Hobgoblin is doing well after his accident, although he’s in pain. I think it’s often true that the day after an accident is worse than the day of the accident itself. The initial shock is over, the body has had time to figure out what has happened and to protest, and new aches and pains and bruises keep appearing. Hobgoblin keeps saying he feels like he’s been hit by a truck and then laughing because he has, in fact, been hit by a truck. We spent today running accident-related errands, sad about the accident, but happy that we both had an air-tight excuse to get out of irritating meetings at school.
It’s odd how most days are completely normal and not much surprising happens, and then all the sudden one day turns out to be entirely different than what you expected. Yesterday and today both were like that, not at all what I thought they would be. I was settling down into an afternoon of work on my courses for the fall yesterday when I got a phone call from an unknown woman who said Hobgoblin had been hit by a car, she’d called 911, and an ambulance was on the way. It was one of those moments when I realized my life could from now on be completely and utterly different — when I asked if Hobgoblin was okay, the woman didn’t really answer me, and so the only thing I could do was imagine the worst. Her mention of a backboard and neck brace and the fact that they were trying to keep him still and that they had stopped traffic all along the road so there was no point in trying to drive out there just made it worse.
It turned out, of course, that the worst hadn’t happened, but for a good hour or so, I had no idea.
This accident has been hard on Hobgoblin and, to a much lesser extent, hard on me, but both of us agree that, short of something awful like permanent paralysis, it’s better to be the one hit than the one who did the hitting. We both feel a little bad for the driver. When we visited the police department today to pick up Hobgoblin’s bike, the officer who handled the incident said that the driver felt terrible about what he’d caused.
The thing is, I can easily see how I could do exactly what the driver did. He wasn’t out to hurt anybody; he was just distracted or absent-minded, things I often am, and he simply didn’t see the cyclist right there in front of him. It’s impossible to stay aware of everything going on around you at all times, so who can possibly say they will never be responsible for hitting someone? For very good reasons Hobgoblin doesn’t want to have any contact with the driver (I would feel the same way too), but I hope he finds out one way or another that Hobgoblin is fine and suffered only minor injuries. In some ways, Hobgoblin is the lucky one — he has a broken bike and some injuries, but the driver has to live with guilt.
Things should be back to normal soon and we will put this behind us, but I hope to remember this enough to stay cautious on the road and I hope I’m lucky enough never to cause such an accident myself.