Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In the Blink of an Eye ...

It's utterly amazing how the events of a single moment in time can have repercussions that resonate far beyond.

Pythagorus was in a car accident yesterday (don't worry, he's okay). He was taking his car to the mechanic during his lunch break (I swear this is true) and he was stopped at a traffic light when a woman in the car behind him evidently didn't notice that the light was red and slammed into him going pretty fast. His car knocked into a curb then ricocheted into oncoming traffic (which fortunately managed not to hit him).

He called 911 and was told that they didn't have anyone available to send to the scene of the accident. Pythagorus pointed out that he could see a police officer sitting in his cruiser right in the parking lot of the pharmacy this happened right in front of. He was informed that "that officer is on speeding duty ... but I can try to find someone if you think it's really necessary." Yeah, surreal.

Anyway, it was clearly the other driver's fault, she had car insurance (believe it or not, this is often a problem with automobile accidents in New Hampshire--our state motto isn't "Live free or die" for nothing), and honestly the VW could use an overhaul (or a replacement, if it's considered totaled). Also, we have a PT Cruiser rental car for the duration, so that's a little bit of fun.

Pythagorus was a bit shaken up yesterday, but he didn't seem to be hurt (I suggested he go to the doctor anyway just to be safe, but I'm evidently not that smart). He woke up this morning with his neck so sore he could barely turn his head. Like a lot of men (overly generalized, I know, but it's still true based on my experience), Pythagorus is kind of a baby when he's sick and/or injured. When I have a cold, for example, I manage to make it through a day of work without the benefit of orange juice and chicken soup : ). In his defense, though, the doctor said it was a pretty bad case of whiplash, and they did a bunch of x-rays just in case (everything looked fine) and gave him muscle relaxants and vicodin and the usual happy drugs they give to people in pain (the down side of all this at the moment is that he has fallen quite deeply asleep diagonally, so I think I'll be couching it or sleeping on the floor tonight).

What I can't stop thinking about, though, is how much worse it could have been. Nobody plans to be in a car accident, but in the blink of an eye, there you are. One minute you're driving along in the safety of your car (because I further realized that I tend to think of cars as safe zones--I think this is connected to my fear of thunderstorms ...) and the next, your car is no longer drivable. One split second, when you take your eye off the road because you're reading a text message or you dropped your cell phone under the brake (I manage to do this more than you might imagine possible) or the ketchup in your cheeseburger drips onto your pants or you're rummaging in the glove compartment for a tissue, or ... well, you get the idea.

It's scary to think of the potential of "in the blink of an eye" moments. Pythagorus was very lucky ... but a lot of people aren't.