Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Conversation

What follows is a conversation I had recently with a nice young lady, a professional I deal with on the rare occasion. The conversation occurred over a month ago, and I have taken a bit of license in retelling, especially with regard to details about the accident.

"I don't say I suffer from it, but I guess I could say I am affected by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder."

"Oh my god, what do you do, are you a firefighter, or a cop or something?"

"Nope, I just drive, I drive, and I see people die... In car accidents - collisions actually, I just have the luck to seeing them happen a lot."

"Well, that's not really luck..."

"Luck for me perhaps, I'm still alive... But yeah, I have probably seen a dozen fatal collisions. Things that have made me turn around and puke out my guts, things that have made cops arriving do the same thing... I just happen to be there right when, I mean these things happen right in front of me... It starts to give you a different outlook on things."

"Yeah, I can imagine, like things matter differently."

"Yeah, like everythings okay when no one dies, you start to relax about everything, 'cause nothing really matters that much, what people think are problems aren't that big really."

"Wow, I kind of know how you feel."

"I had a feeling you might, what happened... What was it you saw?"

"There was... It was a guy racing a motorbike, way too fast...Lost control totally after passing us on the way to Grand Bend... Just going way, way, way to fast, couldn't make the curve, hit the shoulder, then flipped into the ditch and into a tree."

"Jesus, that's terrible... So he died"

"Yeah, and his buddies were on other bikes right behind, it was terrible. His body was completely crushed when he hit the tree, and his friends... his friends were completely freakin out, calling his name, trying to get him to respond... but the guy was dead, obviously... instantly."

"Long time ago now?"

"A couple of years now, four actually"

"You still cry? I mean, something sets you off, and you just cry"

"Yeah... Yeah I do."

"It gets a bit easier with time... but you will always find something does set you off... I was at the cottage recently, reading an article by some guy who came across a collision... Joining the club I guess! I just broke down and cried. It all comes flooding back..."

"And I get angry... I hate to say it, I just... I really..."

"You're pissed at him for doing that, for killing himself..."

"Yeah, exactly... I know it's not right, but sometimes I hate him for what he did... I mean he was married, and had two kids... Christ how can you do that? How can you be... How can you..."

"Be so completely irresponsible?"

"Yes... How can a person do that? I just can't imagine being like that"

"I don't know, I really don't"

"And even now I get angry when I see guys doing stupid things like that... I mean my husband was with me, saw the whole thing, he would never do anything like that..."

"At least he knows how it affects you, and you him... Lots of people will never understand really..."

"Yeah I got that, It's not that bad really, but still, It's there... you're right, they have no idea"

"Welcome to the club... There are no merit badges or anything though, just scars... that fade over time..."