Sunday, 9 November 2008

Last night

A car drove into my apartment block this morning. I woke up to the squeal and crash of it, the shudder of the building, and I thought "That was a car crashing" and then I thought "I'm staying in bed", and then I thought - but it was like swimming through porridge trying to get to this thought - "That was a car crash and someone should go out there" and then I realised someone might have died and I swam out through my half-asleepness, through the front door and down the stairs. I was awake enough to put my glasses on and to take out the telephone with me and to check the time. 3:50 am. Not awake enough to think to wear shoes, which I regretted as soon as I saw the thousands of little cubes of glass scattered across the footpath.

My neighbour from downstairs was already out there, and one of the passengers was on the footpath, shouting at the driver, "Get out of the car, Adam. Get out of the fucking car." There was smoke curling out from the car's crumpled bonnet and a slick of petrol idling down the hill. He was trying to lift Adam out but Adam couldn't put any weight on his legs, and I got as far as asking if someone had called an ambulance, and my neighbour nodded, and while I was trying to work out whether it was more important to get Adam out of the car in case the petrol caught on fire or to leave Adam where he was in case moving him damaged his spine, the ambulance appeared behind me. No siren, no need for a siren because there were hardly any other cars on the road. It felt like less than five minutes between the crash and the angels turning up, though the nearest proper hospital's about seven kilometres away in Heidelberg.

So I went back inside and picked the glass out of my feet and listened to the sound of the miraculous ambulance, then the police, then the towtruck, and my elderly neighbours conferring in Greek, and I fell asleep.

10 comments:

Lefty E said...

Jeebus!

Ampersand Duck said...

Is the building alright? It's not going to crumple upon you like a Haitian school, is it?

[frets]

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Yer, think the building's okay. I debriefed with another neighbour this morning, and apparently something similar happened last year, to a BMW, and one of the shopfronts downstairs lost its window.

Am hoping very much that the driver has his legs back.

(In other news, I scored the Dirty Dancing DVD at Greens fundraiser trivia earlier in the night. Woo hoo!)

Ampersand Duck said...

Woot! Should go well sitting nonchalently on top of the stack of Girlfriend mags.

Sounds like your building has bad feng shui, but (or at least bad luck).

Tim said...

Cripes! Cars run into dwellings more often than you'd expect. On the tv news it's always reported as if it's a freak occurence, but there seems to be one every fortnight or so.

Btw, Alexis, congrats on your third placing in the ABR reviewing comp!

lucy tartan said...

God, that's a bit much.

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Duck, I have, like, sew got a stack of Girlfriend mags. If I keep them for another twenty years, I'm figuring they might acquire a kind of nostalgic cache.

Ta, Tim. I read your excellent Louis Nowra review.

LT, I know. Too much. Particularly coming the night after the late night surprise office door opening by Mr. Security Guard at work. Though, despite the utter egocentricity of this post, and my sense that it was too much, it was, needless to say, much more than too much for the folks in the car, who must be feeling completely shaken, still. (Ta for lift and stuff, by the way.)

vague said...

Yikes! That is scary. I'm glad help was on the scene so fast. Also seconding the hope that your house doesn't fall down!

Alexis, Baron von Harlot said...

Thanks, Vague. I think she'll be right, though tales of repeated car/building encounters might explain why there were so many fractures in the plaster when I moved in.

Dale Slamma said...

I will make a note to wear shoes in similar circumstances.