For a human animal to call for help/on another animal

FUCKING SHIT. Strudel got clipped by a car in a parking lot of a BurgerVille in Vancouver, WA. I heard a BANG which I thought was a fender bender, but it turns out someone was bending their fender on my kid. She went flying some and scraped her knees. Her shoe went blasting off into the bushes far off. I didn’t see it, because she was throwing out a wrapper and I was waiting for her in the Honda with my back to her.

I ran when I saw her sitting on the road in front of the lady’s car. Strudel was weeping and I ran to pick her up (bad idea, I know, but I felt physically incapable of not picking her up). She was feather-light from the adrenaline, of course. I started saying the license plate out loud as I moved her to the sidewalk–it just happened.

“She didn’t even look!” the lady said. I decided that was when I was done talking to her. I looked at her: limp blonde hair, teal scrubs, but not a doctor, 40s. Small. Scarred face. Eyes that kept sliding over us and then off us.

There was a witness nearby who actually saw it. She had kids in her minivan. “She was driving really fast,” she said. “You should call 911 and then file a report. Your kid might be in shock.” She gave me her phone number as a witness.

“Thank you, I’m in shock, too.”

So I called them. I took a picture of the front of the car that hit her while her dad comforted her.

“It always looks like that,” the owner said as I snapped it. Every time I looked at her, her eyes darted away. Her face was a mask, impassive. In a weird way I admired how calm she was.

An ambulance came, but Strudel was pretty okay, thank goodness. Her head was not involved at all. They looked her over and gave us ice for her knees.

We ended up filing a police report, which is a good thing to have. I got a piece of paper that was called an “Exchange of Information” with Strudel as the pedestrian and the name of the driver. I was thinking about how I would feel if someone handed me a piece of paper saying that I had hit a kid.

Strudel has swollen knees now with bandages on him. The officer who took the report gave her a firm, but kind, dressing down about looking both ways.

“It doesn’t matter whose fault it is,” he said. “Little girls never win against cars. You were very, very lucky today.” She nodded.

I know we’re in a litigious culture but I don’t think I could prevent myself from apologizing if I had hit someone’s kid with my car. I don’t think the lady’s evil or anything. Or maybe she is, who knows? But I don’t think I could have stopped myself from apologizing, and I’m sure I would have been bawling while I was doing it. But that’s me.

Okay, I’m going to sit in the hotel bathtub and cry silently for a little while before dinner. I will take all of these near misses from the universe. ALL OF THEM!

Icing knees before dinner.

21 thoughts on “For a human animal to call for help/on another animal

  1. I’m so glad the damage is so little! If the woman saw that Strudel didn’t look, why didn’t she stop?

  2. Fucking hell. I would be in the bathroom crying too after dealing with that. Who the hell doesn’t apologise -whether you hit a lamp or a tree or another human. Glad Strudel is ok.

  3. Jesus Christ. I’m so glad Strudel is okay. Yeah, the woman probably isn’t evil, but something is really fucked up with her reaction. I think I would be hysterically chanting “ohmygod, is she okay, is she okay, what can I do?!” over and over, if not “I’m so so so sorry.”

  4. Shit, this reminds me of the time I got hit by a car. Glad to hear that Strudel is more or less all right. Sorry you had to flex your inner mama bear today.

  5. Holy Dissociative State, Batman! Who doesn’t even apologize?! And yeah — if she saw that Strudel didn’t look, why didn’t she think to stop? Ugh. People. If I hit someone I would probably follow them home, still sobbing, and cry in their yard for days.

    I am glad that Strudel is not too badly dented, and hopefully a few days mend will make it even better. What a trooper, that girl. Mama’s a trooper, too.

  6. I preemptively hate the limp blonde lady and have to believe she was stoned or something to not immediately leap out of the car with an OH MY GOD I AM SO SORRY ARE YOU OKAY? Because if you are 1) human and 2) not inebriated in some form that is the only acceptable response. Jesus. Glad your girl is okay.

  7. This is why I have never biked to work and am super cautious when crossing the street: too many drivers are complete assholes.

    Ugh ugh ugh I’m so glad Strudel’s ok and that you are too.

    Are… are you front loading all of this year’s excitement and drama or something? This is… really intense.

  8. I’m relieved and glad Strudel is OK. If Strudel’s shoe flew off, that woman was going much too fast for a parking lot. That woman’s reaction was totally fucked-up.

    I’m so mad this happened. It happens too much. The mother of the building engineer at my office moved to the US from Morocco and was killed by a car in a crosswalk when she had the right of way.

  9. Deeply, DEEPLY glad she is okay. WTF lady, I think maybe she IS evil. Maybe she was in shock? People can be weird when they’re in shock.

  10. My update is to say the swelling has gone down–I think she’s fine, no breaks or sprains or anything. She had trouble getting to sleep that first night because of her knees, but I am so glad this was not a bigger deal.

    And yes, I AM frontloading my drama this year. UGH. I was just telling someone that. And now it’s almost tax day and I am done, right? That’s how it works.

  11. This is where my un-evolved cave-viking proclivities would have gotten me in trouble. Your restraint in that situation is commendable.

  12. When I read that she’d been hit by a car I went cold and shaky all over. THANK GOD SHE’S OKAY! You were absolutely right to call the ambulance, and FUCK THAT LADY. Not apologizing over and over in hysterical tears, not GETTING OUT OF YOUR FUCKING CAR, that’s…there’s something wrong with that one, and fuck her is all I got. Jesus. Poor Strudel.

    I’m so, so glad she’s alright. I’m an ER nurse, and I have seen several accidents like this involving kids. Most of them were tragic.

  13. What the what! I am so glad S is okay! Good for you for staying calm, but I don’t know how you did it. I think my mother would have snatched that woman bald if this had happened to one of us. You were more productive. I wish I could buy you a calming drink.

    Man, my stomach lurches AND I MOTHERFUCKING STOP when bunnies and cats run out in front of my car “without looking.” If it were a child, my foot would be crammed so hard on the brake it would go through the floor.

    There are too many people who have no internal locus of control who always think things just happen to them and they have no control over anything, good or bad. These are the people who make life worse for all of us. That woman probably feels like the victim of circumstance, which is sad and wrong. (Can you tell I am tired of telling my students they have control over their own choices, even when faced with problems?)

  14. Oh my God, I’m so glad she’s ok!

    One of my secret terrors is that I’ll hit a kid with my car. I’m all eyes on kids anywhere near my car because they’re little and they dart. I’m so so SO glad that S. is ok. That woman…UGH.

  15. Oh my holy hell, that’s scary! I’m so glad it turned out okay! I kind of think that lady was evil too–if I hit a kid, even if they flat-out threw themselves in front of my vehicle and witnesses agreed it was NOT my fault, I’d be a bawling snot-faced wreck hovering around trying to see if the kid was okay and offer my clumsy and probably unwanted assistance.

  16. I park on a deep driveway on a street with a school at the end. I regularly strain my neck muscles swiveling my head to make sure for the 100th time that no little munchkin is crossing my path as I back out. I don’t understand people. It reminds me of when Goldie was attacked and the other dog owner (whose dog was off leash) ended up screaming at ME, the one with the bloody dog. Gah.

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