Monday, July 27, 2009

Collision Theory

"Any crash you can walk away from is a good crash." This quote is perhaps most readily associated with Launchpad McQuack, aviator extraordinaire from the World of Disney Ducks. It was this motto that went through my mind as I viewed the photos my older brother sent me of his most recent automobile accident. It also made me think of the words of wisdom my younger brother offered to me as I drove with him through the streets of Los Angeles: "Avoid Impact." While both of these sentiments are both tried and true, it tends to negate the inevitability of someone or something running into you sooner or later.
This past Saturday morning, my wife and I were walking up the street with our son just ahead of us on his bike. We heard the roar of an engine and squealing tires, and the two of us held our breath and looked ahead to see that our child was safe. Imagine our relief when we saw him carefully crossing the street a block or so ahead of us, and how quickly that relief vanished as we saw a big white van stop short to allow him to reach the other curb. There he was, safe again on the sidewalk, but we weren't going to simply leave it at that? Did he even see the van? Why didn't he use a crosswalk? What was he thinking?
Well, chances are he wasn't thinking about collision. That's one of those things that you don't spend a lot of time pondering until it happens to you. It's the aftermath that gives you plenty of time to consider the forces and the myriad of possible outcomes. I've been hit by a car twice in my life. I have been a part of a great many car wrecks. Some of them were fender-benders. Some of them were my worse. Some of them were my fault. Some of them weren't. I suppose you could say that in my twenties I was most comfortable driving by Braille.
That seems like a long time ago. I don't feel nearly as indestructible as I did back then. Cars are much less disposable to me than they used to be. That "safe-driver discount" is something I work hard to maintain. But that doesn't keep strangers with less attention or luck from piling into me, or the people I care about. I'm very glad that my brother and sister-in-law walked away from their crash. It was a good one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was in this van when it lost its brakes and did this.