Thursday, April 12, 2007

Something Terrible Happened Today

Well, it happens every day, many times a day, but this was a first for me. I was running late for work and my car was freakishly facing Fletcher instead of being in the driveway due to trashcans blocking my way the night before, so I decided to start my morning commute on Fletcher. As soon as I turned right on Fletcher, I was stopped at the light where the off ramp is for the Glendale Freeway.

Just as the light changed or was about to change, I heard a tremendous thud on my left. I instantly thought it was an accident and swerved my head left and gripped my steering wheel in fear. What I saw I never in my life would have thought I would see. I saw a man literally flying in the air, obviously just hit my the older gentleman's car coming off the off ramp.

It was as if time stood still. There must have been 3 or 4 other people in cars around me that heard and saw the same thing. I have no idea. It was like everyone was paralyzed by the sheer astonishment of what we just saw. I looked at my blackberry and couldn't figure out how to operate the phone. I paused. Then, I pulled out my regular cell phone and called 911.

And was put on hold. By now, I had edged my car slightly out of traffic, but still was shaking and in a state of disbelief. Finally, 911 got on the phone, and I breathlessly told them what had happened and to send help NOW. They said to please hold while they connect the fire department. The man was still not moving and in an unbelievable fetal position. I thought, "is this what people do when traumatized? their body automatically falls into the fetal position?".

The fire department got on the horn and I retold my story, trying to figure out which off ramp it is. They tell me help is on the way and I just implore them to hurry. I am still in my car. The man is not moving. The man who hit him seems to be in another world. It is surreal.

The cops arrive. I hear other sirens. The highway patrol call me on my cell and ask me to be a witness. I drive off to work.

I don't know if the man is alive or not; I hope he is, but suspect he's not.

As Vonnegut would say, "and so it goes." It was terrible.


John August said...

Miles --

So sorry to hear of it. One of those moments where if you'd been through there 60 seconds earlier, you would have never known. It forces you to appreciate every moment where things are good simply because you know they might not be, for reasons you can never anticipate.

Miles said...

So, true. And not a word about it in the news or anything. And yet it will affect the people involved --some forever and some for a very long time. So strange.