“Accidents only exist in our heads, in our limited perceptions.” ~ Franz Kafka
The moment slowed into a scene from The Matrix minus the slow eruption of bullets, techno music, and black leather clothing. His car drifted over the agreed upon yellow barrier dotted down the center of opposing traffic. I knew…I knew, that he would jerk the steering wheel to his right and release relieved wind over the backdrop of a thundering heartbeat. He didn’t. Instead I jerked my wheel to my right hoping that the biggest obstacle would be maneuvering out of a ditch. The fan wafted heat into an atmosphere that struggled to dissipate the cold January air. The engine pumped with sluggish power as the exhaust spit out gaseous remnants of unrenewable fossil fuels. I heard nothing. My car swerved on a cloud until the smack of metal on metal splashed into the pale blue interior.
rel∙a∙tive (adjective) – measured or considered in comparison with each other or with something else
I tutored math during my undergraduate studies. One of my students was far too advanced to for his placement, but came to the sessions because it was mandatory for his current program. Tim never had questions. Instead, I quizzed him. I searched through the most complex problems of the current math section finding a mere handful that he couldn’t answer. There were a few that I couldn’t answer, either.
The room was full with just the two of us. Tutoring at 8 AM; even when the sun shone full, it was too early for most students to even consider attending a half hour tutoring session. Our voices bounced off the close, cement walls as we calculated how much money Lil’ Kim would make for every second that passed during her concert in 2001. I never remembered the number, but it was as obscene as she was.
“Accident is something relative. It appears only at the point of intersection of inevitable processes.” ~ George Plekhanov
When you’re fortunate enough to walk away from a car accident, your mind flickers through a checklist of semi-automated actions. It’s almost always the same process:
1. Curse (aloud or under your breath).
2. Make sure you and any passengers are okay.
3. Make your way out of the vehicle to assess the damage.
4. Look around. How are the other driver(s), passenger(s), vehicle(s)?
5. Thank God you and anyone else are okay.
These moments melt like vinyl left in southern summer sun. Sooner or later someone remembers to exchange information or the police arrive at the scene with obnoxious lights drawing what little attention you haven’t already acquired. Traffic in the street crawls by, and various drivers express their concerns for you. But you’re okay.