A Cautionary Tale - but chances are the ones who'd stand to benefit from it ain't reading our FB page
The highway isn't far from here. The fabled 101 glides through the Conejo Valley (cone-NAY-ho) and you can't really feel the valley until you see the rolling California hills. Conejo means 'rabbit' in Spanish and, although we see bunches of adorable, clueless babies each spring, the critters who eat them are far more evident in these parts. It could well be Coyote Valley.
It's not very developed where we are but, of course, that's ever changing. The dust from earth-moving trucks hangs steady in the air, awaiting the cooler nights which are just around the corner and then it sinks to a film on all things glass and shiny.
It's a rich place, this end of the valley: Where rich people wear comfortable shoes - with the price tag showing, as a friend once remarked. Because there is a large man-made lake here, that necessitates the purchase of boats which are docked behind many of the houses, but they don't outnumber the cars....
Ah, the cars. Since we were once afflicted with the need for said conquests, we now watch, bemused, as the guy/gal in a quarter of a million dollar ride tells the six bucks an hour Mexican guy at the (hand) carwash that he 'missed a spot'. But we never did THAT, we think, and imagine ourselves a bit further from the hell of "Shit You Do in This Precious Life That Will Really Look Bad on the Playback" reel.
Anyway, this morning was that kind of sweet first kiss of fall cool, the sort that would not unfold into a hellishly hot afternoon and we were enjoying a book on the patio when we heard the engine first. The Georgia gal in us perks always and is strangely curious at things like horsepower. It's only weird because we aren't speeders and, truly, don't like them. As in people who drive too fast. At a very young age, we'd run to the curb yelling, "Slow down!". Really. This was decades in advance of our grumpy old lady years. And this engine was on our road going that fast, not just a few hundred yards away on the freeway where real cops - not the likes of us - awaited.
Just as we realized that it was not just any speeding car, but one, in all probability, that was designed exactly for that, the sounds happened: That horrible grinding mix of steel hitting other hard things, the unnatural ripping noises that accompany a vehicle disassembling itself - with human help, natch - and then those pieces, in turn, creating the cacophony of grinding, rolling, smashing, and - so briefly - the tiniest parts hitting the ground last.
We've heard plenty of wrecks and this one sounded horrible. Jumping up to see over the balcony, we heard - a full few seconds after the metal show was over - the revving of the engine that we'd heard revved immediately prior to the wreck. But this time, that baby was sick.
The lane closest to our house is southbound. That's where we saw the stopped car, but facing completely a northbound direction. He was still revving the engine. We imagined that whoever was driving was in shock and then remembered to grab our phone and call 911.
My God. They wanted to chat. We did our best Jack Webb "just the facts, ma'am" impression as the woman on the other line queried us. (A word about adrenaline: It's pretty freaking awesome. We can think of seventeen thousand better ways in which we'd prefer delivery, though. We're just sayin'.). Despite that, we kept our cool with the dispatcher, answering as briefly and factually as possible. (We think Wesley would have been so proud.)
We only saw one vehicle, we explained. And it was beyond totaled. We could not tell if there were injuries and then and only then did we notice that there was no movement from the car that had spun 180 degrees at impact. The praying began.
And this: It seemed more important to phone at that moment instead of scoot outdoors and investigate. Maybe others would've done those things simultaneously. We just knew that Sunday morning would find most folks at home in this complex and, although no one had a better view of the accident scene from their unit than we did, a dozen people were closer than we were to making it out the iron gates to help....
And then they were there. Miraculously, we heard the fire engines within two minutes. We hurried downstairs to our patio where, on Gladys Kravitz tiptoes, we surveyed the scene.
The speeding - the lucky - son of a (colorful array of terms here) had not hit another car Surveying the damage to his ride, maybe he would have preferred it to his collision point: His 2016 Lamborghini Aventador was in smithereens.
We knew it was Lamborghini, but our neighbor had to tell us what specie. It might as well have been made of Legos this morning: Pieces scattered up and down the street along with giant chunks of concrete, brick and rebar for a hundred feet in three directions.
We saw the driver get out of the passenger door and it was hard not to giggle. People who buy cars with doors that open up instead of out may not be punchlines in their own mind, but. (Face palm for mankind here.)
Then we saw the dog.
Looked like pit bull/lab mix. Less than a year old.
The cops and firemen made the driver sit down and get examined.
Don't think we weren't dying to get closer and hear what was happening. Then our most talkative neighbor was six feet in front of our fence so that was unnecessary.
A cop walked up to another cop and said, "Wanna hear a good one? He said he was doing 35."
This would've been a good time for a spit take, but, as luck would have it, our coffee cup was empty. If we hadn't seen the officers with the measuring tape, etc maybe we would have marched our ass down and said, "Gentlemen, with all due respect, clown pants was hitting sixty easy."
Except the policeman said that exact thing the moment the thought ran through our pointy head.
Reckon somebody's angels didn't want her to be seen without at least lipstick on.
The policeman walking the shaking puppy to his car had grim expression on his face. We asked if the dog was OK. The man paused and said, in a quiet tone, "I think so. Seems to be. Poor little guy."
The driver was busy telling the policemen that the pup had suddenly jumped from the back seat to the front and that he was distracted for the moment. We didn't buy that for a second. Because we heard the car from a half mile off.
Then the puppy licked the cop and then it seemed like onion cutting was going on nearby.
They had to move that kid's car on a slide. A now inoperable $400,000 car, and all that we kept thinking about was the angels who maneuvered things where all that broken glass - and every window was shattered - didn't hurt that dog.
Perhaps we should express gratitude that the 30 something guy was OK. All right. We will do just that: We're glad he was not hurt. But something about his strut and - something was amiss. We figured shock. But a little voice said, "No. He is a jerk." Ahhhh.
Then twelve hours later, while we were at the grocery store, we heard the wreck mentioned. Seems knocking down the village sign was a big deal. There are only about 8000 people in our tiny city. Not much happens here. This week the local crime blotter actually reported the theft of six dollars worth of flowers from the grocery store. So this. Was huge.
We said we saw it afterwards. It was fun getting to be the one who was there. (Yeah, we know. Life Getting 101. Sending for the brochure.)
One guy explained. There was a gathering of Car Guys that morning. The Lamborghini guy was asked to leave. For several reasons. One was that he pulled up to the brunch in the valet parking area at about sixty MPH. Then he was trying to start a fight with a bunch of guys who were in their seventies. As in years-old. The owner of the business - a beautiful old inn - said, in an understated way, "He was wound way too tight."
That's not a sin.
Yet with car keys. (Wait. This probably didn't have a key. Just a button. Right. Maaaan, we're old.)
And that pretty puppy. Shaking
Did this ending trail off?
Maybe it's because it's scarier than an ending.
It's the middle of something for which there is no intervention.
The police, to our way of thinking, were cowed a bit by this guy.
Puffed up in his roid chest t shirt, only 30ish driving ten years of their pay and not blinking at its demise. Or how close he came to his own.
Angelic lessons are strange things. Maybe they're as much for the onlookers.
Maybe it's so that I'll remember to include that young man in my own prayers tonight because all of us are so much more than that vroom of a great engine sound and worth so much more than the gasping loss of metal and a scared puppy who doesn't know his daddy is fucking crazy.
We forgot to tell you what he HIT.
A giant sign telling people they're welcome to our fair city.
It was about five feet across and a few feet high and apparently sturdier than any of us knew. Another sign nearby cost 50K - but it has a brass sailboat on it and was commissioned. This one wasn't anything close, but nothing we'd care to hit at twenty mph much less warp speed.
In any case, it is no mas.