A car crash harnesses elements of eroticism, aggression, desire, speed, drama, kinesthetic factors, the stylizing of motion, consumer goods, status — all these in one event. I myself see the car crash as a tremendous sexual event really: a liberation of human and machine libido (if there is such a thing).
—-J. G. Ballard
Deep Ellum, Texas
I saw something very strange on the drive in to work today. To see something, anything, different along the route I drive every morning, have for well over three thousand times now, is strange in and of itself… to see something strange is double strange.
First, I remember moving to Texas. Like anyplace that is of itself, Texas has a few things to get used to – two driving things, for example.
First, people park facing the wrong way on residential streets all the time. Anywhere else – this will get you towed immediately… in Texas, it makes no difference – half the cars are on the left hand side.
Second, people run lights. I remember moving here, hitting a yellow and going, thinking to myself, “Wow, that was close, probably should have stopped.” Then I would look in my mirror and a half dozen cars would be running through after me.
The other side is when that light turns green, don’t jump out right away, wait for everyone to come to a stop.
At any rate, I was on my way to work (had some equipment to haul and was driving instead of riding my bike) and waiting at a long, busy red light… you know the one, the one at Grove and Centennial , with the McDonald’s and the Chilly Mart across from me. The light turned red as I arrived, so I was the first one in the ever-growing line, waiting for the light to change.
The cross light went from red to yellow to green and I looked up to make sure the traffic was stopped. A small black car was approaching on my left with a huge dumptruck behind. I assumed both would run through, so I waited. To my surprise, the small car braked hard and stopped at the light – I think there was a little brake squeal.
The truck behind didn’t expect him to stop, and plowed right into the rear of the car. It had one of those huge steel bumpers, set high, and completely smashed in the trunk of the car. There was that POP-Bang-Crunch of metal rending in a crash. The impact pushed the little car through the intersection like a pebble from a slingshot. As it passed in front of me, I thought, “Good, it is past the intersection, I can drive through, I won’t be late for work.”
Then came the strange part.
The car never stopped. It just kept on driving. Because I was first in line I could see around the bend to the right for quite a distance, maybe half a mile, and the car didn’t slow down – it simply sped away. I guess the high bumper on the truck smashed in the trunk without damaging the wheels or anything important, as far as moving goes.
The car disappeared around the curve and I turned back to see the truck – it didn’t have a scratch. That huge slab of rusty steel bumper looked indestructible. There was a surprisingly small amount of debris in the intersection… my light was green… I couldn’t think of any reason not to… so I drove through and went to work.
So why did the car drive away like that? The accident was 100% the fault of the truck and it was a commercial vehicle – basically, insurance would buy the guy a new car.
I can only think of a few possibilities.
One, the car was stolen… but I don’t think that would happen at that hour of the morning.
The most probable reason was the driver had warrants and didn’t want to deal with the cops.
Or maybe the driver was a complete idiot and didn’t realize the rear of his car was smashed in like that (doesn’t make sense, I know).
All in all, a pretty strange thing to watch on a morning commute.