Red Reflections

Background: silhouette of a wind turbine,

  • Water-colour silhouette of a Nordex N100, photographic reference.
  • Created 23rd May 2016, 21:51 CET at Eindhoven Airport.
  • Date of turbine erection: May 2016.
  • Location: A58, Oirschot.

Satellite view: the above turbine whilst still under construction.

  • Location: A58, Oirschot
  • Approximate date: April 2016

Lucky to be Alive

4th November 2016– We walked away from a 110km/h total-write off accident a few hours earlier. The driver of the red car that hit us from behind causing us to spin out of control & ram into the barrier belonged to an off-duty HGV truck driver. The driver of the red shunter came to us to see if we were alright, he stank of strooooooong cologne, bit weird.

Bear in mind I had only just recovered from having had a sincere goodbye moment with my loved one, I had wrapped my wife in all the love I had for her to prepare us for what – at this speed – seemed like an inevitability fatal crash. Coasting along past the usual friendly and familiar turbines on the A58, next thing we felt was the jolt of being suddenly shunted and spun out of control – possibly to our deaths. Was my reaction strange? No. It’s instinct when you love someone this much. I had my instinct tested for the first time ever and I know now that I DAMN WELL GOT IT RIGHT.

Having just smashed into the barrier, skidding along sideways, we were lucky not to have flipped and rolled- the wet road prevented that from happening.

The off-duty truck driver was a local Dutch guy, he was very apologetic – he right there and then admitted full responsibility without any hesitation. After a few minutes of losing my shit, (I was still high as fuck btw, a natural thing which happens after being highly creative – it makes me hyper hyper focused – now mostly on all the detailed things). I needed to call my mom as I had nobody to talk to and my mind was now racing. I needed to offload information about what had occurred, but it was a struggle – the call kept getting dropped, I remember she cried.

To stay focused, after failing to see my mom on video I realised I needed to record an off-site archive of the experience, so I began a Periscope broadcast. This helped me take in the situation and come down out of shock after the accident. I only had a 16GB iPhone 5 at the time, hence streaming so no “storage full” bullshit.

I launched Periscope and began to broadcast the scene while Ilona called and dealt the police after helping me get my wheeled walking frame from the wreaked car, frustratingly the boot would not open due to the impact. I still hurt badly and struggled to walk due to the incident the previous week. Eventually, we got ourselves both safely over the roadside crash safety barrier which is when I couldn’t hold on any longer and totally broke down in shock.

The following video may be upsetting to some viewers, it’s not graphic but it is candid & emotional.

Being as I can barely communicate in Dutch when stressed, Ilona was taking care of the police which is when I noticed exactly where we were, don’t tell me the odds. Wow.

The turbine. My turbine. Right there. The red eyes of the turbine unblinking, arms flailing in the night, staring right at us from its monolithic tower. The three brothers further down the absolutely straight piece of road seemingly minding their own business, but this one – the last one in the row in the video below, was eerily “watching us”. This video was shot a few weeks after the accident, but I have made other recordings before for various productions on Vimeo: please note, I will reiterate this again- I am not the driver.

I showed the police the print stuck to the Yaris’s rear body-panel and backpack and pointed at the turbine flailing its blades slowly & surely just down the road from where we were – “it’s that exact one just after it was erected this year”, I explained, pointing at the printed design on the stickers. The police officer (one male, named Tim, one female I can’t recall her name, first responders) were quite taken aback by that revelation. Bit of a coincidence, right?

Photos of the car taken by Ilona the following week when we went to empty the car of our belongings.

It is very possible that due to this distraction, the police officers forgot to perform the law-mandated roadside breathalyser test on the truck driver. I have a huge hunch that if they had done so and found the alcohol he was trying to mask with the smell of very fresh cologne may have lead to an arrest, potentially losing his career license. I’m glad that didn’t happen, for his sake.

My backpack after I updated the motif (bottom, pictured above).

After the accident I redesigned my motif, and placed it over the top of the one that was present during the accident.

Pictured below is the triple turbine motif. Coloured by the streetlights of the A58 highway.

What lead to the collision? He said “a wet patch” sure, the road was wet, and very quiet, about 23:30 CET, we were returning home from the airport where I had also previously done the competition winning NASA Juno artwork (pictured below, after getting a wonderful swag packet for winning).

Leaving a keepsake thank you

I had a rolled up copy of a misprinted tester Juno poster in the back of the trashed car. I left it, signed with thank yous- to the staff at the rescue depot for looking after us after the accident. I don’t know if they found it, discreetly propped up in their office in a poster tube, but this is what it looked like:

When I got home, I tore this one down from my wall and ripped it into bits and threw it away.

Ongoing difficulties

I have PTSD from this, going out on the highway at night is now is nearly always a guarantee for a bad time- I am naturally sensitive, a hyper vigilant, and this on top makes it an extremely stressful experience. I have revisited the scene since (day and night time) but I still get traumatic flashbacks, anxious & disturbed feelings, seeing the turbine that I paradoxically had stuck on our Toyota Yaris car, as well as my studio backpack (see image)- was it watching over us, was it what distracted the driver of the red car that ultimately rammed us off the road.

People can be so mean.

I am NOT afraid of my own mortality, a week earlier I wasn’t in a good place – my second suicidal episode happened after I jumped from our moving car when I “saw red” due to the deliberate maliciousness of a man that intimidated us (massive disrespect towards my wife) relentlessly on the road, and having no recourse, I snapped (if I had been driver i’d probably have stopped and lost my temper so badly that I might have endangered the perpetrator’s life, this is one reason why I don’t have a drivers license, I have no coping mechanism for seeing someone risk my wife’s life like that).

We ended up in hospital by ambulance- police attended to that “accident” as I had jumped from the car after the driver had turned off after being aggressive towards us (for no reason) as a consequence I cracked my spine & head in, the doctor on duty glued my scalp back together. I was lucky, but I couldn’t walk properly due to the heavy bruising. I still have the torn up jacket that got ripped and scuffed when I hit the tarmac at about 50km/h, I did not expect my head to hit so hard nor that feeling of a leaky cold spot trickling blood. I felt stupid, immediately. I felt like I had been possessed to do this act of self harm, and I can tell you, I didn’t fucking consent to it either.

A week later, I had the worst fear of god struck into me for the first time in my life. Leaving her, my love, here alone, all by herself- without me. I wouldn’t be able to cope if I suddenly lost her, so this perspective shift was feeling the earth moving and the shrill scream of terror that entails when you feel it. A wake up that I will never forget. I’d been saved & spared three times by this point. A previous suicide attempt rendered me in hospital for 2 months in 2012 after a drug overdose triggered by being burnt out by work, fucked over by what we’re supposed to be close friends that I’d spent my life helping them out, only for the, to take everything I had built and leave me high and dry. Theft & mutiny, to the point of giving up.

This third incident left me with the sorest lesson I’d ever come to learn: Don’t be so stupid – ever again, you selfish idiot!

Despite the intense pain and turmoil I have on a daily basis, nothing compares to the pain I felt when I crossed over and came back with the perspectives gained from almost inflicting the worst injury to the love of my life. Karma.

Next year is our 20th year together. We are a rare couple- co-dependant as a consequence of the life choices I made in order to escape the multitude of emotional and sexual abuse in England.

This is just part of our story, but I needed to write it down and illustrate how paradox of coincidence always seems to crop up in our lives to bring home deep and meaningful lessons about what our destiny together is going to look like.

We are here to help heal.

With love, real, unadulterated true, powerful, unbreakable love.

Red & Ilona-Ruby Tuby.

She is the wind in my blades, I create because of her, my salvation, my love.

If you have been, thank you for reading.