I woke to the sound of metal scraping against pavement. Sparks brightened that otherwise gray winter day in 1991. I was hanging upside down inside my girlfriend’s baby-blue Ford Escort, suspended by a seat belt as the car hurtled at 60 miles per hour along the westernmost section of the Massachusetts Turnpike.
I was 26 at the time. I had been in New York City with my girlfriend the night before, taking a break from my grad studies at Yale and drinking until dawn. While she took a train home to Albany, I had gone to class in New Haven, still drunk, and then set out for Albany myself. On the 30-mile stretch of the Mass. Pike between Exit 3 in Westfield and Exit 2 in Lee, you see nothing but pine trees and the occasional white-tailed deer. Somewhere along that span I drifted into a peaceful sleep.
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