Last night, Amelia and I were on the couch doing these last minute wedding things that you do – finding pictures to print, deciding on music, heatedly discussing what we should do with the cake during the ceremony since everything is outdoors. We saw a car come barreling by our house, which happens quite a bit, and then we heard breaks squeal followed by quite a few noises that didn’t sound quite right.
I thought it sounded like someone’s tire blowing out. Amelia thought it sounded like someone was crashing into all the cars that were parked on the side of the road, so she bolted out the front door. Turns out it was a car accident that involved three cars at the end of our block and a couple of the cars were smoking pretty bad. I called 911 right away. (Dear Minneapolis: Get more operators. It rang four times and then I had to wait ON HOLD until I got someone on the phone. What the hell is that?)
Amelia and I started walking down to the corner to make sure nobody was hurt. As I was wrapping up my 911 call, I noticed that we’d been joined by literally dozens of people. They’d come from all over the two or three block radius. I’d imagine a lot of it was people being nosy, but by the time we all got to the scene of the accident, it was something a little different than just poking around the neighborhood.
Everyone was checking in the cars to make sure everyone was alright. Half the people there didn’t even have shoes on, because we’d just busted out of our front doors to see what was happening in our neighborhood. There was windshield glass everywhere and a range of assorted car fluids coming from two of the cars, so shoes would have been a really great idea. It didn’t matter, though. We didn’t know who had been driving these cars, but we had to make sure they were okay.
We stood with our neighbors until emergency vehicles got there – a firetruck first and then a cop car about 10 minutes later. In chatting with our neighbors, one had just gotten home from her nursing shift, one thought it was gunshots coming from a car that was driving by, one had been asleep on the couch. Everyone had opinions about what had happened.
The guy whose yard/cars got the brunt of it all was taking pictures and not saying anything at all. If it wouldn’t have been for the embankment in his front yard, he would have without a doubt wound up with his car sitting in his living room. As it was, his car had already spun 360 degrees. The only thing between that car smashing into his truck was a tiny tree sapling about three inches thick in diameter. No clue how it didn’t bust right through it.
The Pontiac Aztec that obviously caused it all was completely empty. The airbag had deployed, the windshield was cracked and the dashboard had blood all over it. The driver had hightailed it out of there. At the same time everyone realized it, we also realized a guy that was limping had passed us all going the other day. I remember seeing him now and he looked like he probably could have used some medical attention.
People always talk about the black people and the Asian people and the Hispanic people in our neighborhood, but as cliche as it sounds, there wasn’t any of that last night. Just a bunch nosy neighbors making sure there stuff wasn’t damaged and that there wasn’t anyone that needed medical attention. It felt good to be a part of that community, as trivial as it was.