January 23, 2005

I just wrecked my car!

Well, dear readers, I am still among the living, thank God, but my car is gone, probably forever!

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."


Unknown said...

Ugh! Good narrative. Sorry you had to go through that.

Many years ago when I was only about 20 years old, I did the exact same thing -- absent-mindedly drove right through a red light. It was the weirdest thing.

I didn't realize what I'd done until I looked to my left, in the middle of the intersection, and saw a very close oncoming car heading directly for my driver's side door, and the absolutely stunned looks on the faces of the two people in the front seat, their mouths literally hanging open in shock. They slammed on the brakes and didn't hit me. I made it through the intersection in one piece.

Thank God.

I'm glad it's all behind you, now! The trauma fades with time, thank goodness.

Pita said...

Just last night I was in a wreck. My car was hit from the side (T-bone) by a driver that fell asleep on the wheel. He ran a red light and hit me and my small children at approx. 30-35mph. His car is totaled and mine is in quesitoned. The concern is why didn't my airbags deploy with that such impact of velocity? My car is equipped with front and side airbags and neither deployed. Now, I'm in neck brace and force to stay off my P.O. job for at least two weeks. What if my car is totaled and I'm upside down on my car (financially) any advise?