Sometimes car accidents can be…well, not too bad. Sometimes they can be shrugged off with no cops, no insurance, no injuries, no nothin’. I learned this around 5:30 in the morning on the Hutchinson River Parkway when I was 18 or 19, and I’ve never forgotten the lesson. Not everything that goes badly needs to be catastrophic.
Three of us had done an all-nighter in Manhattan, wandering around the streets on mescaline, the usual West Village-East Village walk-around, not much cash, soaking up the energy. We drove back to Connecticut around 5 am, the light starting to break. And somewhere around Rye, or right before the Connecticut border, we came around a curve and there was this beige Volkswagen Beetle lying on its side, the owner standing nearby, looking more or less unruffled and going “hmmm.”
We immediately pulled over, put on the flashers, got out and ran over and helped the guy right it. One, two, three…done. Quick thanks, hand shake, the bug (which had no serious marks or dents) started right up and he took off. Then we did the same. It was semi-dangerous standing around near a curve, of course. The whole deal took maybe 90 seconds…okay, two minutes. My friends and I hardly spoke of it later, that morning or during the weeks and months that followed.