The catalyst almost killed us

We were driving in rush hour traffic just after sunset. Although New Mexico was getting hammered by a snowstorm, the roads near us were only wet, not slushy or icy. Driving east on Indian School, we intended to turn north on San Pedro. The traffic light at that T-intersection was dark (not blinking, no light at all, not even a street light). Everyone was treating the situation as a 3-way stop. Two lanes southbound, two lanes northbound, our two lanes turning from east to northbound, plus a third land turning from east to southbound. Traffic was proceeding smoothly, despite the tricky situation.

A car northbound in the lane we would turn into took its turn. Before we could turn next, another car slipped through after that one. Call this one the catalyst. True to the word, that car was unaffected by a process that depended on it. The driver was a little opportunistic, perhaps a bit rude, not obviously dangerous. We started our turn (in two senses of the word). As we turned, a northbound white pickup flew through the intersection in the lane we were turning into. To me, it appeared out of nowhere because the car to its left, waiting its turn, blocked my view of approaching truck. I slammed on the brakes and hit the horn simultaneously as the truck slipped by in front of us. Seconds separated us from a passenger-side collision. Perhaps just the front of our truck would have been hit. Perhaps Merri’s door. Perhaps we would have been shoved into the two lanes of south-bound traffic. In this Universe, we don’t know, but in another … death and destruction.

To give you a sense of how quickly this transpired, neither Merri nor I had time to be scared. I can’t believe how lucky we were or how close we were to unlucky. I still don’t understand why our standard-transmission truck didn’t stall when I slammed on the brakes. It took a mile before my blood pressure came down again.

I can imagine the perspective of the guy who almost killed us. (In fact, I might have hit him, though at a much slower speed.) That car to his left blocked his view of me. If he doesn’t know the area, he wouldn’t expect cars coming in from the left, with no light and no street to his right (the T).

It’s the catalyst I blame and at whom I am angry. Had he waited his turn, the truck that almost killed us would have seen cars were stopping before going. (Or, would that truck have rear-ended the catalyst?) I assume the catalyst has no clue what his seemingly innocent out-of-turn move could have caused. In another Universe, I track him down and punch him in the face.