I Died at Least 250 Times Yesterday.

Yesterday, I was almost hit by a little bus on my way in to the office. I wasn’t even jaywalking at the time. Instead, I absent-mindedly decided to cross the street when it was not, in fact, OK to do so.

I guess you might say my signals got crossed. I looked at the green light and thought, “Green means go.” Which is totally and completely true if you’re driving a car. I was not driving a car. I was walking.

I was halfway across one street when I realized what I had done. The cars began to lurch forward at me; annoyed I was standing in there. I had two options: I could continue across by running and hope that the third lane wasn’t hiding a moving car, or I could walk back to the curb where I had come from. I decided to walk back to the curb where I had come from. It was at that very moment where the little bus began to move. I thought it would stop as soon as it saw me. It did not stop. It continued on until it came so close, I felt it against my shoulder.

A few things when through my mind at this point, and I’m not quite sure in what order they came because it all happened so fast. But here they are in no particular order.

“I’m going to die.”

“A little bus is going to kill me”

“Why is this guy not stopping?”

“I am stupid.”

Perhaps the weirdest thought, and the most shameful one, and, incidentally, the one I feel most shameful about having thought was:

“Strangers are going to laugh about how you died when they read about it in the paper.”

Finally, he saw me, but it was only after I had returned to the curb. Terror turned into relief and then immediately relief turned into shame. A young man stood on the curb next to me. He said something. I am unsure what that was. Using that lever I watched get pulled time and time again on hundreds of school buses all along the Eastern seaboard, the bus driver opened the bus door. He began screaming obscenities at me. The little bus driver was yelling obscenities at me. And then the kids on the little bus stood up, moved to the side of the bus I was on. They began to gawk. The little bus driver was screaming at me. The boy on the corner was talking to me in an accent I could not place. And a bunch of little kids on the little bus were collectively staring at me. Some of them were laughing.

I wasn’t sure what to do and so I lifted my hand and held it flat against the sky in the direction of the little bus driver. I figured that if I couldn’t see him, the sound of his voice would stop. The boy on the curb next to me said something else I couldn’t understand.

“I admit, I screwed up but what does he want me to do about that now?” I asked the boy next to me. He stared at me and finally said nothing. I suppose the bus driver got whatever anger out of his system through whatever angry words, because finally he did his best at slamming the door and continued on down the street.

Like one might wear sunburn after an eventful day spent under the sun, I wore my shame and stupidity all day long. And even last night as I lay down to sleep near no cars, or curbs, or crying bus drivers, I kept replaying it over and over again in my head each and every time being run over by the bus, each and every time differently.

Do we do this to ourselves to avoid being killed in the future? Because I was hit and killed 250 different times yesterday by a little bus that came close to killing me once.

15 Comments

  1. I totally, totally understand this because I experienced almost the exact same thing.

    I was in London about 3 years ago and got my signals crossed. With cars driving on the opposite side of the road and everything, I simply looked the wrong direction before crossing. Plus I was jet-lagged, plus I was in a city I don’t know very well. Needless to say, I stepped out right in front of a very large bus. Luckily my friend grabbed me and pulled me to the curb as the bus slammed on the brakes. It was close…way too close.

    People around me scorned me with their eyes and one man actually stopped to remind me that as an American I have to pay special attention to the traffic patterns in England. Hmm, that wasn’t obvious from the situation. I was completely humiliated. It wasn’t long before I was standing there crying. I was a big ball of anger, humiliation, fear, and relief.

    Like you, I replayed it in my head over and over and over. To this day, three years later, I still think about it. The feelings have become less intense with time, but the memory is still vivid. I wonder if it’s something I’ll ever forget. I certainly wish I could.

    Reply

  2. Wow, thank you so much for sharing that. You have made me feel a little better about it actually.

    Yesterday, I spent all day replaying it. I actually almost went back home figuring I was probably going to be off all day and I might want to just no go anywhere. (You have days like that? Where, looking back, it was probably best to have not left the house?) anyway, I continued on but what a scary event. It was ugly.

    I must remind you, sweet Erica, that movie Closer (which I didn’t much care for but hello, hotties!) began in much the same way and she met a boy because of it! :]

    In all seriousness, I bet I never foget this either.

    Why is it people point out what you’ve done wrong when you know full well already? Why do people do that? Bugs me. Especially coming from strangers.

    There are so many things about this that sit with me. For example, Tobyjoe would have left just a half hour later and surely would have seen or heard some aftermath had I been run over. What a mess. I must pay more mind. :/

    Reply

  3. i did exactly the same thing, in exactly the same city. except i got hit.
    not by a bus but by a triumph 350. which is solid steel. it took me with it. i remember the whole thing.
    it doesnt even matter if youre careful or observant.
    that bike had my name on it.
    lucky for me, my number wasnt up.
    mihow, please for christsake, dont get runned over. we’ve only just begun….to live…..

    Reply

  4. I think you should just walk around the city with a helmet on.

    Reply

  5. So wait a sec … you almost got hit by a little bus? Do you mean a short school bus? Full of retarded kids? I’m chuckling over the thought of a bunch of kids with CP and other challenges struggling toward the windows to jeer at you.

    Heh. The driver was probably cursing at you because he already had his hands full watching out for his passengers … maybe he was offering you a ride on his short bus? Or intimating that you should be on it?

    Reply

  6. Me? I have had my computer stolen over a thousand times in the past year…

    I keep blaming myself, when I shouldn’t. It’s kind of like a woman blaming herself for getting raped. I made a stupid decision, but an honest person wouldn’t have stolen my computer.

    My fiance keeps saying to me, I’m glad you weren’t there. I’d rather they have the computer than have hurt you.

    Something to keep in mind I guess.

    Doesn’t mean I’m any less pissed at myself for losing all the pictures stored on it.

    Reply

  7. Hemlock, what did you do that was stupid? I had a friend who once found cheap computers via Ebay and sent the guy a check and never got a computer. :/ Fraud. Sad.

    What did you do that you’re beating yourself up for?

    Charlie, I know where you live.

    Reply

  8. Sorry mihow, but i was thinking the same thing as Charlie, and now i can’t stop giggling :)
    I rode my bicycle out into traffic once without looking. Totally stupid. I was following someone and assumed that if he was going it was safe for me to go. Double stupid. I ran head-on into a parked car. Mortified!

    Reply

  9. I was bringing my stuff out from the hotel I was staying at (with a fairly secluded back parking area) and realized I had left the keys inside. I put my laptop and backpack in the back of the truck and ran back in. It was 7:00am and I was gone about a minute.

    They were watching.

    Creepy.

    I still blame myself because it was a dumb decision that cost me.

    The things I miss the most are the gig of pictures I had stored on the laptop, and the loss of my journal.

    Reply

  10. A friend of ours had something similar happen. He left his laptop in a bag at a bar. It had been closing time. He and a few other friends were the only people there besides the bartenders and the closers. (probably 4 people.) Realizing his error, he called from the cab and headed back over the bridge. When he got there, they said that there was no bag. SOmeone else must have taken it, yadda yadda yadda. Impossible. Totally made up. He lost a brand new Powerbook, all his work, everything. :/

    You’re not alone. It blows. Truly.

    Gina, I know where you live.

    Reply

  11. Awwww! A parked car? You’re forgiven. Poor gal.

    Reply

  12. Holy Jeebus! Be careful!

    Reply

  13. My wife had a similar experience, well getting hit, not crossing signals, but close enough. She was walking in the crosswalk and a very large van came around the corner and hit her. Luckily she was only bruised (and scared).
    The strange twist to this story is that afterwards we bought a paper and her horoscope said, and I quote:
    be careful in traffic, you are in danger of being struck by a large vehicle
    Isn’t that crazy? It wasn’t some rag either, but the Seattle Times. When has a horoscope ever been that specific? And why didn’t we buy the paper earlier?

    Reply

  14. Wow. Can you imagine if she had been hurt really badly and you had read that later? I don’t know you so I hope that it’s not a really harsh thing to write, but that just seems totally weird.

    At least she was there to talk about the horoscope with you. :/ Scary.

    Reply

  15. nope, yer not the only one – none of us are alone when it comes to simply human error. I cannot recount how many times I’ve nearly been knocked out of my shoes, absentmindedly waltzing forward into oncoming traffic. One time, my friend grabbed me by the back of my shirt collar and she literally saved my life – a racing taxi whizzed right in front of me, where I had been about to step. When she yanked me backwards, my right foot grazed the driver’s side of the front wheel well.

    Reply

Leave a Reply