Not sure whether my experience is quite right for this site (no poetry intended) but in the strict sense of the word it was something other than normal that did not fit into my comfortable skeptic world.
I grew up next to Manly Beach in Sydney (Australia), so it was no surprise to my parents that surfing became my passion. In the surfing brotherhood our 'rite of passage' was the surfing safari road trip north, from Sydney to the Gold Coast. The 800km drive along the infamous Pacific Highway would be broken up into stages, to visit famous surf spots up the coast and (I suspect) to stay mentally fresh when negotiating notorious accident 'black spots' along the way. These 'black spots' are places where a high number of fatal car crashes have occurred.
My turn to drive on this highway came in the summer of 1983, when a friend's father donated his company's Ford Van for our northern surfing safari (I'll refer to my friend as Gidget). It was a cautious trip north, keeping an eye on some big trucks as they overtook us but the days passed without incident (apart from sun burn). Likewise, our stay at the Gold Coast was pleasant and relaxing but I soon realised that four days was not long enough to totally unwind.
I remember mentally planning out the return journey (where would we stop, how long would it take, etc.) and feeling a sense of unease, which I put down to realising the holiday was nearly over.
On the first night of our journey home I had a vivid dream of driving behind a huge dump truck and watching bits of rock fall out the back of the truck and bounce down the road towards our van. Everything seemed to slow down. I glanced left and right to see if we could dodge these rocks but to no avail - time and room to maneuver were not on my side. One of the rocks bounced high and seemed to get bigger and bigger. I cried out and woke up physically trembling.
In the cold light of day, I thought the dream was a little bit cliché (time slowing down, not being able to move out of the way, etc.) and my skeptical nature started to take over. 'That's ok, you're not looking forward to going home' I told myself.
Two mornings later, we were approaching the town of Coffs Harbour (home of the big banana). We passed a highway construction zone and a huge dump truck pulled out in front of us. My danger meter went off the scale; I remembered the bouncing rock and promptly slowed down to get as much distance between us as possible. Of course nothing happened so I followed the truck at a safe distance and started to relax.
The road narrowed and went through a cutting (steep banks and deep drains on both sides) the truck went over a bump in the road causing a few rocks to tumble out of the back. The world seemed to slow down but I could still think clearly and act calmly. Everything fell into place, I told Gidget to drop her head and cover her face NOW, I would have to take the rock head on (moving the van left or right would end in disaster), I slowed down a little and took the rock right in the middle of the windscreen. The windscreen broke, showering us with glass but the rock went between us leaving me able to continue driving until we could find somewhere to pull over safely.
Ironically, we stopped in a truck rest area and a truckie wandered over with a dustpan and brush. 'Gidday - animal or rock?" he enquired, looking at what was left of the windscreen. 'A rock bounced off the back of a truck' I responded. He looked at me and smiled, stating 'You were lucky, if it had been a big roo (kangaroo), you'd both be dead. You can keep the dustpan and brush. See ya.' This was typical Aussie bush logic - expect the worst and anything less than that is a good thing.
While we were cleaning out the glass from the van, Gidget commented on how cool I had reacted in the moment. I shrugged as I didn't want to further spook her by admitting I had some paranormal help. Also I now had an image of 'cool' to uphold - after all this was my right of passage.
The 'cool' only lasted until I got home and told my mum what happened. 'It was probably your father looking out for you' she said sagely. I suddenly had a vision of dad looking down at me with a typical frown of his face growling 'Ya bloody idiot'. Dad fought on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea during World War 2. The only thing that he told me of this time was that you had to be tough to survive. Thus getting called an 'idiot' and getting a 'clip over the ear' was his way of showing affection to us boys.
I laughed and in a quiet moment I thanked dad.