Tuesday, 26 January 2010


I squinted under the glare of the hot midday sun as I impatiently waited with about a dozen other people for the red man to turn green at a junction near Bugis Street. My eyes were starting to hurt a little as my contact lenses got drier. I wrote a mental note to self: No more overusing these damned things.

I fidgeted under the heat, shifted a little, and stared around my feet to avoid the sun's rays. I closed my eyes for a moment, hoping to get rid of the irritating feeling of abrasion between eye and lens.

It all seemed to happened in an instant: the loud extended blaring of a car horn, the sickening screech of tires, and the sensation of flying through the air, all before I could reopen my eyes - too fast for me to even feel the ceremonial pain that should have coursed through my body after being hit straight on by a 90 mph car that has lost all control. I might have even felt the crunch of my neck hugging the traffic light next to me like one of those slow motion videos where you watch a baseball altering its shape after being struck by a bat in mid-flight, as I ricocheted off like a ragdoll. But look who's counting. Everything was in the surreal realm of being neither fast nor slow, or loud nor silent. It lends credit to Einstein's view that time as a dimension is indeed relative.

I must have settled in a heap face up a few metres away, because it was moments before I saw the blur of a crowd gathering around and heard the drowning commotion of noise and chatter. The heat from the asphalt was cooking my skin.

I was frozen; I simply couldn't process what was going on and my body felt paralyzed. I recall that freezing is an evolutionary mechanism much like panicking or fainting, because the body involuntarily locks up and doesn't move to prevent predators from spotting you in a potentially dangerous situation. I guess the shock must've triggered the wrong survival mechanisms here, or I was simply paralyzed because my bones were smashed or something. It's funny how the words from a professor took precedence over thinking about the dire situation I was in, but these thoughts dysfunctionally poured out along with what I figured must be blood, as I gradually felt surrounded by an unmistakably thick fluid that flowed down my temples, legs and arms.


I'm really fine; my sincere apologies for the false alarm to those who got worried and I'm grateful for the concern! This post really was inspired (the irony) by wondering about what would really happen if a car had indeed spun out of control into the crowd waiting to cross the road at Bugis Street. I was in that crowd too bearing the heated wrath of the sun.

Incidentally, 'thanatos', the daemon personification of death in Greek mythology, is the post-freudian name given to the 'death instinct', which Freud describes as a force that is not essential to the life of an organism and tends to denature it or make it behave in ways that are sometimes counter-intuitive.

No comments: