In Which I Discuss the Ways of the Presumed Secret Service

Tuesday, September 26 2006

Yesterday I was nearly killed in what was almost a serious car accident. Traffic in front of me on a city street stopped abruptly, and I was able to come to a pretty smooth stop. Looking in my rearview mirror revealed that the rather massive black SUV who had been following some distance behind hadn’t yet understood that traffic in front of him was at a dead stop. I realized, as he rapidly approached, that he still hadn’t noticed and unless I got out of his way was going to slam right into me at what I estimated to be about 45-50 miles per hour.

So I gunned my underpowered hybrid while steering out into the middle turn lane, and he noticed just in time and swerved off to the right, very narrowly missing me and taking flight off the curb, travelling at least ten car lengths down the sidewalk, coming to a stop on the bank.

I went through several very rapid phases immediately during and after this near death experience. There was the Many Obscenities Phase, the You Crazy Bastard You Nearly Killed Me phase, the I’m So Glad I’m Still Alive phase (which didn’t really kick in until I’d begun moving again for a few minutes), then there was the final I’m Glad That’s Over, What’s For Lunch phase.

I was happily into the final phase of this experience when I entered an entirely new and wholly unanticipated phase – the That Black Suburban Is Now Pulling Me Over phase. The human brain is capable of many things, and it’s most discomforting when it goes into a fit trying to discover the meaning of some sort of event. In the span of three seconds, about fifteen things went through my mind, only one of which I remember.

I thought he was pulling me over for something drug related. I have to put this delicately to explain the thought, but basically someone I know recently was arrested for a big sort of illegal drug operation. I thought that just by knowing them, I was somehow guilty as well (which is entirely not true, but this is what your brain does to you).

I pulled over, totally and completely confused. A man in a grey suit stepped out, red tie, white shirt, black sunglasses, perfect hair, and walked up to my window. He said (not asked), very officially “You ok.”

I said “Uh, yeah”. And he said “Good.” and walked back to his car. No badge. No apology, nothing beyond a single word answer to my response. I half suspsect he was a robot, but a more accurate description might be that he was an FBI agent, or Secret Service.

Upon telling the story to Vic last night, I wondered outloud if my family would have been given some insane compensation package if the Secret Service had squished me and ever the skeptic of his government he said “No, you’d just cease to exist.” Total buzzkill, as I half believe he’s right, a belief no doubt strenghtened by the complete bizarre manner in which my Meet Your Maker agent confirmed that he wouldn’t have to initiate an Incident Sterilization and Subduction Phase on me.