Instead of the usual nonsense today, I will just tell the story of last night.
Zombie Girl and I had gone to Wal-Mart, and we were on our way back to my house. Approaching a traffic light in my neighborhood, we saw that it was flashing red, which isn’t usual for this particular light even at 2AM. As we came up to the intersection, we noticed something against the traffic-light-box-control item on the corner. At first it looked like a tree had fallen over onto it, which I thought was odd because I didn’t remember there being a tree on that corner. Then we realized it was a car. Upside-down.
There was absolutely nobody around, and the entire area was completely silent; I thought at first that everything must already have been dealt with, but as I was attempting to tell the 911 operator our location (irritatingly, these two streets happen to intersect twice, and I was like, Uh-duuhhhh, I don’t know which one it is), ZG was turning around to park nearby and she noticed that there was still somebody inside the wrecked car.
I was all running through my CPR steps as we went over, but the only guy in the car was conscious. The 911 op told us not to try to get him out, of course, but he was edging out on his own (backwards). Just then a cop pulled up, and he helped the guy into a sitting position on the curb. He asked him what happened, but the guy said he didn’t remember. After that he pretty well only said, “My leg hurts a lot.” Which made sense, considering the angles various parts of it were at.
He didn’t have a lot of blood on him, but he was very incoherent. ZG said she heard him say his name was Scott, but didn’t catch a last name; we were sorry about that, because we would very much like to know what happens to him. Of course it was a good sign that he was able to speak, but still…
Another cop car showed up soon after, and then the paramedics. Fortunately, there are, like, three fire stations in the immediate vicinity, one of them exactly a block from where we were. Before we left, I took a couple of pictures. Funny the things humans want hard evidence of, isn’t it? I think mostly I just wanted to catch the remarkable angle this car was at.
I can’t imagine how this happened. Nobody saw it. I don’t even know if the gas station across the street is open 24 hours these days. There’s a dip in the road there from which you can get airborne if you’re going fast enough, which probably helped, but still… upside-down…
This was the second time I’ve called 911 in my life. The first time was also for a car accident, but in that instance I was not the first one on the scene, just the first one close to a phone.
Anyway, ZG and I were so shaken that we went to my house and sat there for an hour just calming down. She put on nail polish and I read her, like, six parts of Plastic. After that I turned on Wizard People to distract myself, because I couldn’t stop dwelling on it. I didn’t envy ZG her long drive home. I did finally get to sleep, but today it was the first thing on my mind again. It could have been 100 times worse, but it was still very disconcerting.
Interestingly, back in 2003, I once drove through that same intersection just after a bad accident had occurred there, and then wrote a poem about it. It doesn’t reflect my exact feelings in this instance, since back then I was just passing through, but I figure I’ll post it anyway because it was the same intersection, about a mile from my house.
I watched you as you came closer.
But in reality it was I who was approaching,
And you who would never move again.
I crossed as you would have —
And looked back,
And that was all I could do:
Even if I had the skills,
I wouldn’t have the right.
And though I wish I could know more,
Speed and necessity prevented it.
So I looked back —
And wished —
And watched the flashing lights —
And wondered —
Is it safe to assume we might have touched if not for this?
No, nothing is safe, when such a thing occurs so close to home.
So I looked back —
And watched the lights —
— fading —
that I had the skills,
And the right;
that I’d known you;
that the intersection
were not so close to home.