Saturday, February 18, 2012


Holy cow...

Just now getting back inside and sitting down, relieved.  A little over an hour ago I was sitting here, messing about on the internets, when I heard brief skidding of tires, a crunch, and a very loud boom.  I immediately went for my shoes, I knew what had happened.  It's happened before.  But this one was a lot louder.  The whole time I was getting my shoes tied I was thinking, "Nobody be hurt, nobody be dead." 

A little geographical explanation is in order.  I live on the side of a hill; the road is fairly steep and ends in a T intersection.  But it continues forward, down, into a sharply curving private driveway for some condos.  Beyond the curve of this driveway is a low barrier of granite boulders.  The ground slopes sharply down past the boulders and beyond are trees and empty space.

It's not unusual for cars to think the driveway is a road that keeps going straight, so now and then you hear a squeal of tires and a crunch.  Especially when people are driving too fast and it's raining or snowy out.  Usually they stop against the curb or, at the worst, have left the road and are sitting astride that mound of granite boulders.

This time when I went down to the bottom of the street, phone and flashlight in hand, I saw no car in the driveway, no car on the rocks.  I got to the edge of the slope and saw, a good thirty or fourty feet down the hill, the headlights of a completely mangled car facing the wrong way.  It must have gone airborne for a second to get down there.  But I also saw a young guy standing beside the car already on the phone with 911.  There was a passenger clambering out, too, and nobody was seriously hurt beyond a minor but stubbornly bleeding cut on his thumb.  Thank goodness.

I made my way down there, asking repeatedly if everyone was all right.  The wide-eyed passenger staggered over to me and I patted him on the back.  He clung briefly to my coat.  I looked again at the car up close.  The front end was smashed beyond recognition.  The engine wasn't a part of the car anymore.  Those boys were lucky to be alive, much less nearly unscathed.  I escorted them up the hill and into a neighbor's house so the injured guy could wash up and get something on his cut.  A couple minutes later, a firetruck with sirens on arrived, the first of a parade of flashing lights.  An ambulance, two police cars, and traffic patrol car were all jostling for space at the bottom of the street.  Later on, two flatbeds, one with a crane, joined the fray.

The guys were fine, though understandably dazed.  Turns out the driver had bought that car for himself just two months ago.  Well, that sucks pretty hard.  But I guess any wreck you can walk away from is a good one.  Just now I hear the tortured squeals of metal as the car is being hauled up by the crane.  I'm just glad everyone's okay.

It's not been the first time I've gone down to investigate a crash.  These things usually happen at night, and I'm a night owl, so I'm usually the only one to hear it happen.  Twice in the past few months (once just a week or two ago), I've been the first one, or only one, to go down after a loud crunch to find badly damaged cars on top of the rocks, up against the trees.  Those times it was young women driving alone, and thankfully uninjured.  Both times I invited the bewildered drivers (and their friends who would arrive later) inside my house out of the cold and rain to smoke and wait for the wreckers to come.  It feels nice to be able to give people a little comfort.

On a funnier note, the last time I invited the young woman inside I started to worry as I was leading her back up the street.  I had been scanning this pile of hundreds of assorted old bondage photos, clippings from magazines from my youth, just for the fun of it.  Bound, gagged women.  Well, that pile of photos was beside the scanner, which was near the door and clearly visible to anyone coming in.  What would she think if she, after a bad accident and all alone, saw that upon entering the house of a smiling stranger in the middle of the stormy night?  And what could I say in way of explanation?  "Oh, don't mind those, my dear.  Step right inside, make yourself comfortable."  It's like the set up of a typical horror movie.  Luckily, I entered first and was able to casually spread my coat right on top of the pile of bound damsels.  Out of sight, out of mind.  All was well.

And all is well.  Thank goodness.

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