Saturday, October 5, 2013

"Sorry to bother you mate, but I've just run over mum."

This really isn't a great way to begin a phone conversation with your son who has just this minute popped down to the store to pick up some bread for a convivial family luncheon.

The son had come over to help his retired, but not elderly parents chainsaw the ornamental tree uprooted by the fierce winds during the recent dramatic storms.

The storms had lit the night sky with angry cracking lightning, and walloping deluges of rain flooded streets and yards. The SES had been extremely busy clearing streets of massive fallen trees, uncovering cars bent beneath limbs and leaves, and providing emergency covering for houses unroofed by the violent winds.

This tree hadn't produced quite as much drama as others had experience around the state, and had been neatly and efficiently chainsawed up by father and son into dinky pieces of wood, suitable for a petite pot bellied stove. The chainsaws used for this exercise had been recently unboxed with a flourish; cute little electric numbers, just the ticket for tidy suburbia!

It's a bit of a challenge to put a positive spin on running over your children's dearly loved mother. Not a call that one would be proud or eager to make. It's not as if it was deliberate or anything like that, just a mistake. Unfortunate admittedly, unintentional (surely that doesn't need to be stated?) and extremely distressing for those involved.  But really, anyone could have confused the figure standing by the letterbox with a broom in her hands busily sweeping up fallen leaves and debris for a limb from the tree - couldn't they?

He'd said "Shall I move the car so you can sweep underneath?"

She'd said "Leave it a minute while I finish the driveway."

He'd decided to move the car regardless. Whether he didn't hear her, who knows, but the next thing she knows is that above the shwooshing sound of leaves being briskly whisked away to a new location, she hears the sound of the car, then whammo, she's on the ground, just missing cracking her skull on the brickwork holding up the metal letterbox. Oops.

Startled by the shock of finding herself on the tidily edged lawn face first in recently swept leaves, and aware of a sudden, unpleasant rise in blood pressure, she began cautiously to take stock.
Limbs intact? Check.
Gushing blood? No, thank goodness.
Obviously broken bones?  Hmm, possibly not.
Headache? Yes, definitely.
Nausea and shaking? Ugh, yes.

Husband's horrified face appeared in her line of vision - she shrieks, with a certain amount of force "don't touch me", no doubt sending the neighbours to the front windows to see what the commotion was all about.

"Ohmygodohmygod what have I done are you alright honey ohshitohshitohshit I didn't see you there I didn't mean to hurt you are you ok? ... What's that noise?"

She's dimly aware of him frantically looking back to the car.

He begins to take a step towards where it should have been, looks at her with undisguised shock and disbelief, and though he's clearly desperate to be by her side to comfort and apologise and tender assistance, he leaps gazelle like towards the violent metallic crunching, tearing, ripping LOUD noise moving steadily away from them into the road.

Craning her thankfully unbroken neck, she sees him leap into the driver's seat just inches before the car reverses into the over-the-road neighbour's front garden, and with the front driver's side door swingingly drunkenly at an extremely awkward angle, (definitely not according to the manufacturer's specifications) he swiftly and gracefully manoeuvres the runaway vehicle onto the nature strip ... without further incident ... or, more accurately none that she's aware of or that he admits to.

Apparently in the shock of the moment of hearing the thud of wife on ground in response to being nudged by the rear bumper bar, he'd leapt out, forgetting to shift the gear out of reverse and put it into park; forgetting to pull the handbrake on and also forgetting to shut the door. Oops.

Throughout the ordeal (I think it's fair to refer to it as such?) she managed to maintain her ladylike composure from her prone position, nose to dirt, and not utter any words that would have made her mother blush, although I wonder if in the privacy of the house later on, her comments might have been a touch more terse and colourful.

Bodies generally heal, the wifely one was bruised, shaken and distinctly upset, her blood pressure was unhealthily high, but is expected to settle quickly. I suspect she will invest in a high vis vest, flack jacket and crash helmet for gardening in future, it's clearly a dangerous pastime.

The car whilst technically drive-able was assuredly unroadworthy and unable to shelter its occupants from drizzle, rain or wind, and needed the tender, and no doubt expensive ministrations of the local smash and repair centre.

Interestingly this couple was thinking of purchasing a new vehicle. My suggestion would be to go for something with clear rearview vision, few blind spots and possibly a reversing camera. It's a no brainer really.
Thank goodness the paramedics weren't needed!

Blogged by Sue Travers
& based on a true story.



Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. good heavens above - I'd have thought neither of them would want to drive again .. and the neighbourhood might clear itself out - to keep a good distance from the couple!!

Well told .. my mother ran over my grandmother's dog - accidentally .. but she didn't like the dog?! Anyway enough said there ..

Great read - cheers Hilary

Sue Travers said...

Oh gosh Hilary, your comment about your mother running over your grandmother's dog reminded me than my mother ran over my cat when I was a teenager. It had been sleeping under the back wheel of the car and she didn't notice.

My friend is decidedly unhappy with her husband at the moment and unsurprisingly isn't as trusting as she was.The children will be keeping a close eye on dad from now on I'm sure!

Enjoy your week