Here we are again. Good to see you back! Sorry I’m taking so long to ‘wrap this up’ but I promise, I will finish today. There will be no part four. I promise! I pinky promised so now I have no choice in the matter. Where were we? That’s right! I had talked about the lady that ended up ‘trapped in our dead end’ in part one and then I went on to tell you about a different lady that took her motorcycle for a swim in part two. What do we have left? My friends, I have saved the best for last. What I’m going to share with you now is the icing on the cake, the home run, the masterpiece. This is the story about what happened the day before yesterday on our ‘quiet’ little, unassuming dead end street. And since I’m writing it, if you’re at all familiar with my writing ‘style’, you’ll know that I’ve got to add just a few more minor details before I get down to the nitty gritty.
What I think is critical for you to know is how hard I’ve tried to think of a solution to either decrease or eliminate the traffic that tends to travel down our dead end street. We’ve lived in our home now for 6 years and of course, had no awareness of how many people actually did accidentally turn down our street until we purchased it. We also didn’t know about the helicopter that frequently flies over our house until we moved in (it’s a joy). The first time it happened, I thought we were experiencing an earthquake. The windows were rattling and the floor was shaking. But after further investigation, I realized it had nothing to do with seismic activity and everything to do with emergency medical responses. It’s another one of the nice ‘perks’ of living next to a hospital. I’m not sure which is my favorite, the helicopter flying over on a regular basis and drowning out all other sounds in our house, or the wail of the siren coming from the ambulances as they travel to and from the emergency room.
Sorry, I’ve gotten off track again. I was telling you, before I went down a rabbit hole, about attempting to take measures to help with our traffic ‘problem’. I had thought about it a great deal because it was becoming a bit of a nuisance, so I contacted the city engineer to see if he had any suggestions. As ‘luck’ would have it, when he did come out, guess what happened? Not a SINGLE car drove down our street. Seriously? I felt like I was back at the mechanic’s. You know how that works. Your car keeps making a ‘funny’ sound so you schedule an appointment to have the mechanic diagnosis the problem. When you arrive, you explain that it makes a sound when you shift into second gear and of course, you have to try and replicate the sound using your mouth. “Ummmm, it kind of sounds like knock, knock, thud, clunk, knock, zerp,” you tell the mechanic as he looks at you in amusement. You sit in the waiting room while he looks it over and an hour later, he summons you out to the garage to tell you he couldn’t find anything wrong. Sigh. Never fails!
The city engineer was already a bit hostile when he arrived so the fact that not a single car came down the street while he was parked out in front of our house probably didn’t help matters. But I was prepared to ‘state our case’ and see if he would consider implementing any of the suggestions I’d come up with. I had a whole list of things I thought would be helpful. It was clear he didn’t appreciate all the time I spent carefully putting pen to paper and writing my ideas down. Everything I suggested he cast aside. “How about a speed bump painted yellow or red?” I said. “No,” he replied. I then suggested a larger dead end sign and possibly moving it further to the right so it was more in people’s range of vision. “No!” he replied firmly. “How about a sign that says ‘No Hospital Access’?” His response? “They don’t even make signs that say that!”
I clearly wasn’t getting anywhere, so I figured I’d just throw out some random, ridiculous nonsense just to see if he was even listening, “How about a giant skull and crossbones or what if we did chalk outlines on the street like when people are murdered, but we use reflective paint instead? That should get people to think twice before turning right.” He didn’t seem to appreciate my sense of humor and he shot those ideas down, too. Needless to say, I decided even reaching out to the city was a big waste of time. The engineer insisted that people don’t look at signs anyway. He did make one compromise, however. He changed the ‘T’ sign to a left arrow. Did it make a bit of difference? Not at all. And clearly, our friend from the other night proved him right. Had he followed the left arrow, he would not have ended up in the canal. But since people don’t tend to read signs, as per the engineer, our friend got to enjoy part of the evening, along with his truck, hanging out in the canal and waiting to be rescued.
How did it all start? According to my husband, who ran outside to investigate when he heard the very loud sound of metal impacting concrete and saw the truck on its side in the canal, it all started out as a simple enough request. Our friend’s wife was at the hospital and needed him to swing by to pick her up. But as hundreds of people have done before him, he turned down our street by mistake. When he reached the part where the road ‘died’, he tried to pull a U-Turn. And I should clarify, it was night and there are no street lights on our road, so it was pitch dark outside. That’s when things took a ‘turn’ but not the ‘turn’ he was planning on. Guided by his headlights, he swung around to his left and just when he thought he had cleared the turn and was back in business, his truck tire caught the lip of the canal and just like that, ‘Crunch’! The vehicle dropped into the canal and landed on its side.
Fortunately for our friend, he had driven into a canal and not off a cliff where he likely would not have survived. And his injuries were surprisingly minor, in fact, I think he was hurt more from the air bags going off than from the impact when the truck descended several feet and landed on its side. Of course, we didn’t know this when we saw the truck in the canal. We didn’t know if someone was drunk or had a heart attack or how many people were in the vehicle but I felt this was a time, if there ever was a time, to call 9-1-1. Let me tell you, I’ve never seen so many flashing lights! The place was lit up like a Christmas tree on steroids. I think half of the local police department showed up. It was quite a sight! All totaled, I think there were 4 cop cars, 2 firetrucks, 3 tow trucks and an ambulance. Pretty impressive! The thing was, our friend didn’t really need all of that assistance. He barely suffered a scratch. He was actually sitting on top of the truck when the first emergency vehicles responded, and explaining to his boss (on a cell phone) what had happened. I overheard him use the word ‘dumb’ a few times.
And as it turned out, two of the tow trucks working in tandem was all it took to pull the truck out and set it back on its wheels (as you can see in the photo provided). My husband and I thought for certain that they’d need a crane to achieve this but these two tow truck drivers made it happen! As far as our friend was concerned, I think his ego was bruised more than his body from the ordeal. And I hadn’t mentioned it earlier but the truck was actually his work truck. I hope his employer was understanding and didn’t fire him for his mistake. That would have really made for a rotten Thanksgiving. “Hey kids! Guess what? Daddy got into an accident AND got fired! Yay! Happy Thanksgiving!!” Oh! I just remembered, I had a ‘point’ to all of this. Had our friend actually ‘followed’ the sign and turned left as the arrow indicated, his Wednesday would have been just an ordinary, stress-free day. But since he chose not to, as so many often do, his evening went in a completely different direction altogether. And not a fun one, I might add. My point? Pay attention to the signs! Do you want to have a regular evening where you pick up your wife and go home to have a nice dinner and maybe watch a little TV or do you want to end up in the canal and feeling like a knucklehead? The choice is yours.
Wait! Before I go, I think I’ve worked out the perfect solution on how to keep people from driving down our street! I’m going to install a billboard and attach the picture of the truck on its side in the canal. I’m then going to put in really large, reflective letters just below it, “Words of advice, don’t turn right!” It’d be a lot like those slide shows they made you watch before you got your driver’s license to prevent you from driving recklessly or driving drunk. “Drink and drive? This can happen to you!” Do you think that’ll convince anyone? Probably not. People don’t tend to look at signs. But it’s worth a shot, right?