Image from here.
So there I was, driving down the streets of Mesa in my trusty steed, George Jettson. It was high noon. I needed to turn left at the next intersection. I switched lanes to do so. As I approached the traffic signal, I noticed that the left turn light was red. Naturally, I began my deceleration—running red lights is so tacky, you know.
So then there I was, stopped first in line in the left turn lane at University and Dobson in my trusty steed, George Jettson. Staring at that red arrow pointing left, I allowed myself a few moments of contemplation. I contemplated everything in that short space of time—my purpose in life, the decline of the Suns, and everything else of much importance. I had just discovered the Great Secret of the Universe when the left turn arrow blinked from red to green. It was go-time.
Not fast, mind you. Ever since my days of driving the beast of a truck my husband inherited in high school—you know the truck? the one with the huge lift kit and roll bars and ridiculous bass speaker wedged behind the seats?—well, ever since then, I have really toned my driving down a lot. I’m practically a granny. So when the light turned green, I gently eased my foot onto the gas pedal like every responsible driver would do. Simple.
Milliseconds later, I was slamming on the brakes. I heard them screech like I never knew George Jettson could screech. I felt my heart leap in my chest and then out my my chest and through my rib cage like a hard boiled egg in one of those hard boiled egg slicers—I was pulverised from the inside out.
There, at the grill of my car—being hit by the grill of my car—was a guy on a bike, seventeen or so, no helmet unless you count that atrocious head of hair, which may have softened the blow but certainly not enough to protect that thick skull of his. He was a skater-looking kid, wearing clothes too baggy and riding a bike too small. He was a cookie cutter resemblance of half the kids at my high school. He was tough. He was cool. And in his eyes was a look of sheer terror unlike I have seen on any face, ever.
This must be how the Taliban feels.
All these thoughts in the space of probably one second, maybe two, and before I knew it, the kid was pedaling off in the direction he’d started.
The turn arrow was still green.
So there I was, having just hit a kid with my car. I was confused—hit and runs are illegal, aren’t they? Did I just break the law? Pedestrians always have the right of way, so I probably did. Oh crap. Well I know he’s not dead, and he probably doesn’t have broken legs because he straightened out and took off, but then maybe he’s in shock. Shock patients do crazy things sometimes. His head didn’t even hit the street—his bike didn’t even fall over. He never fell off of it. But then, even though I wasn’t going fast, I was going fast enough that slamming on my brakes didn’t avoid the collision. He’s probably hurt. I need to find out.
Making my decision, I made the turn and immediately pulled into the next available parking lot. During those few moments, I attempted to piece together what had happened: The white truck in the turning lane to the right of me had not made the turn—the driver must have seen the biker before I did. Thus, the biker must have been right in front of the truck when the light turned green. Then by the time I started my turn, the biker must have assumed I’d seen him. He must have figured he could go around me and I would stop. What an idiot.
I parked my car and started the walk back to the kid, who had stopped at the corner of the street where he rode after I HIT HIM WITH MY CAR. His back was to me—he was facing the way he’d come, waiting for another guy on a similar bike to cross the street. Apparently the smarter of the two friends, who’d waited for his turn to cross legally.
“Hey!” I yelled, getting his attention while I was still a parking lot away. He didn’t look at me.
“HEY!” I tried again, but nothing. Dude was either ignoring me or brain damaged from the collision.
“Hey, are you okay?” Finally he turned sheepishly.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he muttered.
“Are you sure?”
By that time his buddy had crossed over to our side of the street, and the first guy mounted his bike to ride away with his friend. Just like that. I had come to see if he was okay and he was totally blowing me off.
As they rode away, his friend piped up: “He knows it was his fault! He was being stupid.”
“I know it was his fault,” I yelled at the two figures rapidly fleeing the scene. “But I still want to know if he’s okay!”
“He’s FINE!” was the final response from the friend.
And with that, they were gone.
So there I was, standing on the sidewalk with my arms at my side, exhausted as though I’d just run a marathon. I had run a marathon—a marathon of OH SHIT I JUST KILLED A MAN. He may have been fine, but my hands didn’t stop shaking for an hour.
I should sue for all the years of life I lost.