On December 26th, 2010, I wrecked my adorable yellow Volkswagen Beetle. I was driving into town from my home in the country and came upon black ice, losing all control of my car. I spun sideways, tried to correct my path, overcorrected, and finally shut my eyes tightly as my car spun toward a telephone pole. Although I ended up missing the pole, my car flipped off the raised roadway and landed right side up in a field. I was lucky to walk away with only a nasty bite on my tongue and a compressed vertebra.
My car accident happened in the middle of an unusually warm winter day. There were no pockets of snow on the road, but some had blown onto the asphalt from the cornfields, compacted, and reformed into a treacherous, nearly invisible sheet of glass. My car didn’t make it out of the wreck, but my tongue healed and a rehabilitating brace helped to correct my back. A few weeks later. I replaced the totaled Beetle with a new SUV, and all seemed right in the world.
Unfortunately, all was not right in my brain. When riding with other drivers (which I did often those first few months after the wreck) I would grasp the door or ceiling handle until my knuckles went white and numb. When it was my turn behind the wheel, I barely touched the speed limit. If it rained or snowed, I cancelled my plans. If the weather became wet while I was on the road, every alarm in my body sounded off, and I was a ball of anxiety until I arrived at my destination. (Driving to and from college was a nightmare.)
During a particularly frightening drive back to school, I found that music calmed the beast in my brain. Not just any music, though: Dave Matthews Band. After that trip, when it would start to sprinkle or flurry, all I had to do was slip Under the Table and Dreaming into the CD player and my shoulders would relax. The calming voice of Dave, the jazzy drumming by Carter, and the cool saxophone chords from LeRoi put my entire being at ease and brought me more comfort than all the meditation in the world.
Recently, I’ve developed flight anxiety. I get nervous going up in the air and require a distraction from the flight itself. Again, I find that Dave Matthews and his talented band slow my heart rate and lower my blood pressure while I hover thousands of feet above the ground. And while I doubt I’ll ever be able to shake Dave’s hand and thank him personally, I’m a lifelong fan of Dave Matthews Band. I’ll never turn down a summer concert with him on the stage. To me, comfort comes in the form of ants marching and a satellite strung from the moon.