Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Family's First Car Wreck

(Not actual photo)

Do you know how many thoughts per second can pass through the human brain? I looked it up, and according to the Interwebs, “We count the number of synapses, guess their speed of operation, and determine synapse operations per second. There are roughly 1015 synapses operating at about 10 impulses/second [2], giving roughly 1016 synapse operations per second.”

Yeah, I don’t know what that means either. But I can tell you it’s more than 12.

On January 30th, a Saturday night, my family and I were heading back from a play and going to grab some dinner when we stopped at the top of an off ramp. (Hwy 95 and Ann Rd, for you locals.) The car in front of us stopped a bit suddenly, but not shockingly so. We stopped with room to spare, but the thought came to me, “Hmmm…I sure hope the car behind me is paying attention.”

Turns out it was not. As I looked in my rearview mirror, I saw a car that was barreling up this off ramp without so much as even downshifting. It was coming directly at us, and we were stuck with nowhere to go. And while I had no time to yell to Katie or any of the kids to “Hold on to your underwear!” I did find enough time – in the flash of a nano-second – to think the following thinks:

“That car is going to hit us. It is going to hit us hard.”
“We are going to slam into this car in front of us.”
“Everybody is seat belted in – I think we’re going to be okay.”
“Now I’m going to have to wait even longer to eat my In-N-Out burger!”
“Maybe I should get a shake with my burger? I don’t get shakes nearly enough.”
“Oh, that’s right. It’s still January. No sugar. Man, that bugs.”
“And there’s going to be police and paramedics.”
“And they're going to want to get in the van, and this thing is filthy!”
“Could I possibly clean it up a bit before they get here?”
“I hope I’m not injured past the point of being able to speak, because I’m going to need to explain why I have The Pointer Sisters playing on my iPod.”
“Huh. That’s funny. I have the full library of U2 and Coldplay on my iPod, but I’ll die with people mystified by my selection of Pointer Sisters tunes. I only have 8 of their songs – okay, 9, if you count two different versions of “Jump.” But I don’t count that. Okay 10 if you count the a cappella version of “Fire.” And I should probably count that one.”
“Peculiar. If I die, I wonder who would have to wade through my belongings to decide what to keep, throw out, or dole out to family and friends. It would be easiest if Katie could do it. She already knows. And I’m sure she wouldn’t mind finally being rid of that Joshua Tree concert t-shirt I keep wadded up in a box in the garage. Why do I keep that in the garage? I should have it framed. My gosh, that was a fantastic concert. If I could go back in ti—!”