Catastrophic – 1 Moment of Rush and a Tragic Memory
… any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne
A moment of rush
A silver car races by, changes lanes and hurtles onto the slip road. Next, it’s hard behind another car which, intimidated, moves aside in a less than graceful (dangerous?) manoeuvre.
The racer charges on down the narrowing entry to the main road, locked in a moment of rush. With flashes of brake lights, he storms through the traffic and lunges into the outside lane. Brake lights glaring, his tyres smoke as he barely avoids rear-ending someone.
I watch the show, thinking, “cruising for a bruising”, and then “fool!” I wonder what the stats are for the number of crazy driving incidents per crash? Today there will be repercussions. For the driver, a serious incident is a few minutes away and closing. For me, it takes longer.
Slow and steady behind the rushing man
I rumble along, gathering speed and settle at seventy once the traffic clears. I pass another junction. Then about five minutes later, hazard lights wink on ahead.
Ahead, cars slow and move aside, creating an empty roadway in the middle of the lanes. I slow to a crawl and stop. Before long, emergency vehicles appear, having their own moment of rush as they respond to an emergency. A thought flits through my mind. I feel an emergency situation frisson as I watch them flow past blue lights flashing and sirens wailing.
Harsh memory from someone’s moment of rush
I saw a woman on an English motorway once, hanging dead from her seat belt, her car crushed vertically to the Armco on a motorway, arms dangling against a steering wheel she’d never hold again. I push the thought away, but the memory hovers around my mind like a mosquito.
There but for the grace of God go I.” John Bradford
The traffic police bring order, and, after a while, we’re moving. Along the road, I see the boy racer’s silver car. Many panels are battered a wheel is badly out of line. Along the road, there’s a red car with a smashed windscreen and wrecked bodywork.
Up ahead, an ambulance is at the roadside, blue lights flashing. Paramedics and firefighters are working on an injured person. I don’t rubber neck. I offer a little prayer for the people involved and drive on.
Who loves you, crazy?
I check the news. Nobody is dead, and two are being treated in hospital, all for a moment of rush. Fantastic. Will they learn?
A woman still dangles from her seat belt. She’s been lolling there for thirty years. Her image is my personal memorial to an unknown victim.
© Mac Logan