Strange Experience

While family and acquaintances have had their share of inexplicable experiences, I could never claim one for myself. Except perhaps one time while I was a student at college.

At that time another student was taking me to school in his grandmother's prized old Thunderbird. We shared gas expenses and it was a convenience. One rainy day we were on our way home driving down the San Diego Freeway (405) into the San Fernando Valley. At that point it is and was a long, rather steep 4-lane highway. There was plenty of traffic which began to slow in the light rain and I saw that a dumptruck had jackknifed on the road ahead. Although a little apprehensive, I didn't feel any immediate danger as we came to a complete stop.

I was wearing a coat because it was a cold day, although not bitterly so, and as we sat waiting for traffic to start creeping ahead, I noticed it felt warmer.  But I was reluctant to remove my coat because I'd have to remove my seatbelt as well and I felt more secure with it on. However, as the moments ticked by I grew still warmer. I thought I could "tough" it out, though, because on a rainy day how hot could an ordinary coat get, especially one I'd worn numerous times.

But it continued to get warmer. So warm it occurred to me this wasn't "normal" and after that even, "somebody wants me to remove my coat!"  But I still didn't want to remove it because I thought I'd be vulnerable in an accident.  But moments elapsed and suddenly I felt on fire.  At that point I was convinced a higher power was demanding that I remove my coat RIGHT NOW.  I thought to myself, 'who am I to argue' and also thought 'even if I might die because the higher power knew best'.  I thought that if I removed my coat and put the seatbelt back on fast enough, I might be okay. So, bracing my feet, I quickly unbuckled my seatbelt. Almost at that moment "wham," the car bucked forward like it was going down a steep a hill and then it came slamming back down.

What had happened was another student behind us was driving on bald tires and she couldn't stop. I glanced to my left and saw that my companion was sitting 2-3" lower in his bucket seat.

"What happened to your seat?" I exclaimed.

He set me straight. "It's not my seat -- it's your seat; it broke loose."

When I checked I saw that he was right, it was my seat that was higher.  In that car the seatbelts were bolted to the floor entirely separate from the bucket seats and my bucket seat had broken away. From what I could see I would have been squished by my seatbelt (which was still securely fastened to the floor) had I kept it buckled.

Two things occur to me about that incident. 1)  that I'd had a safety window of 30 seconds only, too early or too late and I would have had the seatbelt on; and 2) although subconsciously I could have been aware of the student about to crash into us, it went against logic and instinct to "undo" the seatbelt. While I didn't hear an inner voice, or anybody else's voice for that matter, it had felt like outside intervention--