The Case For Car Wrecks

Humans are not made of glass. But perhaps they should be.

In the last good novel I can remember from Chuck Palahniuk – Rant – there is a premise of a demolition derby type event where drivers intentionally crash into each other. The story goes on to presume that crashing a car under the right conditions would be enough to propel someone into a different state of being/matter or travel through time. Remember Crash? The novel about the fetishization of car wrecks?

I spent a lot of time driving this weekend. More than usual. Up and down mountain roads with a population of people that likely, haven’t spent a lot of their years driving in mountain roads. They are each distracted to some degree. By directions, on their phones. Maybe they drive too fast or too slow. We’ve seen it all.

In college, I dated a woman who told me that sometimes on long drives she just liked to close her eyes for as long as possible. Later, when I was driving up a hill, she threw my shifter from drive to reverse and my car ground to a halt. We didn’t see each other much after that.

I propose an extension to driver’s education┬áseries where a new driver is intentionally subjected to a car crash. Nothing too serious. Maybe a few bruises that take weeks to heal or a stern case of whiplash. Think of it as scaring drivers straight.

Cars today have never been safer. Therein, they have never been more dangerous. There is no consequence. We might have never been more removed from the real physics of an automobile, which is a shame since these are the physics of life. I feel it when airplanes hit a rough patch. Turbulence. Snapped awake from a nap or a movie with the sudden, cold feeling of death. Cold sweats and a wave of nausea. Panicked, racing, but still breathing. Still airborne.

In a cage of metal, we are invincible until we are not. Consequence surrounds us even if we aren’t entirely sure what it looks like.