I might have died January 7, 2010Posted by Siew in Personal.
I’m starting my blogging here on a fairly gloomy note, but its only when we have a big accident that the urge to write comes again.
If you all don’t already know, I was recently involved in an accident. I was driving back from the Curve when I nodded off at the wheel and promptly steered my car into a divider. The car went into a tailspin after the impact on the right side and ended up in a bush. I remember little else about what happened during the crash. I know when I came to a stop, I was groping about for my glasses. Someone eventually found them, I can’t really remember who. It might have been one of my friends who weren’t very far behind me, headed in the same direction. One of the lenses was gone, and I was half blind for the next 18 hours or so, until my mum and brother brought my my spare pair from Malacca. In that 18 hours, I had to choose between being disorientated by opening both eyes and having only one behind a lens, or going round with one eye closed and looking like an idiot.
My car is very banged up. The front right wheel came off and the driver side door caved in. I suspect the chassis might be damaged as well. The insurance claims are going to be pretty big, probably half the value of the car or more.
I had turned a quarter or my car into scrap metal. I can’t say that I really loved that car. I love it the same way I love my stove. It serves an important purpose in my life. I don’t have an emotional attachment to the thing, which probably makes the sight of seeing it mangled a little easier. But now that I have reverted to using my old Wira, I find that I kinda miss that little thing.
By some miracle, I escaped somewhat unscathed. I took one day off to make a police report and see the doctor, but I was back at work the next day. The major injuries include a 30cm bruise on my stomach that the seatbelt left and whiplash injuries on my back and chest. The doctor gave me a quick once over and proclaimed that all my ligaments are intact and that all I had were soft tissue injuries. I hope she is right.
Anyways, I think I’ll go to the main lessons learnt over this experience.
1. It is impossible to judge if you are too sleepy to drive.
I have driven when I was sleepy before. I got home safe every time. Those times, it was just general tiredness that was the problem. I wasn’t nodding off or anything. Having gone through that, it is easy to conclude that you would know when you are too sleepy to drive. The reality is that reaching that conclusion is impossible when you are sleepy. I knew that I was not fit to drive at some very basic level while I was at the wheel. The problem is, at that point, it was already too late. My brain was incapable of processing anything beyond basic reflexive responses. The critical step of forming the conclusion that I was too sleepy to drive was impossible to reach. If I don’t form the conclusion that I am too tired to drive, I cannot actually pull over. I think its one great danger of driving that no one bothered explaining.
2. If I ever become a soldier, I think I’ll be one of the few atheists in foxholes.
I know its very vogue to suddenly realize just how lucky I am and attribute my luck to the gentle hand of my creator saving my skin. But it didn’t happen. I didn’t have a religious revelation after my highly improbable escape from death and injury. I did not find God, I did not even subconsciously entertain the possibility of divine intervention. And no, I didn’t intentionally suppress any religious thought because it would contradict my pre-existing beliefs. I don’t think I am arrogant enough to refuse to admit that I am wrong about something as important as this. If I had felt some divine cocoon protecting me, I’d be happy to admit it and start going to church or something. But I didn’t. It does worry me a little to think that I might have reached the same point of blind faith in atheism as some fundamentalist theists have in their dogma. I am a little concerned that I had become so hardcore that would become completely dismissive about religion. I hold people with blind faith in contempt, so I really dread the day I join their ranks. But for now, I think I am safe. I think I have enough intelligent friends who will happily point out that I have gone off the deep end of atheism should it ever happen.
All I thought of when I got out of the car was, ‘Dammit this is inconvenient’. And of course, ‘Thank you Hyundai Getz safety design team’.
3. There is no hope for the PDRM.
Yes, this is an admission of guilt as much as it is a rant against the system. And yes, I know what a huge contradiction it is for me to be playing the system on one end while wishing it were different from the other end. But facing potential jail time and really big fines, I succumbed. I am not proud of it, but I would not do any different if I were faced with the same scenario again. I’m not that much of a hero.
4. Some touts are actually looking for an honest living.
I think I got lucky that I decided to trust a bunch of touts that were not out to fleece me. I have to admit I was very relieved to find out that their workshop is a panel workshop for my insurance. Makes things a whole lot easier. They even volunteered to bring me to the doctor after I made the police report. This accident is one of those experiences where I found myself in a situation where the fast talking gangster-looking fellow with brown hair is actually trying to help me more than the smartly dressed officer of the law.