In the morning I’m driving out of town to see two of my friends. Trail run is on the agenda. So is dinner and a movie. Suddenly, I see a flash of black in front of me, and a small compact car spins, and then very purposefully flies off the road and into the ditch. For a moment, I almost wonder if that was on purpose. In the next moment, I pull over, get out and start running along the edge of the road towards the smoking vehicle. A person is walking towards me. Then, again, maybe walking is an overstatement, because the whole thing is bearing an eerie resemblance to a scene from a zombie movie. His face is covered in dirt and blood and he wobbles side to side, dazed. “Are you ok?”, I yell. No response. He looks up. “Is there anybody else in the car?”. He shakes his head. “What happened?”, I ask. “I just slid off”, he responds, surprised.
Another car stops. A middle aged woman with a kind face is calling the police. My “zombie” introduces himself as Scott. I dial his mother, then his girlfriend, as he dictates their numbers from memory. “Great sign”, I think to myself. He can’t be older than 20. I find out that he goes to university in the same town I was heading towards.
Looking around, we survey the damage. Both air bags are out, and the body of the car is heavily damaged. All the windows are missing. The view is disturbing by all accounts. But it’s not the car that shakes me the most. It’s the pork chops. With the force of the impact, the few groceries Scott was carrying flew through the window. Now the ground is littered with juice boxes, and potato chips. White athletic socks are still in their packaging. Pork chops are lying on the snow, covered in broken glass. They look grotesque. Out of place.
The ambulance arrives within three minutes of the phone call. Say what you want about the Canadian health care, but in case of medical emergency, this is a good country to be in. Scott will be checked by the paramedics, and then get a ride home with the tow truck. After a brief conversation with a police officer, I leave Scott my cell phone number (just in case), and take off.
I am a little shaken, and drive extra carefully. “Maybe I should take my car to the garage tomorrow. To have it checked out. (Just in case).”, I think to myself. The rest of the day is significantly less eventful.
Now if you are feeling a little shaken, I found that the following things help immensely:
bellowing songs from when you were 14 on the drive home… on the top of your lungs
It’s been a long day. When I finally get home, it’s almost midnight. My phone rings. It’s the concierge from my building. “Ma’am,” he reports, “one of the residents brought a wallet to the front desk. I think it’s yours.” I must have dropped it in the garage, taking out my gym bag. “Check that everything is still there”, he says, as I pick up the wallet two minutes later. Everything is, indeed, still there.