A Near Accident. Or, Rather, Near an Accident.
I was witness to a car accident early this morning. It happened right in front of me, and less than a block from my parking garage at work. It was on a two-lane one-way access road, which curves sharply to the left. A tractor-trailer in the right-hand lane took the left curve a bit narrowly, crossing into our lane, and the hatchback directly in front of me got wrenched under the trailer, with a metallic squeak and crunch.
The woman in the hatchback was fine. She was obviously a nurse at our hospital, and super pissed off. The front passenger side of her car was impacted underneath the box-car and back set of wheels of the truck, and between the two vehicles, there was not an inch of space to get around. Traffic backed up behind us fast, and people started honking: alot of hospital employees trying to get to work for the 7:00 shift.
“What the hell do you want me to do?” yelled the nurse.The honking stopped.
The guy driving the truck shuffled around sheepishly, checking and re-checking the scene.
Even though it was directly in front of me, I couldn’t tell exactly what happened. Did the truck really cross over into our lane? Was the hatchback too far into the right lane, did it miss that left curve and drive into the truck? All I knew was I was jolted out of my mindless morning task-organizing-planning/panic: I am so, so tired. ..Am I going to have enough time before my clinic to review charts and draft notes?…. Got to finish my notes from Wednesday… Got to remember to mail these letters… We have to get the autism evaluation packet completed and sent in, when am I going to do that?… So tired… And that refinancing paperwork…What else did the refinancing people need me to do?…Oh yeah, copy my renewed driver’s license when it arrives…and I need to email that billing manager about that recurring glitch… How am I going to visit my inpatient and still get home before rush hour?…
Then, JOLT. Crash. Wakeup. THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ME.
I was really pretty relieved that was not me. So I just sat there with the radio on, waiting.
People behind me started getting out of their cars to check out the accident scene, and I think to see if the truck and the lady could pull off to the side and let us pass. I rolled down my window to listen in:
“I’m not moving ’til the cops get here,” snapped the nurse at one of these nosy folks. “I’m not even sure my car will drive.”
Ooohkaaay. I settled in and decided not to stress. If I was late to clinic, I was late. What can you do about a car accident?
But the people behind me, some very impatient people there. People started driving UP over a pretty substantial curb and ONTO THE SIDEWALK, DOWN STRETCH OF SIDEWALK, IN THEIR CARS, and then down another curb, then wrong-way down a one-way side street, to get to the parking garage. There were confused pedestrians jumping out of the way. Crazy.
I admit, I briefly considered trying this, but then I decided that was not necessary-crazy, just stupid-crazy. So I sat.
And within fifteen minutes or so, a policeman arrived. He directed the truck driver to slowly and carefully back up at such an angle as to release the pinned hatchback. The lady got in and though her front passenger side was misshapen, she was able to pull off to the side of the road.
I was free to move again, and I got to my parking spot, and to work on time.
I did not stress, all day long. So glad no one was hurt. SO GLAD THAT WAS NOT ME.