Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Bye Altima

I'd been planning to replace my 11-year old car later this year, but as I was spinning around the Beltway last week, I had time to contemplate the meaning of life. And by the time the accident was over, it was completely clear that I'd need a new car. Soon.

Allow me to back up.

I stayed home Wednesday morning to complete some work, and then drove in just after noon. I'd barely gotten on the Outer Loop, second lane from the left, when the white cab of a box truck appeared on my left. The driver, apparently too intent on making the University Blvd. exit to notice who might be in his way, cut me off. And by cut me off, I mean sheared off my front bumper with his rear, sending me careening toward the guardrail.

Adrenaline rocks. On full alert, hands at 10 and 2, I veered away from the guardrail and back onto the Beltway. Horns on my left alerted me to veer right; more horns, and then I was fishtailing. That's the point at which I lost control of the car.

Next, my front windshield became a movie screen of oncoming traffic. I was spinning! So I started hauling the steering wheel left, and just kept hauling. And as quickly as it started spinning across all four lanes of the second-worst road in the nation, the car stopped.

Now, get this: using my own skills, I brought my Altima out of a 55-mile-per-hour spin across the Beltway. And I landed in the far left lane, facing the wrong way, without hitting the guardrail, oncoming traffic, or the concrete median. Of course, oncoming traffic avoided me as well, and some amount of luck was involved.

But I'm proud of my skills. The hardest part was repeating to the State Troopers how I didn't hit anything. When the last one pointed out that my airbags didn't deploy, I pointed out that they only deploy when there's an impact, not, apparently, when an idiot rents a truck and doesn't know where he's going.


By the way, he kept going. If he has any sense he'll keep going, because if I ever catch that desgraciado cabrón he won't owe Karma any debt.


Poor little Altima. Saved my butt more than once.

Oh, well. No one was killed (especially me). And though it's scary and enlivening and nerve-wracking to be "hit and run", now I get the good-driver prize to salve my sadness, complete with package number 5.



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