Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chain of events

I watched the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" a couple of nights ago and there was a sequence in it where the female lead pirouettes into the middle of a street and gets hit by a car. The sequence of events leading up to the accident is shot and explained as a series of chance occurrences which taken singly would have amounted to nothing but strung together just so, added up to the dancer being struck by the driver.

When I got up this morning, I expected it to be still warm from yesterday and the news had said that the rain hadn't started yet so I dressed accordingly to go out with Stella and Rocky on their walk. As soon as I opened the door, it was apparent that my expectations and the weather report were both incorrect. It had cooled down significantly and rain was already falling. I turned around, to the disappointment of the dogs who thought they were being denied their walk, to put on some more weather appropriate clothing.

I searched through the coat closet downstairs but realized that what I wanted was in the upstairs closet where all my summer clothes were being stored. I walked upstairs, found the raincoat and went back downstairs.

I put raincoats on Stella and Rocky, as much for keeping them warm as for not having to deal with big smelly dog stinking up the house afterward. I put on my raincoat and then realized I left its liner upstairs. So, I went back upstairs and found the liner and redressed myself.

When I go to the park with both the dogs, I take them in the car to get down there. The car is parked on the street, usually right by the front of our house or pretty near. Last night, however, there was something going on in the neighbourhood and the parking had been tight so when I drove back from dinner, I had to park the car down the block and around the corner - so that's where Stella, Rocky and I headed this morning.

I saw the guy get into his car which was two cars behind mine. We were still several meters away on a street that crosses the one the cars were parked on. Stella stopped to sniff something and as usual, Rocky charged in there to get a whiff as well, shoving Stella out of the way. She garumphed and looked at me and I sympathized with her over Rocky's rudeness. Rocky, for his part, was now taking his first morning whiz on the spot Stella had been sniffing.

Once he had finished, I checked both ways up and down the street and started to cross with the two of them. Now Rocky's a big Dobie dog and he was wearing bright red and Stella's an even bigger Great Dane dog and she had green on. I had a green raincoat on with reflective stripes. So, when I saw that car the guy had gotten into 30 seconds earlier pull slowly up the intersection and slow down, I was pretty sure he would've seen us.

I was wrong.

Rocky, Stella and I were about two thirds of the way across the street when the guy who had started out making a slow turn onto our street suddenly sped up. He accelerated directly at us and we were less than 4 meters away.

My first thought was that this guy was intentionally trying to hit us.

My second was that he was going to succeed. Stella and Rocky were typically oblivious and there was no way I was going to be able to get the two lumbering brain trusts out of the way quick enough. I did the only thing I could, which was stand directly in front of the oncoming car and pretend to be Superman.

I had about a tenth of a second to be scared shitless.

Somewhere between 2 meters away and 1 meter away, the guy saw us. He hit the brakes and I slammed the front of his car with the palm of my hand, wishing I had a baseball bat, and bent my knees, ready for impact.

But, the car had stopped.

I looked down and Rocky was against the bumper between me and the car. There was a moment there when I wasn't sure if he was alright and then he saw Stella sniffing something and he barged his way through to spoil her moment of solitude.

I walked over to the driver's window and said "What the fuck?" to the guy. I was ready to bash his window in because I still wasn't sure if what he had done was intentional but then I could see that he was in shock at what had just happened and he quickly apologized and, just as quickly, drove off.

Surprisingly, as I got to my car and started loading the dogs into it, I wasn't angry. I was thinking about the sequence of events that morning and how if any of them hadn't happened exactly the way they did - if the weather report had been correct, if it hadn't been raining out, if my raincoat had been downstairs, if I hadn't forgotten the liner upstairs, if I didn't dress the dogs up in rain gear, if Stella hadn't stopped at that first scent and if Rocky hadn't stopped to pee there - we would have crossed the street without incident and the whole almost accident would've been avoided. As I climbed into the car myself, I was thinking about Benjamin Button and that car accident with the dancer. Too bad that sequence didn't come with a warning: "This might happen to you tomorrow!"

And, you know, as loud and ridiculous as my dogs' outfits may be, they obviously aren't loud and ridiculous enough.


Anonymous said...

Good grief, Fred. What an awful scare. Some guardian angel was watching out for you, Stella and Rocky.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are all ok Fred. So scary! especially when there are people out there who WOULD intentionally hit a person or animal with their car. There are some very sick people out there, that's for sure!!!!!


Barb said...

My heart rate sped up just from reading that!! Hopefully a very good lesson for that driver to pay more attention.

And again, a damn fine bit of writing! I remember that bit from the movie, and your account is just as interesting!

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

I'm glad you guys were ok. Did Rocky move between you and the car??

Sounds like that new book series ... series of unfortunate events.


Fred said...

DDF, no Rocky didn't move between the car and me. Rocky's oblivious to cars. He's one of those dogs who would walk right into oncoming traffic and get shmucked and he'd go up to heaven and God would be like, "WTF? Whatcha do that for?" and Rocky would be like, "Do what?" as he pees on the pearly gates.

Anonymous said...

I draw a sharp breath when folks walking their dogs cross certain intersections like the one near me at Bloor and Runnymede. Motorists are focussed on their turns, especially on rainy days like today, and a little dog (never mind a Great Dane) is way beneath their radar. Heck, pedestrians are way beneath their radar!

If your clueless driver learned anything from the incident, more power to him. He wasn't the one who had his life or the life of his friends pass before him in a split second. Sometimes, I wonder if they forget that they are pedestrians first. And they could be walking their Best Friend.

Anonymous said...


I'm sorry to see that things didn't work out for Andy. You can see the improvement in Bobby from video to video. Poor guy, I hope he can come around enough.

Sorry to see you decided to disable comments on that post. Hopefully not because of me, I'm certainly not at all the "I told you so" type. Just realistic! I would have much preferred to be dead wrong.

Anyway, I'm sorry for these guys and I place ALL blame squarely on the shoulders of those responsible for bringing them into the world in the first place. Irresponsible cowards!

Thanks for the update. I'd been waiting to hear. Sending good thoughts Bobby's way.

Fred said...

Anonymous, the comments should still enabled on all posts. If you still can't post, let me know and I'll check it out.

Actually, I'm going to copy your comment to that post now as it's got more relevance there.

And thanks for all your comments.