Dan Dot Blog

Based on a true story

Stupid Mistakes

I had a nice weekend visiting some friends in Troy and then spending the 4th with my family in Milford, but that’s not what I really want to talk about.

On my way home from Milford to Ann Arbor, I got in a car accident. Although very scary at that time, it was pretty minor, involved only my car (and a guard rail), and didn’t result in any bodily harm and seemingly minor vehicular damage. Usually when I drive I have my iPhone in a holster with a bluetooth headset on, but just as I got off M-14 and was driving down the ramp in Ann Arbor my phone rang. I’d taken off my headset to better listen to a song I usually play whenever I return to the city (yeah, I’m lame, w/e), so I (foolishly) looked down for a second to grab my phone and answer. When I looked back up, I was on the left-hand shoulder, bouncing along the guard rail on the M-14 off-ramp. My reflections on my memories from the event have yielded some interesting points.

It was really surreal. I was going pretty fast, maybe 45 mph. I felt like I was just magnetically attached to that guard rail. Whenever I’d try to pull away, it’d suck me back. By the time I got unstuck I was swerving back and forth and I was struck by how true-to-life most driving games are wherein you wildly careen out of control whenever you try to turn at high speeds. I wasn’t even going that fast and I felt like I was on an oil slick. I’m pretty sure that as I veered out of control I quickly checked my rear view mirror to make sure I wasn’t going to slip in front of somebody. After discovering that my attempts at braking were being hampered by the fact that I was pounding down on the clutch and not the brake, things started to get back under control and I found my way onto a side street. Catching my breath for a few moments, I decided to drive on a short distance to a parking lot where I could inspect the damage.

The driver’s side of my car is somewhat banged up, but it’s not awful. Most of the damage seems to be cosmetic, and I’m not too worried about that. The experience is what jarred me the most. There’s this weird, survivalist mode that only gets flicked on occasionally, and usually it’s kind of fun. It was the same feeling I’ve had in the past when doing some sort of at least semi-adventurous sport and things go wrong. Whether it’s wakeboarding in the moments that you begin to lose balance before you fall, or after falling while skiing and trying to right yourself while rolling down a very steep hill in a jumbly mess of snow and blood and skis, all other thoughts are pushed out. Not that this was a near-death experience, but it totally could’ve been. If another car had been near me and hit me when I bounced off, I could’ve conceivably been killed. It’s not the gravity of the situation that’s giving me pause, it’s my failure to appreciate it in the moment. In some ways, that’s worrying, because I feel like I need to do more reflecting now, because I may not get the chance to if I meet an untimely end, but it’s also reassuring, because it seems that, so long as the end is met suddenly and violently, I will indeed not have time to adequately understand it, or maybe that just comes later in the process…

I guess that’s enough minor accident-driven, quasi-philosophical musing for one night.

I start my new job officially as a “Research Area Specialist Associate” for the University with orientation in the morning. I hope tomorrow will not be marked by the same kind of stupid mistakes that marred today.


July 6, 2009 Posted by | Personal | , , , , | Leave a comment