Saturday, 1 June 2013
A matter of minutes
I was already late, having just given the Accent Snob his pull around the block so he could await our return in relative comfort. As I reached the corner, I saw my bus long before I should because it was parked well behind the bus stop. A few more steps and I knew why. There was an overturned car on the sidewalk in front of the seniors' residence. It was balanced precariously on its crumpled and smoking roof. I made a quick decision to cross the street to make a path well away from the ambulance and the accumulating crowd. I could see police and paramedics leaning in gingerly to speak to someone who was evidently still in the car.
Bewildered, I asked a knot of onlookers at the next light when this had happened. "About four minutes ago," someone replied. I felt something shudder and drop from my chest to the pit of my stomach. About four minutes before, I would have normally been standing almost exactly where that upside-down car was now teetering. I averted my eyes from the knocked-over mailbox, the chunks of cement planter and what appeared to be puddles of red, and hurried to catch a bus on an alternate route where a loud-ish lady informed me that "people waiting at the stop were hurt".
Shakily, I fumbled text messages to the Resident Fan Boy and elder daughter, then proceeded to Nepean to retrieve younger daughter.
That evening, I strolled out to the drug store and saw workmen blocking the broken panes of glass with fibreboard. I caught the eye of one of the young men and grimaced.
"This was pretty terrifying"
"Yeah. Good thing no one was hurt."
"Uh... Three people went to hospital, and two of them had serious injuries."
"Oh? The insurance guy was just here and he said no one was hurt."
Well, he would, I thought, picking my way through some leftover debris in the crosswalk. "Serious non-life-threatening injuries", the reports had said. To most people, this seems to mean "okay". No one seems to consider that people who drop out of the news reports because they haven't actually died, face weeks, months, or even years of recovery -- or even no recovery at all, especially if a brain injury is involved.
Elder daughter tells me she's never been so glad that we have a dog.