The short explanation is that people in Arkansas, me included, have no idea how to drive on ice. I still feel like crud so I'll start by just giving you with what I wrote to a friend last night so that he wouldn't worry when I failed to call to let him know I'd made it home. It's full of irrelevant details, and I don't promise much in the way of coherence.
So, first of all, I am fine. However, I am decidedly not in [Delta town where I teach]. The first car wreck of the day involved spinning out of control and sliding backwards down an embankment for what seemed like forever, and then realizing in amazement that I was able to get out and climb up the embankment, where I was greeted by kindly alpaca farmers who kept me warm until the state police arrived. The state police turned out to be my parents' neighbor. He kept me in his car until my father arrived, then told us to go park by the side of the interstate with hazard lights on while we waited for a tow truck to arrive. After said police officer drove off, my father got out and started climbing down embankment to see what had become of my car. Then a 28 year old Vietnamese chemist named Jasmine slid off the road at pretty much the same spot I had, only this time my father's car with me in it was there for her to collide with on her way down. That time my neck hurt like hell, my leg hurt somewhat, and I had no glasses and was missing my right shoe. My father confirmed that I was conscious, told me to stay where I was, and went down to check on the other people. I lay there in the dark and got snowed on for a bit. Eventually the fire department showed up, then one of my dad's old EMT instructors, They backboarded me and got me out of the car and into an ambulance where I rode beside the very distraught and apologetic Jasmine whom I could not see because we were both strapped down, though I did hold her hand for a while as my dad and the paramedic tried to calm her. We got to the hospital, I eventually had various X-rays and was deemed ok to go home. So I'm home, feeling utterly lousy but basically ok, and am hoping the muscle relaxers and pain meds kick in shortly.
My father's car was apparently totaled. They finally located my car in the past hour or so and will be towing it out and bringing it to my parents' house. The police officer said it might be drivable once they get it out, but I suspect I have repair bills ahead of me.
Since there were many wrecks last night, the police didn't arrive before they had taken us in the ambulance so there isn't any police report on the second wreck at all, and we have to figure out how to get a hold of Jasmine. My mother is deeply annoyed that we didn't exchange information, but it wasn't the something that occurred to me at the time as my primary concerns were whether Jasmine was badly hurt since she sounded a great deal worse off than I was, how to get her to stop worrying about me, and my throbbing neck. I'd just been in two car wrecks and was in a crowded ambulance with sirens blaring; I sort of assumed that someone else would take care of that sort of thing. I know her last name, her university and year of graduation, the city in which she was visiting family for Thanksgiving, what sort of company she works for and the city in which it is located, how old she was when she emigrated, what make of car she drives, and the name of her cousin who works as a nurse at the hospital to which we were transported because all of those things came up in conversation during the long ride to the hospital, but none of that is adequate for the bureaucratic hassles my mother is dealing with today, and I'm not in any mood to get griped at about how my father and I screwed up by not getting phone numbers. So now I'm fighting with my mom, hurting, loopy from the muscle relaxers, and basically want to go cry.