Today I was complaining on Twitter about a loud neighbor child who while playing outside CONSISTENTLY and PERSISTENTLY makes a loud, grating, "motor" sound (EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!) that can't be good either for his throat or my ears, and then I heard a screech of tires and an unmistakable sound of 1.5 tons of metal hitting another 1.5 tons of metal, and then the sound of a woman crying out. And there is NO connection here to the child making the grating sound, except that I was complaining about him shortly before it happened: he was neither injured nor involved, and in fact had gone inside already. But _I_ was rocketing out of my chair and into the yard within seconds (I HOPE it was within seconds, and that I didn't sit there insensate for awhile before responding), calling out to anyone I saw, "Is anyone hurt?" "Has anyone called 911?" And I don't know why I did that, because no one can provide answers to that kind of question 10 seconds after a crash and/or BEFORE the point at which someone should be dialing 911. After my first "I don't know!" answer, I ran back into my house and called 911 and cursed the gods who gave me a voice that shakes so hard in times like this. My goal is to avoid the throat-clamped feeling of tears, or at least to plow through them and speak anyway. Even if they TRANSFER me and make me say it AGAIN, which is what they did.
And here is what I've noticed: that you can live a mile and a half from the nearest emergency response station, and it can still take a full year to hear sirens. You can wait, and wait, and wait, and still there is a car way down off the road in a ditch and another car through the neighbor's fence and into the neighbor's yard, and nothing is HAPPENING, and traffic is backing up and still no one is there. And yet, 45 minutes later and the ambulances have left and the cars have been towed and the police officers who were directing traffic have gotten back in their cars and driven off. And how can that be, when a year passed before they arrived?
Well. Clearly they need to put updates in the local paper, because NO I don't know what happened, and I couldn't figure it out from the position of the cars. One woman was taken away with her arm in a sling, and that was from the car that looked fine. The other car had a building and an ambulance between it and me, but after the passenger or passengers had been removed and the tow truck was hauling it up out of the ditch, I could see the entire front part was crumpled, with part of it dangling off, and both airbags were in the front seats. Which is as it should be: air bags should deploy, the front should crumple to absorb the impact before the impact reaches anything made of flesh and bones.
But I couldn't SEE much out my window. I saw people coming to my neighbors' house and getting paper towels and heading back to the car that was in the ditch. I heard a bystander say "...wasn't belted in..." I saw emergency personnel standing around looking casual. The ambulances didn't have sirens on when they left. My neighbor started sweeping up the mess in her yard. Most of these things point to everything being okay---just a scary thing that happened and then everything started up again and turned into insurance claims.
Did I ever tell you about the accident I was in when I was 17? I was driving a pick-up truck home from a used book store with my best friend, and I was fiddling with the radio, and I dipped onto the soft shoulder and overreacted, spinning the wheel way too hard back onto the road. And we hit a tree, and we hit it roof-first and in the opposite direction of the one in which we'd been traveling, and the rear-view mirror ended up between our heads. It seemed to me that the ambulance arrived seconds later, and when they asked me if I'd hit my head, I said no, but it took many hair-washings to get all the windshield glass out of the lump on my head. And when we were in the ambulance, the ambulance guy said to me, "Man, when we saw the truck, we didn't expect to find...but there you were, grinning!"
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...