Late last night, as I was driving back to my new apartment from yet another boardgame geekfest, there was a large foreign object jus' chillin' rite thurr, in the middle of my lane. At first I thought it was just a snowball, but as I got closer, I soon realized that it was actually a near-bowling-ball-sized chunk of rock. I couldn't maneuver around it into the next lane because there was a white Mazda 3 with an "ARMENIAN PRIDE" sticker on the bumper, windows down, playing loud Armenian music, with two young, cute but overly made-up (make-upped?) dark haired girls - presumably Armenian - talking on their cell phones, completely oblivious to my plight. So, I decided to slow down as much as I could, and swerve away from it as far as possible without careening headfirst into the Armenian rave party taking place in the next vehicle.
I wasn't able to quite swerve far enough safely, though, so the outer part of my wheel and fender launched into the air upon contact with said boulder. Then, something strange happened - time slowed down, just like in Dredd 3D (the most underrated action movie of 2012, if you ask me), and that fraction of a second stretched out to feel like a good 2 minutes. With a loud, long "thuuuuump!", I felt the right side of the car lift up slowly, almost sending me into a totally rad "Knight Rider" 45-degree 2-wheel stunt position. Ryu, who was in the passenger seat, caught the brunt of the blow. I turned my head in super-slomo and saw him catch some serious air as the seat springboarded him towards the roof, though thankfully not all the way into it. His paws and tail never even moved or flinched, he just stayed suspended in the air like in those cartoons where Wile E. Coyote gets the ground pulled out from under him and keeps hanging in mid-air for a while. I couldn't tell if he was excited or petrified as his look for both - mouth slightly open, eyes wide, tongue sticking out like a goofy, well, Goofy - are one and the same. I'll choose to continue to believe that he had a blast and felt like an astronaut dog, joining the ranks of dogs like Laika. Still in slow motion, the car landed back on its right side with a lurch, sending the boulder torpedoeing across the curb and sidewalk, which at the time was gracefully devoid of any pedestrians. The telltale hissing of deflating rubber and the ever-growing "taka-taka-taka-TAKA" of a flat told me that I should stop the car, like, soon, as time started accelerating back to normal-speed.
Pulling off into the deserted Bois-Franc train station's parking lot, I stopped to assess the damage. It was pretty bad. 1-month-old Tire: completely destroyed. Rim: completely bent. Bodywork / fender: cracked behind and in front of the right wheel. I jacked up he car, got the wheel off, and put on the spare - before noticing that it also was seriously lacking in the air department. "Fuck it", I said - an exclamation of reluctant resignation that has been almost single-handedly responsible for holding my shit together for the past year or so - and I drove the rest of the way home with a dangerously-low spare tire. I don't know if any other damage has been done to the steering, suspension or drivetrain. I limped the car to my garage today and left it there so hopefully it's not too horrible. Fingers crossed.
I'm still uncertain as to whether the rock was placed there by kids as some sort of super-lame prank (my pranks as a troubled teen were, objectively, much funnier and much less destructive) or if it was just another byproduct of the drippingly corrupt organized crime cartel that somehow continues to pass for the construction industry in Québec (there was a construction zone with other, similar rocks a block away). I briefly considered sending the repair bill to the Sicilian mob, but I couldn't find a mailing address. I finally decided that, perhaps, I should just cut my losses and chalk this one up to bad luck.
I got home, brushed my teeth, and passed out on the couch. This morning, I woke up extra-wary of large rocks, and the whole way to work on the subway, I found myself wishing only one thing - that I could harness the superpower to slow down time like that on command, whenever I wanted to. I would use my powers for good, of course. Mostly.