Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Car Wreck Top 5. Number 5: Car vs. Salt Truck

UPDATE: I meant to do a top ten list of car accidents, but have changed it because ... I don't have that many good car wreck stories.

While waiting for our mayor (or other hapless politicians) to entertain us, I will spend some time counting down the five greatest, most awesome, most memorable car accidents of my life. These are wrecks in which I've been either the driver, passenger, or witness. Each has impacted my life in some way. Each has taught me a lesson about myself and my life. I hope that in these early days of winter, when the roads are getting slick and the tires are getting bald (like the heads of so many of my friends), these stories will serve as a reminder to pay those insurance premiums ...

Number 5: Car vs. Salt Truck

If you ever want to see a car accident, drive up and down Western Avenue, especially between Division and Diversey after 10 p.m. on the weekends. (Actually, if you drive, you'll probably BE the one in an accident, so maybe you should take the bus.) Western is a big, wide road that serves as a wonderful drag strip for all the sweet and tender hooligans of this city of big shoulders and small curbs. Western's also the longest street in Chicago (fun trivia fact!). Last Friday night I saw two accidents on that street, one as I was heading south to the Empty Bottle for the Rogue Wave show and then another when I was heading back home. The second one was quite spectacular.

It had snowed earlier in the day, less than an inch, which meant city crews were out making sure every single street was white from salt. Western was clear of snow and almost clear of traffic. A block ahead of me was a car. Ahead of him was nobody. Well, not exactly. A block ahead of him was a salt truck pulling out from a side street and crossing Western. I saw the scene clearly ... the car in front of me ... the salt truck with its flashing lights ... and ... then I heard the crunch of metal on metal as the car drove right into the side of the truck. The car, probably a Dodge Neon or something, was destroyed, its front end completely crumpled. The salt truck had maybe a scratch.

Everyone was fine, and there really was no lesson there, unless if you have just learned not to drive your car into the side of a salt truck. But still, it did make me think.

For the past 10 years or so, I've fantasized about buying and driving a giant dump truck. I've fantasized about accidentally plowing into all sorts of cars that were somehow breaking one of the rules of the road. You know that one stop sign in the neighborhood that everyone somehow blows through? I imagine I'd be driving my dump truck through that intersection right when someone blew through the stop sign, and CRASH! his car would be completely fucked up. Sorry, that's one of my fantasies, destroying cars. Do I suffer from slight road rage? Perhaps. But maybe I just hate drivers that ignore stop signs.

Anyway, my fantasy has led me to create a superhero-like character that drives a dump truck and destroys bad drivers' cars. Her name (yes, it would be a she) would be Downy Dumptruck. Well, to end a long story (I swear tomorrow's will be shorter), the accident I saw on Western the other night made me think long and hard about my superhero ... maybe she should drive a salt truck.


Anonymous jenska said...

The City should be so lucky...perhaps Downy Dumptruck needs a sidekick? The other A. Plonka would definitely qualify as a self-appointed, bad-driver patrolman...maybe a steamroller?

8:48 PM  

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