Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No news was good news: A recent adventure

I was strolling when I stepped out of our building yesterday, enjoying the sunshine and browsing for a new Italian lesson on what, for some reason, I keep incorrectly referring to as "my mp3 player." As I think about it in retrospect, I'm surprised at how much I noticed during these few complacent moments.  I must have seen the woman about to cross the street, seen her groceries, seen the blue car coming up the other street just a few meters away -- as when I heard the squealing tires and sickening crunch I knew exactly what had happened.  

I looked up to see the woman thrown through the air. I think. Or maybe my mind just put the scenes together like a flip book, I don't know. In any case, I ran toward her, feeling my pulse acutely.  

The driver of the car was soon by her side as well, but neither said anything.  Had it somehow already been said before I arrived?  I asked her (I think) "Are you okay?"and her disoriented gaze replied "Not exactly."  I had instinctively whipped out my telefonino, ready to place a call, so, in a bit of special eloquence, I asked the driver, "Should I call 1-1-2?  1-1-2, right?  I'm not from here."  

He looked tense but remarkably calm for having driven into someone moments earlier.  Did he actually respond to me?  If he didn't, something about how acted seemed to communicate that I should not, so I stood in the road with nothing to do with my adrenaline.  A car drove by and someone asked the man if we needed help.  They had a remarkably jovial conversation which made me feel for a moment like I was in one of those movies about the small town folks who freakishly cover for one another, in spite of (because of?) their small town morals. The car left. 

Not able to serve any other purpose, I felt it my moral duty to gaze disapprovingly at the driver.  I thought he might be a priest -- though I did not see a collar, the subtle sheen and perfect starch seemed to suggest clergy.  The woman said to the driver, "just my stomach," and started to pull herself up and pick up her groceries.  Finally prompted into action, he said "You shouldn't do that.  Should I take you to la civica?"  She said yes.  I verified that she was okay with this and he packed her and her groceries into his little blue VW and drove away.

Somehow all of this took only five minutes.  I made the bus and went on with my day.  But, of course, it took me a long time to stop thinking about it.  So odd, how they kept looking at each other expressionlessly, without emotion, saying nothing. Did they know each other? Were they keeping secrets? Or was it just shock and Swiss reserve? 


Grandma G said...

Strange! But at least you had an adventure to write about! ;-)

fi said...

What a weird experience... I once witnessed a hit and run. The 'runner' was travelling so fast that he hit the person right accross to the other side of the intersection (six lanes), clean out of his shoes. We stopped to help, mercifully the LFP (Low Flying Person, as he and subsequent potential victims became known) was unconcious because he had massive injuries. We waited over an hour for an ambulance (Africa runs on it's own time.) Sadly he never made it. The incident haunted me for months. On a lighter note, my siter spilled milk in her boot once and you could smell it inside the car! She was ready with the matches...she had tried everything else to no avail.

fi said...

Uhhh, that would be my "sister"... why is there no spell check in comments?