I dropped the kids off at school and began my focused missions for the day. Less than 5 minutes and 2 miles later, my mission was momentarily stalled while I waited for the car in front of me to turn left in one of those maddening places where it takes forever to find an open spot to sneak through. I saw a car in my rear view mirror also waiting for the said car to turn left. Just as the car found its opportunity, before I could put my foot on the gas pedal, I heard a loud crash and in less than the second that it took me to register that the car behind me had been hit, I was the recipient of the 2nd hand crash when the hit car then smacked into me. It wasn't that forceful, but I was rattled with a substantial amount of annoyance and irritability, knowing what would happen next....the waiting for the police, the exchange of information, the delay of my day, the trips to the body shop, etc. etc. Plus, it was freezing and I didn't want to get out of my car.
Regardless, I got out of my car and immediately surmised that the damage to the other cars had been quite bad. An elderly man limped out of his car, a cast already on his left foot. The entire front of his car was smashed like an accordion with smoke and lethal green battery acid pouring over the street. He was obviously in shock, but made a point to apologize and tell us all that it was his fault, that his foot had slipped from his brake pedal. I offered him my cell phone, but he confessed that he had never used a cell phone and his hands were shaking too badly to use it, even if he knew how. I called his daughter at work and she said she was on her way in a tone that revealed that she knew this day would come. The man refused to sit down and was worried about the two dogs in his car. The driver of the second vehicle came out and was surprisingly calm and pleasant. We called the police and a fire engine came quickly to diffuse the acid situation. A few people ran over to make sure we were ok and to offer assistance. One woman who had just finished an all night shift of work and was heading to her second job, gave up her free hour to give the police a witness report and offer hot coffee to anyone else waiting. Another woman came out of her house to offer the dogs a warm place to wait.
It did take a long time. It was freezing. It did take a big chunk out of my day.
But it wasn't annoying.
How could I be mad at a cute, rattled 89 year old man who hasn't quite come to terms with his aging body?
I got to meet people that I would never have met otherwise.
I saw my community in kind and thoughtful action.
A nice distraction from my focused missions.