November 3rd, 2007

And how was your workday?

Yesterday, about 11 a.m., I happened to glance out the front door of the bookstore just in time to see a car careen up onto the sidewalk across the street and slam into a traffic light.

It took me a moment to realize that the flying stuff was parts of both car and traffic light. We could see two people in the front of the car. From a distance, they looked uninjured. Ricky ran out to check on them while I called the police. As I was waiting for my call to connect (which took about two minutes - that's reassuring, eh?), Ricky ran back and told me the driver was seriously injured, with a clearly broken arm, nose, and other smaller injuries. It was an elderly woman; the passenger (who had nothing beyond whiplash) was her sister. I sat on hold with the fire/paramedics line for another five minutes; when I was finally connected, they told me someone else had already reported the accident, and help was on the way.

Ricky stayed with the ladies until the paramedics arrived. At first I was nervous about the mix of smoke pouring from under the hood, the fluids gushing from beneath, and the electrical wires splayed out across the asphalt, but Ricky assured me none of the liquids were gas, and the wires weren't live. The driver was concerned first as to whether she'd hit anyone (it's a miracle she didn't, frankly - it's a very busy crosswalk), and then wondered where her wig had gone (it was knocked off into the backseat). Ricky told her not to worry about the wig. The paramedics arrived, and were incredibly rude to Ricky, who'd kept the women calm and comforted for nearly ten minutes. The two women were very grateful to him, before the strutting little general who called himself a paramedic took over.

We watched from a distance as they applied a splint to the woman's arm, then it took five firefighters to get her out of the car (although she couldn't have weighed more than ninety pounds). After the ambulance left, other firefighters and maintenance people appeared to extricate the car from the wreckage and tow it off, sweep up the debris, and finally repair the traffic light (which, amazingly enough, they did very quickly - I guess this happens a lot).

We still have no idea why the woman hit the traffic light; she didn't even seem to brake, and we figure was going about 30 mph when she hit it. I'm afraid it's one more case of someone who really is too elderly to be driving any longer. I hope she's okay, but I also hope she takes cabs from now on.

As for the brilliance of our system...well, between my lengthy phone hold and a paramedic with more attitude than common sense, I'm more convinced than ever that we're all doomed.

At least my man looks even more heroic today.