Not too long ago, on a sunny Wednesday, I sat waiting a few seconds for the freeway on-ramp signal to let me on with a green. I had a trunk full of groceries and I was in a hurry to pick up my daughter from school. Let me say it now: I have no trouble driving a Swagger Wagon (my ego having been shredded long before fatherhood). It’s my job.

Next to me was a shiny black Camaro. It could’ve been brand-new, or not. I don’t pay attention to muscle cars. But it looked good.

When the Camaro’s driver got the green ahead of me, he stomped on the accelerator. However it works, his wheels started going too fast–I sensed what was going to happen–and the car spun out of control. A hundred feet from me, it curled across the ramp and hit the concrete barrier head-on. Sparks, debris flying, blue smoke from the tires, everything. The driver hadn’t been ejected. At 30 m.p.h., it seemed unlikely he was unhurt any more than his air bags and seat belt would allow.

Like I said, I was in a hurry, and I didn’t think this guy would be hurt. Off I went.

For the next hour, questions popped in my mind. Who was this fellow? (The car suggests a white-male occupant in his 30s to 50s. I can say that, as I’m well aware of my own demographic.) Was that an ego show for me (in a hard-to-miss minivan) or someone else? How do you explain this one to your car insurance company? Is this what police always mean when they respond to ‘single-car accidents’?

More than anything, I wonder what this dude was thinking. Sunny day, dry pavement, big engine. Why not see what this baby can do? (Getting onto a Seattle freeway, which is usually too crowded for anything above 75 m.p.h.) Yup, the whole thing seems idiotic, the driver as immature as a motorist can be. Especially considering this was a total pooch-screw, as in the car was totaled. (Those sparks weren’t just gratuitous fireworks for my benefit.)

The aftermath, I imagine, would include two hours of delays on the ramp, a police report, a flatbed driver trying not to show amusement (that was one shiny piece of scrap metal he’d be hauling off) and lots of explanation. A staggering blunder had happened. There was wreckage. There would be cost (how much to be determined by who’s paying and how the driver sold whatever story). Some people would know the truth.

All in all, this was a minor event. Nobody hurt, not too many people affected, only expensive in relative terms.

Still, it made an impression on me. And why is it I’ve thought of this wreck every day since 11/8/2016?


A black Chevy Camaro.

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