AS anyone who’s read my blog knows, many of my greatest real-life misadventures happen behind the wheel of a car. I have spent the last eighteen years taking, processing, or consulting on insurance claims. Any time I make it out of a mall parking unscathed I give thanks to whatever gods hold sway. But still, this week I had my weirdest morning commute yet.
I was zipping along my city’s outer loop on my way to work when traffic slowed suddenly to accommodate construction a few hundred yards ahead. I was in the passing lane when I decelerated from sixty-five miles an hour to roughly ten. A little white car in the center lane did the same.
Unfortunately, it nosed down, almost scraping the pavement with its front bumper. Then, its driver’s side front wheel snapped clean off. The errant wheel rolled on at speed, crossing in front of me without contact. It then passed the car in front of me on the left side and continue into the distance along the shoulder.
The white car was not so lucky. It continued in its original Newtonian path, throwing up sparks as it went. I switched on my hazards and pulled back to give the driver a clear path to the shoulder. Looking like a Fourth of July sparkler, the white car crossed in front of me as its wheel had done to come to a safe stop ahead of me and to the left.
I snuck a glance at the driver as I passed. A heavy, harried-looking man of late middle age, I could tell he was thinking three things as he bowed his head over the steering wheel.
“I don’t believe that this just happened.”
“I don’t believe I survived what just happened.”
“I’m really glad I wore dark pants.”
Though another co-worker passed a three car chain reaction accident at roughly the same spot later that day, it was generally accepted at the office that I had won the morning commute.