Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Close Call

Ethan and I were nearly hit by a car yesterday. I have relived the scene in my head about a million times since.

We were out bike riding around our neighbourhood, when we came to cross the last street before home. Ethan got off his bike, pressed the walk signal, and we waited. There were two ladies with a stroller waiting to cross opposite us. Two or more cars were waiting to turn left onto 152nd (which we were crossing) and the cars travelling along 152nd stopped when their light went red. Here, lemme ‘splain:

So when we saw the walk signal, Ethan walked his bike and I walked on his right side, my left hand on his right shoulder. We were 1/3 of the way across when I realized that the first car in line to turn left onto 152nd was coming right for us. She had gunned it (I think to beat the stroller) and she was seriously SO about to hit us. HARD.

I pushed Ethan and his bike forward with a huge heave, then snatched my own back foot forward (inches – inches, maybe, if even that much) to avoid being run over. She slammed on her brakes and my face was not even a foot from hers; her van was angled with the front wheel just behind my leg. She put her hands up to her mouth – oh! she said – and I screamed, I mean SCREAMED this guttural roar at her. I slammed my forearm into her driver’s window and YELLED again (not English, not sure what it was) whereupon she took off.

So what did I do? I chased her – yes I left my son in the middle of the road. The two ladies with the stroller were yelling too. She stopped again and I stopped beside her window and YELLED (I inherited my mother’s actress-on-stage gift of projecting from the diaphragm, baby) “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING THAT IS MY CHILD!” and as I raised my arm again (apparently to beat up her car, WTF?) she took off, this time for good. In retrospect I may have hightailed it outta there too if a crazy lady was screeching at jet-engine decibels mere inches from MY face.

The stroller ladies yelled “We got her license” and I ran across four lanes to Ethan. All other cars were stopped even though the 152nd light had gone green. He had very sensibly finished crossing to the other side of the road even though his mother had apparently gone quite insane and was chasing cars like a dog. He played it cool when I knelt down and asked him if he was all right, but his heart was beating pretty hard. Mine hadn’t started again yet.

I held his hand with one of mine and picked up his bike with the other and we turned behind the hedge, where I promptly burst into tears. I stumbled him to the gate and just before we got there, one of the stroller ladies caught us. Stroller Lady Merle (bless your heart, wherever you are) stood there on that sidewalk and hugged me, this complete stranger, until I could breathe again. Then she walked me home so I could write down the license and her name and number. She made me promise to call it into the police. And I did.

I KNOW it was probably pure accident, and I KNOW the lady was probably pretty freaked out, but I HAD TO call it in. She was an older lady, what if she was unsafe to drive? What if she had done this before? What if she accidentally did it again, but the next mom didn’t get her kid out of the way in time? The police did take it pretty seriously; they put out an alert to the squad cars in the area. If they saw a vehicle matching, they would pull her over and talk to her. And if she had any prior vehicle incidents, too bad for her. And if she has any in the future, this will not look good.

Don’t mess with Mama Bear.

That lady’s lucky I didn’t roll her van over through sheer adrenalin.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

You go girl! Don't mess with the Mommy!
I'd react like that too, a force of adrenalin to be reckoned with, and then blat, a bundle of blubber. I'm like that a lot actually.