July 12, 2007

A Bad Day

So, last night my shifter lever fell off.

Not really a big deal, but it did mean that I couldn't ride today. The nut had gone AWOL, and I couldn't find a replacement here at home, so I wasn't about to ride it the 30 km to work! I had hoped to take the bolt (still, amazingly, attached) to the auto shop today, but couldn't reach the head of the bolt without putting the bike on it's centre stand - which I couldn't do single handedly. Guzzis are not feather-light bikes.

I've found out that my dad's cancer treatment means he's 75% sure - if it doesn't show up in the next 6 months - to be clear of the disease for at least the next five years. Which means a 25% chance the other way.

On a lighter note, a friend who was hoping to get away with the Significant Other and I for (of all things) tea at the Empress can't make it. It's one of our frequent bouts of silliness we engage in, and it's unfortunate she won't be able to make it. Silliness is always funner shared.

So bused it in, stole the truck from the S.O., and got to work 15 minutes late, only to find that work had piled up during my weekend (Tues-Wed). Ended up playing catch-up all day, but after eight and a half without a break, I'm ready for tomorrow. I check the oil (the truck's been pissing it away, and we haven't had time to track it down) and head for home, where I've got the second half of the yard to weed eat. I can only manage half at a time, as I'm ridiculously allergic to grass pollens and we're out of my drugs. But it's okay - I only have to shower to breathe normally again.

There are a couple of delays on the road home, as the construction crews are in full rip/repair mode to correct the hideous damage they did last year, but again it's no big deal as I knew it was happening and expected it.

Driving along a straight stretch, I watch as the driver ahead of me drifts across the oncoming lane and down the embankment on the other side of the highway.

Immediate stop; flashers on; across I go. It's some kind of SUV (Hyundai, I think), and it took out a few small trees, but it's upright. Engine's still on; sounds of someone crying inside; no smell of gasoline or oil; no smoke outside, no white clouds (airbag propellant) inside; all four wheels on the ground (no risk of rollover). Quick scramble through some brambles, open the first door I reach (passenger side rear): one occupant; no blood; seatbelt on; crying.

As good as it gets.

Across to her door, force it open; talk to the driver as I reach across to switch her car (an automatic, thankfully) into park and turn off the ignition. I find her cell phone on the floor, but someone on the road has already called the paramedics. She's stunned, but moving her hands as she speaks (more good news), even though she doesn't feel any pain yet, I keep her in the car with her seat belt on - the car is still pointing down hill, and I don't think she'll be able to find footing on the terrain.

We chat.

She's just come from having coffee with her best friend, where they went over the detail of her husband's funeral. Oh God - this is her only vehicle, and he'll be waiting at home for her! She has to get home. He's home for the last two weeks of his life, and now their only car is wrecked.

I keep her in the car.

We can't get a signal on her cell phone (it's erratic here in the mountains, and perhaps especially down a small hill), but her friend is up on the road and makes the call to the driver's sister, who is at the driver's home looking after her husband.

Her friend, it ends up, was two cars behind me and watched her drive off the road.

She asks where I'm from, and do I know her son, and she doesn't know what happened and what will she do now? She only has one vehicle, and she can just imagine the fight with ICBC to let her keep it, at least getting what needs to be repaired as quickly as possible.

She's starting to feel pain now: in her hip, her back, and her neck. Her friend has made it down the incline, and is now sitting in the passenger seat, and our conversation goes three-way. The friend starts talking in mystical terms, about how this was meant to happen. I shut up for a while - there's a time and a place for everything.

The paramedics arrive, and it's time for me to go. The driver gives my hand a squeeze, and smiles, and says "thank you." I smile back and wish her luck, then climb out to give the meds what information I have. Then to home, where I have to weed eat a beautiful garden in my back yard that my simply amazing S.O. built.

That bad day I was talking about? It wasn't mine.


posted by Thursday at 8:27 pm


Blogger pretty shaved ape said...

and here i was just getting set to feel sorry for myself. damn. thanks for being there. if i'm ever in need, i hope there's someone with your decency close at hand. cheers.

5:13 pm  
Blogger Thursday said...

It was a bit of a reminder for me, too. I ended up quitting my job the next day (not a recommended response for everyone).

On the plus side, I do have first aid, so I feel confident enough in my abilities to do something if they were needed. They haven't been yet, thankfully enough!

It's the second time I've watched someone drive off the highway here; which is odd, as it's a very well engineered road...

Thanks for the comment, mate.

9:13 pm  

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