food and sundries

Count Your Blessings

Filed under: Uncategorized — May 23, 2012 @ 4:01 pm

It was so slow last Saturday that we had time to step out the restaurant’s front door to take in what was glorious weather (and probably the reason for the slow pace). As I proceeded to the door, I saw them: the flashing red and blue of emergency lights.

“Someone hit a bicyclist,” said the hostess (who had already been out).

Another server walked back in just then, looking shaken. “The bicycle’s still in the street. There’s blood.”

“How bad?”

“Looks pretty bad.”

I watched a little from the doorway, unable to see much more than the fire engine parked nearby from there. A little later, I went out the restaurant’s back door with our busser and walked to the scene.

The area was wound in yellow police tape and police criss-crossed the cordoned-off lane, conducting an investigation. The bike lay on the pavement; a grey Acura still sat posed in mid-turn, its front end dented from impact, its flashers stuck in staccato “emergency” mode. It seemed clear to me that the car had been making a left off of Main Street onto Pleasant Street and had struck the bicyclist (later determined to be a local male teenager) as he crossed Pleasant from the other direction.

I thought about the offending intersection. I had been sitting in the same left-turn lane just a few days before thinking that it was crazy they didn’t have a left-turn signal at that point. It’s the busiest intersection in town and the lack of a turn light results in cars turning left from there racing through in the split second before the light turns red or else having to sit through multiple light cycles before having a chance to turn. If a pedestrian or unwary bicyclist were to race through…, well…. The results were clearly disastrous for both driver and cyclist. I wonder how soon the City will have a turn light up now?

Of course, the accident made the local news, and I have been checking every day since, hoping the bicyclist pulls through, feeling somehow connected, having been so physically close when it happened. Last word is that he’s still in critical condition.

I ache for the driver too, sure that he’s distraught. Witness reports indicate that the cyclist had been traveling too fast, weaving in and out of traffic, listening to music, not wearing a helmet.

Two tragedies playing out in a split second.

I live in fear of that, which is why I often avoid downtown driving—with its too-cavalier pedestrians and multi-faceted distractions.

I’ve been much more vigilant since—a tiny silver lining to a day that darkened so quickly into calamity.

I am thinking of you both, Harry Delmolino (the cyclist) and Celso Avelar (the driver).


P.S. Moments after I wrote the above draft, I was saddened to learn that the bicyclist has died. In his memory, please hug your loved ones today. It’s sometimes hard to remember, but a single moment can take or change your life forever.

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