In the course of 18 minutes tonight, I saw these things:
1) One of the strangest car accidents I’ve ever witnessed. Not that this is saying much. If I’d looked up one second later, I might understand what happened, but I’m thinking even then…
Three lanes of traffic (on Coliseum Boulevard, for the three reading this who know the Fort) going east. Stopped at a light. I’m about four cars back on the far left. We’ll call that Lane 1. There is a single car in the middle lane, Lane 2. Three or four cars in the far right, Lane 3.
I glance to the side, and then as the light changes to green, I look forward and there’s a pickup barrelling between Lanes 1 and 2, not only sideswiping that single car in Lane 2, but essentiallly lifting it halfway up from the ground.
It was so strange, and you could almost sense everyone in the cars around going, “What – why?”
The pickup turned right and immediately pulled into a parking lot right there, the car he hit followed, as well as a couple of others, I’m sure out of a combination of curiosity and a sense of precaution to make sure this strange, damaging (and the car was fairly heavily damaged) incident didn’t result in some sort of brawl. I would have felt like beating on someone who did that to me, out of the blue.
The only thing I can think of is that the pickup driver was coming in that middle lane and only saw the green light, without really noting the car in the lane right ahead of him, and in order to avoid just ploughing into his rear, tried to go around. But still..it was odd, and like any accident, a thing that it is out of the blue, changes everything, and makes you look more carefully, wary of what might happen next.
2) Then, at my destination, which was Border’s – a place to wait while Katie had her piano lesson – I listened to part of what look like an Elder Poetry Slam in the cafe.
Six or seven older folks, sitting at a table, a podium and a mike set up. They’d come up, take out their sheets of paper or notebooks, and read their work. I noticed it first when I was looking at the magazines, and heard an older man’s voice doing some sort of jazzy rhythymic thing. I peered around the corner to see a small, determined woman get up with her notebook. I listened – her poem was about a holding a child, about being a child, although remembering that stage in life was almost impossible now, wishing the child well on the journey she herself would soon be ending.
She was short, like me, and her white hair floated down to her shoulders like mine, only a little gray, does now. She studied her notebook through her glasses and read in a strong, confident voice of the child, its life, and her life.
I stood there and wondered and hoped that in 30 years or so, if I were in her place, that such a moment would be enough for me, and that I, like her, could close my notebook, smiling, satisfied at what I had written and grateful for those, no matter how few, including the accidental listener, contemplating her own mortality in the back – who had listened. Or even – that right now, it would be enough.