01 May 2006

Our tax dollars at work, and a link or two.

Over the weekend I went to visit my family down in Millbrook, which took me out of my comfortable little cocoon here long enough to give me some interesting stuff to talk about. I'll be covering it over the next couple of days.

On the drive back, a bit south of Birmingham, Beth and I witnessed a single-car accident. I was on the phone with UncleFlip, arranging a meeting place so he could give me the two bottles of Dark Lord Imperial Stout when out of the corner of my eye I some movement in my rearview mirror. The car in the lane beside me smashed into the metal divider that separated the lanes of traffic on I-65, spun around 360 degrees, and made a huge squealing noise and kicked up a lot of dust. Basically smashing in the entire front end of the vehicle at some 65-70 miles per hour.

"Oh, shit," I said, still on the phone with Flip.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Yeah, I'll call you back."

Utterly calm and collected, I pulled off on the side of the road, hung up with flip, and dialed 911. After a moment with a very professional emergency operator (the kind I hope I'd get to speak to if I were ever in a danger spot), Beth and I got out my Mazda to walk back and see if there was anything we could do. We'd moved ahead of the other vehicle by maybe five hundred feet, and trudging back there through the weeds on the side of the interstate was fairly rough going, but not too bad. Still, by the time we got to the other vehicle (some sort of white or silver sedan), a fire engine and a local cop were pulling up to the scene.

We happened to have pulled off onto the other side of the interstate, so the cop yelled to us, "Are you involved?" as he walked up.

"No, we just called it in."

He made a hand motion to stay back and checked on the occupant of the vehicle. A youngish foreign girl who couldn't have been more than twenty or so, she seemed unharmed by the incident and was stepping out of the car when the cop got there.

After a few minutes of watching (traffic was getting backed up, as well) and yelling to no less than two firefighters that we weren't involved, that we just called it in, the cop crossed the street (carefully, mind you) and asked me what I saw. I told him that I had seen the car hit the rail in my rearview mirror and had called in the accident. He thanked me and told me to be on my way.

I was amazed at the speed at which it happened. No less than ten minutes after witnessing the accident, we were back in our car and on the way. And then my hands started shaking a bit, likely from the adrenaline rush. The rest of the three-hour drive to Huntsville was a bit rough, not least because a bit later it started raining, and I was feeling just a bit twitchy.

Interesting how I was utterly calm at first, and only began to stress out over it later. Selective advantage or neutral drift I can't say, but obviously the adrenaline system has its quirks.

And, on a completely different note:

This is a link to Stephen Colbert's speech at the White House Correspondent's Dinner on Saturday. I'm a huge fan of The Colbert Report, and this is some really good material from him.

Zazzafooky is a personal blog that I'm working through the archives of. Heartfelt oddities from an often humorous but often painful personal perspective of an Angeleno. It's interesting stuff.

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