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August 07, 2008

A near miss

J0305743 Something terrible almost happened in my neighborhood this morning.

The day started with a series of annoyances, things that just kept going wrong.  The kitchen reconstruction project took longer than expected.  The house was loud and I couldn't hear my husband on the telephone.  The contractors were late.  I just couldn't catch a break.  But soon I realized just how lucky I was.

Let me start at the beginning, with all the things that went wrong this morning  ... and I'll show you how they added up to one thing that went very right. 

1. Last week, my kitchen sprung a leak.

2. The dry guys who came out Tuesday couldn't finish the job because they needed another tool.

3. The dry guys were running late this morning.

4. The dehumidifier fans that have been running in the house since Tuesday are VERY LOUD.

5. My phone conversation with my husband was interrupted several times, and I had to call him back.

6. The only quiet place in my house to talk is out front, on a wooden bench.  (The same wooden bench that NYfriend gave us for our wedding present!)

7. While we were talking, my conversation was interrupted again.

8. By a black car speeding down my street, so fast that it was loud in comparison to the typical quiet sounds of leaves rustling in the breeze.

9. The car was going so fast, that the driver missed his turn, jumped the curb, and plowed into the street sign at the intersection, knocking it to the ground with a giant metal CLANG.

The crash was so loud my husband heard it on the other end of the phone, and a workman across the street came running out, fearing for his car. The driver immediately threw his car into reverse, spun his wheels, and tried to flee the scene. Fearing damage to the fence of my older neighbors (who are two of the best neighbors that could be, and I care for them dearly), I ran down to the scene and yelled at the man to stop. I think  I said "Hey, you can't just leave!  You hit that sign!  You were going way too fast!."

10. He didn't listen.

So here's the lucky part.  I was OUTSIDE, LOOKING in that direction, with a CELL PHONE in my hand, and I was able to call 911.  I reported the accident, gave the license plate number of the black Lexus, and walked away.

Oh, after telling him again that he CAN'T DRIVE THAT FAST down our RESIDENTIAL street, where lots of CHILDREN play and WALK to SCHOOL.  Yes, the primary school at the end of that very short block, where he was speeding (a good 65-70 miles an hour; twice as fast as I've EVER seen people speed down this street).

As I walked back to my house, I passed a young mother with her infant in a stroller.

As much as I hated being "that lady" who calls the cops on a minor infraction, I was grateful for two things. First, that I had the guts to call the police and get them involved.  Maybe next time he starts to race through a neighborhood at twice the speed limit he'll slow down. And second, that the mom with the stroller had not been one minute faster getting ready this morning, because she was headed right for that corner.

I glanced down at the baby as I passed, grateful beyond belief that the driver was not one minute later and she was not one minute earlier.

My neighborhood -- green, leafy, quiet, and calm -- could have been the scene of a terrible accident this morning.

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