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It Was An Accident

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Everybody knows that when you get into a car accident, everything goes in slow motion. Time suddenly slows to Matrix speed. Every detail normally blurred and insignificant, is now in HD detail, and crystal clear like wine glasses washed in Cascade.

That's nothing new.

But what everyone might not know is that afterwards, you have to talk to a lot of people. A shower of people that appear like worms out of the muddy ground after a full night’s rain.

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First of all there’s the innocent bystanders. They come up to you and say things like, “Are you all right?” and “Who else was in the car with you?” and “Don’t worry, I called 9-1-1.” In this preliminary stage, where you are still trying to process what just occurred, reality has not fully set in. Yes, you see the car you just t-boned….and yes, it’s on it’s side, and yes, you are covered in broken glass, but most of you is saying to yourself, “Um, can’t we just exchange information, back the truck up, and get to our softball game?”

It’s only when the tall dude, with the professional haircut and the white pants leaps onto the hood of your truck in order to see if the driver of the van you plowed into is okay…and the sound of sirens in the distance, that you realize, that maybe this shit is a bit more serious than an insignificant fender fuck.

You stand back and watch people buzz around the wreckage like bees. The next person who talks to you is the dude that did the plowing into you who seems equally befuddled with the whole situation and simultaneously you ask are you all right and the answer, "I think so." is the same. He looks at the broken metal and shattered glass and with a tone of disbelief in his voice asks, "Was this my fault?" And you don't answer, because you're pretty sure it is. And you notice your hands won't stop shaking.

Then the fire trucks show up. One, two, three, wow, four, shit, five. We're going to be late for the game crosses my mind. The firemen are the next people that you talk to.

"Are you the people from the truck?", "Who was in the truck?", "Are you okay?", "Come sit over here."

But you don't want to sit. You want to pace. They are jumping on the hood of your truck. I want to ask them to not do that because they're denting it. It's completely smashed, and they're only trying to get to the van driver who is trapped inside and I'm mentally asking them to please not walk on the hood of my truck. How can I sit? But I sit.

Now they're stabilizing the sideways, upturned van with ropes and telling us to move from where they just told us to sit. I look for a new spot and there is not much to choose from because the sidewalks are now flooded with people that weren't there before. They're taking pictures with their cell phones. My knee hurts and that's when I see they have the jaws of life out. I feel sick.

The next people that talk to you are the police. They ask what car you were in and who else was in the car with you. They start taking information, but then a fireman comes over and asks if we would like to be examined. We look down at ourselves and kind of don't believe we are completely...seemingly...fine. "My knee hurts..." and I lift my shorts up a little. It's scraped. No blood. 24 hours later it will be sore and bruised. "So you are refusing to be examined?" he asks. It sounds like a threat. He has a form and a pen poised, and we say, "No, go ahead...examine us." even though we feel fine. I wonder about the trapped van driver and the jaws of life and is he free yet.

They take us to one of the five fire trucks and sit us down on the back of it. The police lady has disappeared, and now we are talking to medical type people. They ask lots of questions, but primarily our names, addresses, birthdates, and if we have any medical conditions. They take our pulse and whatnot and the numbers don't mean anything to me, but they are apparently good enough to let us go.

Then the police are back and we are asked..again...what car we were in...and who was in the car with us...and I'm getting very good at answering this question...and so I do...again. That's when I see the stretcher go by with whom I assume is the van driver on it. Strapped in on a back board and into the gaping maw of a waiting ambulance. I hear murmurs of "He's okay...he'll be fine...just going to have him checked out" and I hope what they're saying is true.

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The cops then start asking you what happened and that's when I start feeling suddenly guilty of something. It might've been the way they separated us to do it. I've seen this on Cops. Separate them, see if their stories match, who's telling the truth here. I get it. So, I simply stick to the truth. It was a case of everyone trying to catch the yellow, I say. We're going straight, the dude in the Beemer, is coming towards us and wants to make a left in front of us, maybe he didn't see us, but he hits us, and we have no where to go but into the van who is waiting on the right to make a right turn. We hit him. He goes over. The end. I wonder what everyone else is saying. What did the BMW guy say? What DID happen? Is this seriously happening? Lots of questions.

The next people you talk to are the news people. Well, there's just one of them. He's been taking photos the whole time and now he wants to know if you'll do a brief on camera interview and I'm like, are you serious? And he is. And I say, I can't even formulate a concise thought, let alone a sentence, and no, sorry, I can't. and he moves on to the BMW guy.

Then you talk to the triple A guy who wants to know if you need a tow and you look at your smashed truck that seems pretty intact from the right side, but pretty fucked up from the left...not to mention it's still holding up the sideways van, and you say, I guess so and he starts working with the firemen to free it from underneath the sideways van.

Then you somehow end up being cornered by the bystanders. The looky-lous, who all want to know what happened and it's really something you're tired of talking about even though you've probably only been talking about it for 15-20 minutes. So, you move away from the roped off area and back towards the safety of the strewn metal and broken glass and flashing red and blue lights, like it's an aura of protection.

You are definitely going to be late for the game at this point, as you pull away in the cigarette smelling cab of a tow truck next to a 3 years sober recovering alcoholic tow truck driver named David who is odd in a borderline scary way. Who wants to talk despite that you do not, but informs you how lucky we were because in his 18 years as a tow truck driver, he's seen things you don't want to ever see in your lifetime, in accidents less serious than this one and I guess he's saying this to try and make us feel good, but all we feel is not good.

This is the last person to talk to you after the accident. I figure, that in the span of an hour, we'd talked to at least 12-15 people. So, I just wanted you to you can be prepared. Because you already know the accident part....the part where movie-like pounding crashes happen, and the 'seeing the side of the car get closer and closer to the front of yours' and the part where you smash into the other car like you are a tank and they are a wall and glass shatters and falls over everything like rain...goes all in slow to be expected. But you might not've been prepared for all the talking you'll have to partake in afterwards.

Because it's a lot.

And mostly you'll not want to talk. You'll want to press the reverse button on your time machine just long enough to bring the van right side up, mend the shattered glass, and take everything back to the point just before the light went yellow. That's where you'd slow down to a comfortable stop, the Beemer would make his routine left, and the van driver would make his easy right, and you'd be early to the softball game instead of an hour and a half late.

But you can't.

Because time machines don't exist, stupid.

photo via Word Freak