By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Car accidents never sound like they’re supposed to sound.
Most of my experience with collisions comes from television and movies, so it’s a letdown when the real thing happens.
You might get screeching tires and a metallic crunch, but no dreamy music to maximize the experience, no slow-motion views of twirling glass crystals, no loved one far away sensing something’s gone wrong.
The sound is more fake when I’m actually in the accident, rather than witnessing another person’s trouble.
That’s because the thud of vehicles can’t rise above the silent screaming that explodes inside my skull. How can the sound of two pieces of fiberglass colliding compete with inner rage at my own stupidity or someone else’s?
For some reason, it is the opposite when I see a fight in real life. My memory banks are full of choreographed cinematic battles, but an actual fist-against-fist throwdown is far more disturbing. No contest.
It’s been decades since the last fight I was in. Those experiences were naturally intense because the threat was so personal.
But watching other people fight also shocks the system. I saw a brawl the other day while stopped on Eason Boulevard at Gloster Street. If anyone had been in the car with me, they would’ve seen my jaw drop and hang open as the drama unfolded.
A well-dressed, angry man got out of his car and walked to the window of an SUV. The guy in the SUV rolled his window down. That was a mistake because the guy outside threw several punches before the window went back up.
After the light changed, the SUV drove off. The assailant walked back to his blue sedan and followed.
I watched him drive by, and he looked normal. That is, I wouldn’t have guessed he’d been angry enough to strike someone a few moments earlier.
Maybe he worked the venom out of his system, though I’ve read that’s a myth. According to studies, acting out one’s aggression doesn’t necessarily get rid of the anger. Sometimes, there’s an amplifying effect.
I don’t know the SUV driver’s offense, but it was probably something you and I have done to more forgiving drivers in the past.
It was altogether strange, and it didn’t end when the men drove away. I played with the situation in my mind. What would I have done?
I’d like to think I wouldn’t have rolled down the window if I were the SUV driver. If I were the other guy, I’d like to think I wouldn’t have left my car.
I considered other scenarios, too. What about a knife? What about a gun? What about a kid in the SUV who watched as I turned into an ogre and attacked his dad?
No lives were lost and no one was seriously injured. It was a minor event, really, but it was so real, and so regrettably human.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.