Life in Perspective

This is going to sound… I have no idea how it’s going to sound.  Today at lunch, I walked a few blocks away to where all the big shops are.  Save-On-Foods, Whole Foods, Canadian Tire, HomeSense… anyway, I had my headphones on like normal, not really paying attention, like normal.  All of a sudden the ‘screech’ of tires stopping fast, and a funny sound of an accident.  I’ve heard accidents before.  There a big crash of metal and glass.  This was different.  I turned around, a little confused, and twenty feet away from me is a white can, stopped, and an older woman lying on the ground, half pinned under the vehicle.

Even typing it makes my stomach feel really weird.  Rest assured, she was okay.  I mean no, she’s not okay, she broke her leg for sure.  She cried out in pain, and the young man driving didn’t realize he’d pinned her.  He got out of the car to run around to her, and she was screaming, so he quickly got back in the car to back up.  It was awful.  I can’t imagine what she must have felt.  Those agonizingly long minutes stuff and in pain.

Now here’s where it’s going to sound… something… selfish maybe.  Because it’ll become all about me.  I didn’t know what to do with myself afterwards.  I stood there for what felt like an hour, but was probably fifteen minutes.  I waited until the ambulance came, and still waited.  I stayed apart of the group that had crowded, but I couldn’t tear myself away.  The older woman was helped really quickly, and while I’m very sorry that she’s probably going to be hurt pretty badly because of this, I’m glad she’s probably going to be okay barring any complications.

All the way back to the office I thought of one thing.  What if that had been me?  And I don’t mean that I’m more important, but I mean… what if my life had ended right then, or at least changed forever.  I would leave this world and this would be the last way I felt.  This time in my life would be the last.  This awful, stressful, frustrating time in my life would be my last.

While I stood there watching the scene, a woman came up to me, all wide-eyed with ‘what happened?’.  I sort of mumbled that the woman got hit by a car.  She started firing questions at me.  Did the car drive away? Where was she hit?  How long ago?  It was the rapid-fire quizzing match of someone who desperately wanted to be part of something happening.  I’d love to trade places with her.  But it did make me consider the young man who’d been in the van.  Maybe mid twenties, dressed casually in jeans and a hoodie.  He didn’t drive away.  He stopped and stayed with the woman the entire time.  He took off his hoodie to give her something to lay on.  He asked someone in the crowd for their coat because she was shivering, maybe in shock, but it didn’t matter why.  He made sure someone called the ambulance.  I didn’t see who was at fault, but this young man is going to forever have hit someone with his car and pinned her underneath.  He’ll remember getting back in his van and backing up to free her, knowing he was driving over her leg.  He was probably terrified, and this woman quizzing me started immediately going on about how it was his fault.  It may be his fault, but he didn’t mean it.  Maybe he didn’t see her, maybe he yawned at the wrong moment, but he did not maliciously hurt this older woman.

I feel terrible, and yet it didn’t happen to me.  There’s some kind of selfishness that comes with witnessing a scene like this.  The ‘you’ll never guess what happened to me at lunch today’ mentality that I know a lot of people have.  I witness an accident, and it affected me.  But I wasn’t in the accident.  I’m not hurt, and I’m not responsible for hurting someone.

Here’s what it does mean to me.  In that moment, I thought of the hospital.  I thought of this poor woman in the hospital.  I thought of my dad in the hospital.  I remember what it was like when he passed away in the hospital.  I remembered all the smells of the hospital, which I’ve had nightmares about for years.  I thought of me in the hospital, and how frightened I am of them after what I’ve been through.  I thought of me.  I thought of the woman hurt, the young man frightened, and me.  I didn’t want to be part of what had just happened.  This woman frantically trying to feel involved, shouting questions at me, she has no idea.  She couldn’t pick up the exasperation in my voice at her inane questions.  All I wanted to do is walk away and pretend it never happened, that I’d never seen it.

I feel both inspired to make sure my life is worth living, with happiness and excitement, and sick because I realize it’s not at the moment.  Am I wasting time?  I’m 28.  Soon I’m going to be 30.  I’ve never been an age person before, but all of a sudden it feels like it matters.  What have I done?  What have I accomplished?  Instead of lifting me up and making me appreciate life, this event seems to have sunk me into a hole of depression.

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