Maybe you'll be driving down a familar road one day and the light will be red, but you will behave as if the light is green, and afterwards, you will wonder, how was it possible for me to do that? After all of these years of driving, after all of the red lights and green lights that I have perceived and responded to correctly, why did I do that? And, if you do, maybe someone will be driving along the cross street, and you'll slam right into that car. Before you have any time to think about what is happening or even to feel afraid of what is about to happen, the airbag will be already deflated, and the car will be filled with the burning smell of the controlled explosion that deployed it.
What will your next thought be? I'm okay. I've been slammed in the face with the airbag, but I'm okay. Are you okay? -- you say to your passenger, and she's okay. Her leg hurts. And my leg hurts a little too. We're right on University Avenue in front of Borders, and there are people everywhere, coming over to help us, calling the police, telling me that the other driver is okay (thank God). You assume the car is totaled, even though you can't see what it looks like in front. You worry about your insurance. You start to think about the practicalities of replacing a car and getting to work tomorrow.
You think about how you're going to blog about this very soon.
The other driver turns out to be a nice young man, and I apologize to him and tell him it was entirely my fault, which it was. Tonya is sitting on the sidewalk looking dazed and waiting for the ambulance. The police are very nice to me, and I apologize to them. Fifteen minutes are spent writing down various reports, writing me out a $77 ticket. I'm told the ticket would be $50 more on the eastbound side of University Avenue, because that's Madison. This side of the street is Shorewood Hills. The police officer invites me to sit in the police car where it's warm, and I do, even though I don't like the idea of sitting in the back of a police car where everyone can see me and imagine I've been arrested and wonder what crime I must have committed. Hey, look! It's Professor Althouse! She's been arrested!
UPDATE: This dialogue just took place:
Ooh, Chris, look! It's a big bump… Should I take a picture of it and put it on my blog?
It would be better if it was more colorful.
Chris and I decide to watch a movie, and I say let's watch a nice comedy. I go over to the shelves to pick something out, and I suddenly remember the last thing I said before the crash: "Did you ever see that episode of Larry David..." Imagine if I'd died! My last words would have been "Larry David."