One of the bits that stuck with me from the film of The Bourne Identity (didn't read the book) was a twist on the usual amnesiac story: he wakes up not knowing who he is, but realizing that he has these amazing skills of observation, martial arts, escape, and all sorts of other things that show him that he's really a superagent. (I'd wake up and what skills would I have to deduce my original identity? I know what pentameter is, I have a lot of black clothes in my closet, and books by Foucault on my shelf: aha, I must be an English professor!)
Well, I would suck at being a superagent. For all sorts of reasons -- but among them apparently I have lousy observation skills when in a difficult situation. (As do most people -- basic sociology and criminology experiments show this all the time.) I got rear-ended yesterday -- I'm fine, and my car isn't too badly damaged -- I was stopped at a red light, and the car behind me was stopped. Then a fourth car hit the third car which hit the second which hit me. So I got the least amount of impact, thankfully. My neck was sore last night but after ibuprofen and a nice hot Bikram class this morning I'm feeling fine. (Which I think has to be due in part to the yoga -- my neck having been in better alignment to start with, after 8 months of yoga.)
We sat there for 90 minutes in the rain waiting for the police officer to come and file the report. You'd think I'd have every detail memorized. But, no. Talking to the insurance guy this morning I was like: we were in the right, no, the left lane. No, I don't know what make of car the third car was -- but I have his DL number. Etc.
The other weird thing is the intimacy an accident suddenly creates among total strangers. I have all their names and phone numbers (and more) -- we were sharing our frustration at the slowness of the police to arrive -- bonded in some small little way. Thankfully no one was hurt, we weren't really stranded, we weren't far from civilization --so the forced bonding was limited. But kind of a weird experience nonetheless.