Monday, February 1, 2010

I Just Don't Get It

I think my heart literally stopped the other day.

Only for a moment.

But ... yeah ...

Around 3pm Wednesday, I went out to the car for my afternoon 'fresh air break'.

I'm sitting there, listening to my favourite country station, staring out the window, mentally shutting down for a few minutes, when I heard ...

"Hi, I'm calling from XXXX X XXXXX, and I wanted to let you know about an accident ..."

Suddenly my brain snapped to attention, I sat up a little straighter in my seat, that was Alec's school.

Then she continued with, 'A train has hit a car in XXX and ...'

And to be honest with you, that was all I heard.

Kind of like last summer, when Adam came home from a friend's place, with a towel wrapped around his hand, and I didn't hear anything else the dad said after 'impaled'.

The announcer repeated what she'd said.

A train had hit a vehicle.

In my neighbourhood.

On the same tracks we cross multiple times a day.

Here, for example.

And here ...

And here ...

This was not good.

I went back in the building, with the intention of checking in with the kids, and just as I reached my desk, I got a text message from Alec.

"going to be late'

I picked up the phone and called him.

They were still at school. The buses hadn't arrived yet due to the traffic jam caused by the accident.

I can only assume that the passenger train was blocking the crossing further down, and one of the main arteries of the community.

All the buses travel along this route.

And cross these tracks.

I believe I asked him if anyone he was with, knew who had been hit.

It's a small community. Everyone knows someone who knows everyone.

He said 'No' but that they heard it was a BUS that the train hit.

Wow. A bus.

That definitely wouldn't be good.

When I hung up with Alec, I looked at the clock.

It was after 3pm.

Adam has usually reached the sitter's and called me by then.

I called the sitter's.

No answer.

I looked at the clock.

He should be there.

That was the point I officially let 'that thought' cross my mind, and stopped breathing ... for just a sec.

I looked at my co-worker sitting across the pod.

I'm guessing I must have been sporting my best 'HOLY SHIT!' expression, because she immediately said, 'Kim, call the school. If it was a bus, they'll know.'

Good plan!

Smart co-workers! Thanks C!

After scrambling for a phone book, I get through to the school and they confirmed it was a car, not a bus that had been hit by the train.

My breathing officially returned to normal.

I was sad to hear that someone had been hit at all, but was relieved it wasn't any of the kids on their way home from school.

By the time I got home, the accident had been cleared, and the details were hitting the news.

A passenger train on it's way to Montreal, hit the back end of the car at one of the private crossings. A 60yr old resident of the area for 20+ years, who crossed those tracks every day.

The back end of the car.

I didn't understand that. I still don't.

There's NO way she wouldn't have seen the train coming at that close distance.

No way.

We may never know what happened.

But the possibilities have certainly been running through my head.

Was she trying to beat the train?

Did she have a heart attack, or some other medical emergency that caused her to hit the gas at the absolute wrong time?

Did she actually cross the track, then slide back down the hill?

Was she driving a standard and stall at the wrong time?

WHY the back end of her car?

Why to someone who crossed those tracks daily, and was aware of the train schedule.


I just don't get it.

And I may never get it.

Other than to feel bad for losing a member of our community, who was a regular fixture at our Community Centre down the street, where the boys and I spend much of our summer.

And I feel bad for the way it happened. So tragic.

Just not the chain of events you expect, for an otherwise normal Wednesday afternoon.

I suspect people will be taking that extra precaution of looking ... and looking again before heading across those tracks, now.

At least for a little while.

I hope.

Drive safe, People!

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