Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Slideshows

I remember arriving home one day, and for some reason the slide projector in my head was clacking away, frame after frame projected against the white screen of my mind. Clic-Clack steam rising from the obliterated front end of what was a speeding Mustang just one minute ago, only barely visible on this moonlit night. Clic-Clack the crumpled body of the driver of the Mustang, now mangled in the crushed front end of the Minivan that he had just struck head on. Clic-Clack looking down the dark roadway at the darker lifeless body of what must have been the passenger in the Mustang, ejected through the windscreen like the driver, but who sailed past the minivan instead. Clic-Clack closer now to the body on the roadway, legs crumpled, torso scrunched up with shoulders inclined down as if the head were kissing the ground, but something a little funny about that. Clic-Clack closer now from the side of the body on the roadway - sweet Jesus fucking Christ - the shoulders and neck inclined into the roadway, but you cant bury your head in asphalt, where in the name of Christ is your head? Clic-Clack looking up toward the side of the darkened road, and seeing the small, round, black form sitting on the shoulder.....oh fuck, I could feel the heave in my gut, and I just started puking right there......

"David, have you heard one word of what Rudi has been saying?" It was Katherine, pissed of course.

"Oh, sorry! What was that Rudi?"

"I was asking... I was just asking if you wanted to play spies with me daddy. You can be spy number two, and I will be spy number one"

"Spies! ok little guy, lets go play spies. But why can't I be spy number one?" was muted somewhat now, but the slideshow continued relentlessly.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


On a very few occasions, especially over the last few years, it has seemed as if I could actually predict the outcome of a situation while it was in progress. The most compelling of these was the incident invovlving the two racing drivers in Kitchener, on November 30 2005.

To keep a long story short, I was in the position of being involved in the situation well before the collision that resulted in the death of an innocent driver. I was driving up Victoria Street one afternoon, when a vehicle being driven in a very agressive manner came up behind me, following far too close. I knew he was trouble. It was a two lane road in each direction, and he was behind me in the left, as it seemed to be moving faster initially. I knew the road very well, and wanted to keep this idiot behind me until the road widened past the expressway, so as I watched the traffic flow ahead, I noticed that the driver in our lane ahead was losing a bit of speed, so I thought I would make the change to the right lane, now moving a bit faster. Too late though, because just as I decided to make the change and signal right, the guy behind me in the SUV had jumped in and nosed his way forward. Sixty seconds later an innocent man, Mike Doherty, was fatally injured.

What gets me is that I had identified a potential issue, and decided to do something to prevent it from becoming worse, but unfortunately I acted too late. Had I acted on my instinct and experience one second earlier, Mike Doherty would be alive. One time I mentioned this to Katherine who replied that I couldn't have done anything about it. Well in this particular case I could have, but decided to late, and someone died as a result. That is something I get to live with, that directly or indirectly, I failed to prevent someone from dying. Perhaps someday you will be in a situation like that, or know someone who is. Guilt will be a strong emotional response. Don't try to invalidate it by suggesting you or they "couldn't do a thing about it". I think a much better response to the person experiencing the guilt is the simple, unadorned truth: You could have done something about it, but for whatever reason you did not, or could not, or what you did was too late; it is these mistakes that make us human, and that we learn from: perhaps in a future situation what you do will lead to a better outcome.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Other Victims

As I have mentioned earlier, some of my encounters with the cloaked traveller were a direct result of someone's complete lack of good judgement, or selfishness, or total lack of respnsibility. It is these events to which I consider the traveller has been invited, when he absolutely did not need to be. Generally it is easy to determine who the victims are, as they are lying lifeless in their vehicles, or die on the way to hospital, or perhaps after being admitted. And for some reason, these victims generally did not bring their deaths upon themselves, but had another person deal them their final hand.

There are however, a group of other individuals who can also be identified as victims. Although they do not suffer any physical harm, the emotional, psychological, and mental injuries they suffer can last a lifetime. They are the people who, like me, have to witness the completely abysmal behaviour of some total fuck-up who, driving like a complete moron decides to kill somebody else on the road. Pardon the language, but there really isn't a simpler way of expressing it.

My goal in presenting this argument is not to garner any sympathy, as I don't need it, but for the reader to understand that in every collision that claims a life or lives, not only are the lives of the few people directly involved affected, but those of a large number of other people as well: The families and friends of the all the drivers and passengers involved in the collision, all of the witnesses to the collision, and their families, as well as all the emergency personnel called out to clean up the carnage.

Sometimes I get angry, and think "What fucking right do you (the irresponsible driver) have to come out here on a public roadway, risking the lives of both yourself, and other innocent people, or even killing someone outright.....If you want some death, just stay at home and blow your fucking brains out in front of your TV, and make the world a whole better place."

I remember testifying in a case involving two men charged with Dangerous Driving (Cause Death) about a year and a half ago. One thing I will never forget is speaking with another witness, who had been driving directly behind the vehicle involved in the head-on collision caused by one of the two "racing" vehicles. It had been almost two years after the collision, and in that length of time she never got behind the steering wheel of a car. She had been completely traumatized by the violence and horrific nature of the collision, and the death of the innocent driver in front of her. Not a particularly good thing for her, as she had a good career as an outside sales representative of a large canadian pharmaceutical company. I think the company made room for her in the organization, but what if they couldn't? That would be the end of her career in that field.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

No One Said Life Was Fair

Over the years I have lost count of the number of people I have witnessed die. It is certainly well over 10, but if i sat down and thought about it, dug deep, I think the count is closer to 15 or 16. There are many questions I have asked myself, thoughts I have pondered, as a result of my meetings with the traveller. Probably the most compelling, however, is the argument that life should be fair, that of those who died, most of them did not deserve death. Why did these people die? Whose right was it to take their lives from them? I can't begin to imagine the sense of loss, heartbreak, and sorrow experienced by those who have been told that someone they love has died as a result of an automobile collision.
One of the more recent