault?" self-questioning, the growing awareness of aches and pains. Glad you're alright, if somewhat physically challenged for the time being, but still alive and more-or-less well.

I like Bar Stories because it's a well thought out blog written by someone with obvious intelligence and compassion. Get better and continue.

gwen sutherland kaiser said...

hi jess, glad you were ok. i like the tone of your blog. thoughtful and informative with a hint of witty frankness. i'm a big fan of opinionated candor.

Jo4nny said...

So sorry to hear about the accident. This is the first time I've visited your blog (I'm looking for links to add to my own at -- and I can safely say that I'll be here again many times in the future.

What I see in your blog is the potential to vicariously live out someone else's great night out at the bar, even if the reader (me) is at work or bored at home.

Almost like a virtual hang-out.