When I was hit by a car the first time, I thought it was a fluke that would never happen again in this life. I mean, how often does someone get hit by a car and survive? And also joke about it and write a blog post...
And then yesterday happened. I was hit by a car AGAIN. I'm not making this sh*t up.
This is the second time this year (and in my life!*) that I've been run down while crossing a street. Also, it was again an old person behind the wheel. And we think millennials are the death of us??
*This being my second car hit is debatable. Technically, my college roommate ran me down outside a Wells Fargo bank at 9 pm on a Wednesday in October 2012. But she just let her foot off the gas. These last two incidents involved people trying to go places and I was just in their way, so help me God.
So there I was, once more strolling down East Main Street toward my office, but this time I actually had a crosswalk and the signal was for me to go. A white humanoid figure begged me to cross toward it. I paused - I wasn't even texting, I swear! (I was reading a New York Times article, my last free article of the month to be honest) - saw the cars were all stopped (because, you know, they had a red light); and I stepped onto the crosswalk. And then I almost died.
Apparently, Grandma - yes, another old person, but this time without a hat and of the opposite sex - did not look both ways, though let us assume she taught her kids back in the '70s to look both ways. She, in her fiery red sedan, pulled forward. She was prepared to turn right on red. I was not prepared to die.
Admittedly, East Main Street is a one way street, but I was at a pre-ordained crosswalk and pedestrians have the right of way, must I remind the world?! The crosswalk wasn't even blinking for me to hurry.
From the corner of my eye, I saw the red car sneaking forward - a red dragon sent by my maker to challenge my mortality. I threw out my arms. They landed on the hood. I attempted to push back, to hold back this fiery dragon as it descended upon me, and GRANDMA IS STILL LOOKING TOWARD THE EAST, not at the pedestrian she is about to squash!
"Please don't accelerate," I thought if I actually had time. I don't know if I had time. This happened so fast.
But I was yelling, "Hello! Hello! Hi!"
It's about to be hello from the other side if you don't look up, ma'am!
Grandma finally moves her neck so she's making eye contact. Her surprise at seeing me pressing back against her car while I simultaneously jogged backward because I cannot restrain a thousand-pound dragon had me worried she was going to accelerate. But thankfully - like, thank GOD, I'm not even exaggerating - she brakes. And I stop jogging. And then I just stand there, a tattered soul who just stared into his death.
Grandma stares back. She looks on the verge of tears. And then she covers her face with her hands.
Her remorse was palpable. This was juxtaposed against last time where the man had seemed annoyed at me. Today I was the annoyed one. This woman had nearly killed me, and that wasn't a figure of speech.
And I knew immediately this was a grandma who had sat through several family dinners where her children told her she needed to stop driving. Like, I just knew they had tried to take away her keys before, and she had protested - probably with eyes brimming with tears like her eyes were now, having almost killed someone a quarter of her age, someone her grandkids' age! - and they hadn't taken her keys because poor grandma wouldn't hurt a soul. But now she knew, she recognized, she was a danger to society. My life had been 5 mph away.
Personally, I assessed the situation. Last time I walked away from the situation saying I was okay, which I had been okay (my lawyer says don't say that), but in that situation I had been scooped bodily off the ground. In this case, both my feet remained on the ground, and the only part of my body to touch her car were my hands that had held back the beast.
Grandma rolled down her window. "Oh! Oh! I'm so sorry! Are you okay?"
Am I okay?
"Yeah, I'm fine," I said.
I felt Grandma was closer to having a stroke than I was to being shaken up. I guess I've become desensitized. And I considered saying we should exchange info, but I knew I wasn't hurt beyond a maimed psyche, and I didn't want to be the cause of this woman's timely demise, so I repeated, "I'm okay."
And I walked away.
And I snapped it.
I don't know what lessons the reader should take away from this. There was basically nothing I could have done to avoid this situation other than not cross streets ever again. One friend suggested I stop walking so fast so people have time to see me, but that won't happen.
It's just a matter of time until I'm hit again. I just wish people would hit on me in bars.
Okay, sorry, I have to make light of near death situations. But I'm alive, as Sia would say, and that's what matters. I hope Grandma is, too.