Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Some Stories Just Write Themselves

First off, thanks to all of you who've encouraged me to stop being such a pantywaist about the blogging. After thinking about it a lot, I've concluded that I've wildly overthought the whole thing. Too much fretting about the format and the like. As any Stallone movie goes to show you, they don't all have to be Oscar winners.

Second off, it's a walk in the park when you have good material. To that end, I would like to thank the woman who drove her car into my house yesterday.

No kidding.

Yesterday afternoon a little after 5:00, I was in the kitchen pouring myself a cup of coffee when I heard a similar sound to the one you hear when a ton or so of snow slides off the roof. Kind of a whoomp-THUD. Or maybe a shhhhhp-BOOM. Regardless, given the June timeframe, I was pretty sure there was no snow involved.

So I poked my head outside and saw this red Accord sedan sitting in the street at a weird angle. The front right tire's blown and resting against the curbstone. Both airbags had deployed. It began to look as though my afternoon snack would have to wait, so I made it down the stairs and looked into the car.

The 60-ish woman behind the wheel was unconscious, having a seizure and generally having a really bad afternoon. [UPDATE: The Transcript is reporting a correction; apparently what I was saw was an 'unknown medical condition', and not a seizure.] I caught a glimpse of a child seat in the back. My stomach lurched, but I did not see any evidence of an occupant. A good sized patch of my front lawn was scattered over a few hundred square feet and there was an Accord-sized hole in my front porch. A passerby notified 911, my next door neighbors came out to help, and EMS arrived in a couple minutes.

Now, it seems that lights and sirens are an invitation to some kind of gruesome block party. The entire rest of the neighborhood turned out within minutes to catch a glimpse of a severed limb, or somebody resisting arrest, or who knows what. But soon I had a big enough crowd standing around that I was mulling over mixing up a batch of lemonade and grilling some steak tips. I'd have made a fortune.

As it was, I was pretty embarrassed over not having mowed my lawn for a while. It was like my front yard was wearing dirty underwear when it had an accident.

I grabbed my camera to take some pictures. I got up to the hole in the porch and a firefighter started yelling at me to get away from there.

"My house!" I said, less than eloquently, then proceeded to slip and fall down the hill. Perhaps that's what the multitudes had assembled to see. I gave myself a 9.375, as I didn't quite stick the landing the way I normally like to.

Forensically, it looks like the car must have come screaming north up Wall Street (the street with the cones in the 2nd picture). No skid marks on the road, so she probably charged straight up my hill, into my porch, stalled, then rolled back down, turning 45 degrees counterclockwise and ending up against the curb. Notice no dirt tracks on the way UP to the hole, but there's a trail following the front tires down the hill. It really could have been a lot worse--a few feet to the left and she takes out two of our cars in the driveway at full speed. Or a bad bounce leaves her upside-down at the end of our driveway.

Thanks to the story in the paper, we know who the driver is now. As of this writing, she's still in the CCU. Tara's dropping her a card and flowers this afternoon. She really does have our best wishes for a speedy recovery.

So now it starts. There's some structural damage to the porch, the lawn is all torn up, and now we begin to work with the insurance industry to see who's going to sue whom first. Obviously I'll keep everybody updated.

Here's the link to the story in the North Adams Transcript. This kind of celebrity I do not need.

Still, it's nice to be back.