On the Head of a Pin
This morning around 7am we were spamming about the house, and just kind of Sunday drifting. The kids were getting hungry and the Mother-In-Law wanted to know what we were doing for breakfast. Nathan wanted to go out and get a feed someplace lovely, since the sun had come out, but I wanted to stay home, because: lazy. And on Sunday mornings I’m all about lazy. Plus, when we stay home, Nath cooks a killer feast on the barbie with all the trimmings, and I sit and sip my coffee as time slows down. Moments to cherish.
I put forward my stay-home argument, got my own way, and Nath hurumphed out onto that balcony to fry up the expected.
We heard a pretty loud bang from out near the road, but I put it down to someone’s outdoor furniture being moved around by the wind. Or some other beige thing.
We went back to disparaging Daryl Braithwaite’s top 20 favourite songs on Maxx, and waiting for breakfast.
Then: sirens. Lots of sirens. Then a few more. Then silence.
I went up onto our roof deck, and saw there was some kind of a bust up on the road. I could see so many of the Sunday cyclists that clog the sharp curves of David Low Way on any given weekend, and assumed one of their number had gone for a slide. Maybe dislocated a shoulder, broken a wrist. Something painful enough for his mates to call for help, but of course nothing really serious. I mean, it happened practically in my backyard.
We resumed our breakfast preparations.
Then: a helicopter. Trying to land next to my back gate, but being bullied about by the wind.
We went out to have a closer look, and saw two cars scrunched up like discarded easter-egg wrappers. Both facing in directions to defy the natural order of the roads. The scene jarred.
There was nobody running around panicking. No sense of drama, just all necks in extension, eyes to the skies, waiting for the helicopter to land. There was nothing else to be done. Just wait. We sat on the footpath and watched. An ant nipped my foot. It hurt quite a bit. I felt petulant whinging about it, but there wasn’t much else to say. And it’s hard to say much over the beat of the chopper. Words don’t mean as much when you see those whirring blades. Guiltily glad/relieved that they aren’t spinning for you.
After a time, the helicopter did land, and I went inside, deciding I didn’t want to see, after all. The crowd slowly dispersed. Some, like me, left before the end of the movie, and others stayed to the final scenes, even though the plot was raw and unredemptive and you had to guess your own ending.
Turns out the story so far, is far from great. Turns out someone died and some others are still in hospital. Turns out some people were tootling along our road, maybe popping out for breakfast someplace lovely, just like we thought we might, and someone else just drove right into their faces.
I went and had a look at that bitumen. I can’t see any skid marks from where their lives all turned, on the head of a pin. I can’t stop thinking about all the funny, boring, nice, frustrating, lovely, yummy, annoying, interesting things that happened in my day today, and didn’t in theirs.
The worst thing that happened to me this day is that an ant bit me. And it kind of hurt.
Vale, red car lady.
I hope that as you passed by our back gate, you were smiling at your girl and laughing at the day and loving that sunshine and singing with all your heart.