Monday, March 17, 2014

Crash into me, Ms. M.

Crash Provocateur - Tyler Shields Photography

Ok, I'll crash into you... But only since you asked nicely! Behave or I'm certain to change my mind! So... Ever get into a fender bender? I hit a curb today! Oh no! No worries! Well never fear it's not the end of the world... unless you go around trying to hit people! Here's an old story about someone who likes to cause a motor crash or two... hope it's not you! 

Enjoy! Kisses, m.



Weaving and gliding through the tightly packed patterns of traffic I find a path. The sun radiates on my skin. Warmly I take in the day on my bike ride. Sounds that emanate from the wheels of my bike are a soothing comfort to my ears. This afternoon could not prompt a better opportunity to entertain the wild thoughts that run rampant in my mind. Upon great lengths catastrophe should be avoided at all costs. At least that’s how most people feel about things. Well that’s what they’ll say anyhow.

Two lane black asphalt. Five car pile up. Smoky black cloud engulfs the air as the third car in the mess continues to burn. At minimum there are at least eight casualties among the wreckage. None of which are fatalities. Death isn’t what one hopes for in these situations. Often in the aftermath of a collision you will find a dead man buried deep within the twisted metal debris. Among those surviving are a couple of children watching the firemen scramble to clear the wounded and trapped within the pile. Quietly I remain in the midst of the spectators, invisible to the view, enjoying and taking in the beauty of this devastation that rests before me. My mind transfixed by its magnificence.

“What was going through your mind before you almost died?” This is the question they always ask. Immediately after the accident, before the scene is cleared away. Right after the cameras have begun to record every last square inch detail in full color for the evening news. Yes that’s what they ask each and every time. “Such a lucky girl to have escaped with your life! Especially on a bicycle.” I am a lucky girl. Except escaping with my life isn’t so much of a coincidence. It’s more like challenging death to a staring contest to see who will win. Poor innocent people. Oh please. Every time you get in the car you take a chance. Sit behind the wheel and gamble with the high stakes of mortality.

Nine times out of ten there’s a drunk driver to blame for the accident knowing full well the score of the situation. The drunks aren’t hard to spot actually. The sway of the intoxicated vehicle as it dances in and out of the double lines. Carefully the speed increases and immediately cuts short with the slam on the brakes. Really doesn’t take much to distract a drunk. Sound of a car horn. Small animal darting across the road. Person on a bicycle. Darting in and out of the traffic while gaining momentum. Slowly building a frenzied state of panic until it’s time.

Most people don’t watch the pedestrians or bicyclists on the side of the road. Two tons of steel wrapped around a flimsy bag of bones in under ten seconds. Drunks aren’t the only ones not paying attention. Imagine how coherent the person on the phone is? The mom yelling at a car full of screaming kids. Teenage girls gossiping with each other. None of those eyes are on the road. While the other one of ten percent is slim, it is out there and just as easy to blame for the accidents. Opportunity knocks and if you aren’t listening you will miss your chance.

Stop. Skid. Wait. Make eye contact. Watch the state of horror wash over the face of a person right before it happens. The world comes crashing down in front of my eyes. Speechless. I can’t help but admire the grandness of this moment. Metal snapping and bending with no more effort than a tin can smashing against the ground. Thousands of tiny shards of glass cross the pavement like miniscule pieces of shattered ice. Red glistening as it reflects off of shiny remnants of chrome. Noises within the newly born metal beast reach deafening levels. Release Pain. Alive. Relief. Cries. Revelation. Joy for life. An emotional melting pot among the survivors. Truth be told, you aren’t living until you’ve faced death. Makes you appreciate the simplicity of life. How truly delicate the human life is, as it hangs in the balance each and every day.

Larger the wreckage the larger the crowd that attracts to it. Spectators watching the rescues and wondering what happened. Thinking ‘that could have been me.’ Five minutes earlier down the highway and ‘that could’ve been me.’ Some calling their loved ones out of fear to share that last bit of mortality in case, you-never-know-what actually happens next. While others snap miscellaneous photos to send and document the event that they witnessed first-hand; the man being dragged out of the flipped car, the pregnant woman walking away unscathed from a crumpled tin can, and the children eating ice cream on the side of the road while the firemen put out the burning car sandwiched in between it all. This is where I find myself slipping away from the scene, amidst a sea of spectators wondering silently how this accident could have been more destructive than the previous.

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