Monday, July 20, 2009

Not As Bad A Day As For Some

A fatal crash on I-90, not involving me, puts things in perspective.

Today I'd had a pretty decent day but, as usual, felt a little frustrated at not getting done everything I wanted to do. We had a lot of books to shelve at MITS, which is always satisfying but takes time; then I almost succeeded in avoiding the monthly volunteer meeting but, since my birthday is this month, I had to be there as they cut the cake (or I'd be a party pooper. I hate being a party pooper!) The meeting wasn't bad, as we learned some interesting things about the VOICE program which is one program our efforts support (hey, it turns out by shelving books I'm helping kids. Sweet!)
When they presented me with my Special Birthday Cupcake (shown in the photo, with my friend Head Book Lady Charlotte), Don announced I was turning 34, and I allowed as how there was a "4" in my age anyway (later I'd tell Sommer and the other students that I was 34, but in Martian years). I admired the cupcake but stowed it to share with Kris at home.

Unfortuately, this meeting delayed me so I didn't get to the library until late, where I printed off the minimum necessary, and then the internet access went down. The very nice library staff where hugely apologetic but what could be done? I was done for the day on Mercer Island.

I don't like add to the I-90 rush hour but at least, I told myself, the construction was over so I-90 should zoom!


Too late I saw traffic was backed up to the Island Crest Way entrance where I got on. The overhead sign (not visible from the entrance) read "Fatal Accident Midspan. Left 2 lanes closed."

This was distressing; I felt the obligatory regret for the deceased but, to be honest, I thought more about an hourlong trip home. Tere was nothing to do but listen to the radio and chill. I was pleasantly surprised to see how calm and polite everyone was; as you can imagine, there was a lot of merging and shifting to be done, and everyone was waving someone else in ahead of them. This couldn't help but make it all bearable.

When I got up to the bottleneck (all lanes closed except the shoulder) I tried not to gawk, but saw one car pretty badly rear-ended and spattered with what looked like beige paint. A little further on a car was being towed backwards, with no obvious damage. Past the bottleneck, traffic opened up very well but most of us stayed in the far left lane. I was closing in on an odd-looking vehicle in the middle lane; it was some sort of truck with flashing lights, that just didn't look right. It wasn't going very fast, but I didn't feel like I wanted to pass it on the right, or be near it at all. Suddenly, the image resolved into sense: a truck was hauling the remains of a smaller truck, probably a pickup full of odd bits, including a large metal box canted at an angle and spattered with beige. The whole thing was signalling to get into the right lane.

I slowed even more and got into the middle lane; the truck gratefully slid into the right lane and waved as I went by. Like I said, everyone was being cooperative.

Further on, a Very Large Towtruck had some sort of tractor-trailer rig, spattered with beige.

I don't know what it was all about, but it sure made my troubles seem petty. My day was much better than some's. The sun was out and I'm going home to my wife with a cupcake!

That's all. No lesson. Go home!

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