Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I almost killed someone last Tuesday

Last Tuesday, September 18, was the day of the Big Rain. I was tearing home at night on Route 66, humping along at 75 miles per hour and passing car after pussy-ass car: everyone else was crawling fearfully through the wetness at a puny 60 mph. I hydroplaned for a brief moment on one of the straightaways; that woke me up. But a greater scare was headed my way: as I topped a rise on the freeway, I saw a parked car on the right shoulder of the road, its hazard lights blinking mutely. And up ahead, in front of me, barely visible through the ground-level mist and the thick curtain of rain, I saw a shadowy form that seemed to be crossing the road.

Whafuck? was my first thought. My brain was slow to connect the parked car with the shadowy form, so I didn't immediately realize I was looking at a fellow human. I did, however, retain enough presence of mind to let go of the accelerator, so I began to slow down a bit as I approached the phantom shape. When the figure resolved itself, I saw that it was a dude in shorts running desperately across the freeway-- for what reason, I had no idea. He had parked his car on the right shoulder and seemed intent on finding something over on the left shoulder. This made no damn sense to me at all, and as I passed him I bellowed, "You stupid motherfucker!" --as much out of fear as out of fury.

I don't want to over-dramatize this incident, but it really was a close call: had I not released the gas pedal, there's a good chance I would have plowed into the guy. Had I jammed on my brakes in the torrential rain, there's a good chance that that maneuver would have ended in disaster as well. The physical margin for this near-collision was only a couple feet; the time margin must have been no more than a quarter of a second.

I almost killed a dude in shorts last Tuesday. The moment of near-impact was amazing. I relived it several times during the last twenty minutes of my drive home, asking myself over and over why the hell that asshole felt he had to cross a busy freeway at night, in the rain.



Charles said...

Some peeps be stupid.

John said...

It's that age-old and unanswered question--why did the pedestrian cross the road? From your description, he certainly wasn't (ahem) chicken.

Elisson said...

Some people simply have a death wish... or, more likely, they believe in the myth of the Omniscient and All-Powerful Driver, whose sage actions on the freeway will always protect them and guard them from bodily harm.

People will abstain from all sorts of behaviors because of the perceived risks, yet they will do extremely dangerous and stupid things because they have no idea of the laws of physics. Think "takes his vitamins and eats raw veggies, but never wears his seat belt." Oy.