The views of a rabble-rouser and former stay-at-home dad on protests, politics, parenthood, groupthink, and music.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
The Motorcycle Accident
Have I talked about this here? I don't think I have.
This happened a long time ago. Over twenty years ago. I was in New England, staying at the house of a college friend. We were driving - me, my friend, and her mother. We were driving around a quiet country road when, suddenly, a guy on a motorcycle came screaming by us.
We were on our way to something that seems meaningless now. A grocery store, an ice cream place, a park.
We were going maybe 30, 35 miles an hour. The motorcyclist must have been doing twice that. He passed us on a curve, ignoring the double yellow line and the "No Passing" signs. He sounded like a chainsaw passing by us.
"That guy's going to get himself killed," I said. I think I said it out loud. In my memory, I did. And that's what makes the next few minutes so horrifying.
I watched him for a minute, whipping around curves, and then lost sight of him. And then saw him again. He was coming up to a T intersection, and there was another car coming. He was headed west, and the other car heading south.
He hit his brakes so hard that I saw sparks flying out from beneath his back wheel. And then the impact happened.
He went flying. He ended up on the road, still as a memory. Dark red blood pooled beneath his head, his head that was still wearing his useless helmet. It was ineffective - he hit the ground too hard to have any hope. It was over instantly. I hoped - hope - that it was over instantly.
He hit the car (it was a big solid car, a Cadillac or a Lincoln Town Car) hard enough that the front wheel went flat. The front bumper was crushed. The elderly couple was coming around a corner, tried to stop, had no time to stop. They were horrified. So were we.
I had been to funerals, but I had never seen a dead body like this. I had never seen someone die right in front of me. And that's what happened. Five minutes ago, he was the idiot on the bike. And then, he was the dead body lying in the road.
The police came. They asked questions, took names and numbers. We went to the local police station to file an official report, since we were officially witnesses. I told them about the speed, about the sparks. The police officer thanked us for our time and said there might be calls later.
"That guy's going to get himself killed."
It's a horrible feeling, thinking that you predicted the future. It's something that people probably say all the time without thinking about it. Like Luke Burbank reported the other day, when he recounted his own motorcycle accident story on TBTL - "it would serve that guy right to get it in an accident."
You don't think it's going to happen. You literally aren't wishing ill of the other person. You don't want the other person to get killed. It's just something that you say without thinking about it. Sometimes, there's a tiny part of your mind that wishes the universe would exact its karmic revenge instantly. And sometimes, God help us, the universe does.