The first thing I thought after the car hit me was that the experience would make a great blog post, not realizing at the time how boring stories about accidental car-human interactions could be. I found out later on that even thinking about what had happened was incredibly tedious, let alone telling the story to other people. Despite my initial hope, a non-fatal or non-injury car accident seems as normal as snack time at soccer practice.
The whole ordeal felt as uninteresting as a conversation with a drive-thru window employee: I and my colleague were walking in the street along with the rest of Cairo. He asks me how I exercise. I tell him I don’t. The car hits me from behind at a fairly slow pace, ramming roughly into my left side. My colleague accidentally gropes me as he yanks me out of the way. I let off a stream of unsavory speech and pronounce fanatical threats (at the car, not him). And then I descend into the metro station and meet a nice family from Kansas before heading home, right as rain.
Not only is the story itself banal, but it’s difficult for people to comprehend it since oftentimes (as in the two times I’ve told people), there is no shared background with regard to close encounters of the vehicular kind. For example, when you’re telling a story about a time you got a sandwich, there is a ready-made paradigm for understanding the experience. It’s likely your audience has a background in sandwich eating and can ask informed questions like: What kind of sandwich did you get? How much did it cost? Was it good? And then they might make a statement like, “Ooo…that sounds good. I should try that sometime.”
However, when you tell someone you were hit by a car, the same lexicon of understanding just does not exist. Though people want to care, they simply don’t. This is especially true if you weren’t hurt. The first question is “Are you okay?” and if you the answer is yes, then they’ve likely lost what little interest they were feigning in the first place. They might ask, “How did it happen?” but if you’re okay, than it’s probably a boring story anyways and so you’ll get a statement indicating you were slightly in the wrong, like “Be careful!” Also, the idea the person they’re talking to was in such a foreign situation and could have either been maimed or killed only hours earlier is weird and causes uncomfortable thinking about death and the meaning of life. Therefore, for everyone’s sake, it’s best to stick to talking about things people understand, like food, love, and laughter. Car accidents should be discussed only when involving circus animals or family members you thought were dead.