Last Monday I had an early start and was coming home from some grocery shopping when a wraithlike blur appeared to my right. You have that inner voice in your head to tell you that something is wrong even while it's happening and so I slammed on the brakes and jerked my wheel hard to the left.
A small-size pickup truck had run a stop sign from a side street in the neighborhood and smashed into the front of my car. I remember being surprised at myself that I didn't curse while it was all happening but let out an elongated "Ohhhhhhhh" while trying to control my car and in that amount of time my car had been struck, was being pulled along and finally stopped, destroyed. I was five blocks away from my house. The end of the Summerfest 5K, which at the time was a personal best for me last year, is just beyond this spot.
When my car came to a stop I smelled a dusty, chemical, smell. My air bag had deployed and I could see myself just staring at it. My head hadn't come in contact with it but my right hand had a rectangular welt from it bursting forth.
A week later, it still strikes me as something hard to figure out. It's like those hands where the money flies into the middle of the pot and you never see the rest of the cards until the dealer is pushing the pot to someone.
And just like a poker hand, I can think what if a second here or a second there but that doesn't matter. Reaction -- and a bit of luck -- are the reasons why neither I nor the other driver were injured. It's a good lesson for me that nothing in life can be taken for granted.
I'm thinking of this now, a week later, because the other driver's insurer called me today to say they are taking liability for the total loss of my vehicle.
When I bought that car in 2006 I thought at the time that I was going to have it for a long time. I really needed a car then, as my old one was breaking down. So many buy-ins from my bankroll went into it. Even more went in 2009 when I paid it off a year early.
I guess in a way that money has come back to me as I've been reimbursed for the wreck and am soon to buy a new catmobile.
And just like a hand, the money is immaterial. It's the sequence of events -- and its conclusion -- that always has you thinking about what happened.