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No One Plans To Die in Ipswich

Toyota Prius English Football Road Trip

Beneath a field of blue, I cut through farmlands; I was a warm knife slicing through the butter that the bevy of cows flanking the straightaway indicate may very well be produced here.

It was a Tuesday in autumn on England’s stubby southeastern toe. The next football ground was maybe 8 minutes up the road; it’s no surprise that in England there’s always another one waiting, no more than an arm’s length away. A football podcast played through Bluetooth, also no surprise. Time was on my side.

Next thing I can remember is not stopping.
The popping of airbags.
Is that smoke?
There’s nothing in front of me.
Are the windows down?
So much honking.
Why are they honking?
I think that’s smoke.
Why aren’t they stopping, helping, letting me out?
Let me the fuck out of here.

There are no longer any vehicles in front of me and I don’t understand. 2 + 2 has no answer. No one plans to die in Ipswich.

Am I still alive?

Yeah. I am. There’s a woman, maybe my age or thereabouts. She’s wearing a black sweater, a cardigan. Her phone is in her hand and her arms are crossed, pulling her sweater shut. It must be chilly. She’s on the sidewalk to my right. Her face is strained; she looks worried. This makes me worried, more so than I already am. Now the woman let’s her sweater fall open; she is waving at me with one hand and with the other, the one holding her phone, she is stopping oncoming traffic. This gives me a chance and I take it. Then I’m standing beside her and I’m saying, “I think I’m alright” and “thank you so much”. She tells me that she called the police; the yellow ambulance arrives. I thank her again and I mean it. I will never see her again.

The Toyota Prius that had been saving me money on gas as I zigzagged from London to Nottingham to Derby to Stoke to Liverpool to Shrewsbury through The Cotswolds over to London down to Dover and just about to Ipswich, had just saved my life.

Norwich City Carrow Road First Game No One Plans To Die in Ipswich

Hi I’m Jeff and I’m in Norwich now but about 5 hours ago I was in a terrible car accident just south of rival Ipswich Town. I’m still more than a little messed up about it. Norwich City won 2-1. I think I won too.

No one plans to tell this story, although they are grateful for the ability to do so. No one plans to die in Ipswich, not on their way to Portman Road, to a football club on life support in the Championship.

There’s no knowing why the lorry came to a complete stop or how it vanished in the seconds after I steered the front passenger side of my unfortunately but appropriately named blue crush metallic Prius into its steel step up bar.

There’s also no knowing if I would be alive still if not for the safety features discreetly tucked away inside the cabin of the Toyota Prius I destroyed on the A12, an arm’s length south of Ipswich.

Toyota Prius Driving in Bournemouth UK

Driving a different Toyota Prius on a pleasantly empty road in Bournemouth, 5 days after the accident, on my way to the Vitality Stadium.

No one plans to die in Ipswich and thankfully, on that autumnal Tuesday, no one did.

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2 Comments

  1. I have had a lot of emotions while reading this beautiful piece,
    but the big take away for me is you are here and didn’t die in
    Ipswich!

  2. This was a terrific read, Jeff. Terrifying, but terrific. It reminded me of the car accident post I wrote last year.

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