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28 June 2007

"You're a life saver, honey."

In the Living Room, Toronto, ON, 04-Jul-07

"I'm a lot braver, too."

Things I saw on my way to work this morning:

A woman I'd never met before, saving my life.

I wish I'd taken her picture! She seemed to be in a bit of a hurry, and I was still slightly dazed from the near-death experience, so all I could manage was a bunch of spaced-out "thank you"s. She was smiling and agreed that drivers so often, so recklessly, attempt to speed past streetcars that have stopped to let passengers on or off. This is not only stupid and thoughtless; it's dangerous. This is why streetcars have signs on the rear that advise the drivers following to stop along with the streetcar, instead of switching lanes and trying to beat the streetcar, so public transit passengers don't have to worry about being mowed down as they step into the road.

It's certainly frustrating to be a driver stuck behind a lumbering streetcar, having to stop on every block even when the lights are green; it's easy to forget courtesy and the rules of the road in that situation, especially if the driver is also in a rush to get somewhere. Unfortunately, that's the way things go if you have no choice but to drive along a streetcar route that doesn't have dedicated TTC lanes.

It's also a passenger's responsibility to make sure that his or her path is clear before stepping into the road, especially when disembarking. One has to wait until the streetcar doors actually open before one can peek out and check for oncoming traffic. I'm usually good with the peeking! I once peered out before getting off the streetcar, only to see a luxury automobile race past. That was the closest I'd come to being hit, which was pretty close, until today.

This morning, I was standing on the steps of the streetcar's back doors, completely occupied by the task of folding my headphones back up into their carrying case. In other words, I wasn't thinking. Like an idiot, as the streetcar pulled up to my stop, I began to step out. The woman beside me gasped and put her arm out to stop me, which was totally confusing until I looked out at the road and saw a car screeching to a halt in front of me. I looked back at the woman -- this lovely, careful, redheaded, middle-aged woman who had no reason other than absolute kindness to help me -- and breathed a sigh of relief. We disembarked with requisite dirty looks shot at the oncoming driver, who did look apologetic, as opposed to oblivious like the last driver who almost killed me. I thanked the woman repeatedly; she nodded and was joined by a friend; and I slipped into my office building with nothing to remember her by. Well, nothing except my life, of course.


TRACK LISTING: Chicago, "Life Saver"

[NOTE: The image above is a page detail from Book of Saints: Part 4, which I picked up (among other titles in this series) from a Dartmouth bookstore's closing sale in the spring of 2005.]

2 comments:

Simon Thibault said...

dartmtouth is full of us crazy catholics. you should see the church i gew up in.

check it out.

Miss Imperial said...

Wow! A beautiful balance of gothic and seaside.

Also, I was never able to embed a link in a comment before! Is this a new feature (amidst all Blogger's new features)? Wow again.