May 30, 2008

On the Nexus of Auto Accidents and Carnivals

The presence of a group of fluttering balloons near the pictured accident scene on Laskey Road today heightened my sense that I was witnessing a scene from the theater of the absurd. While an auto accident is never an event that could be described as "fun," there is something about the surreality of being in or near an accident scene that makes people behave strangely.

Including geeks like me taking photos.

At this particular accident, each of the drivers managed to call a respective posse to further add to the gaggle of spectators. I counted at least three additional vehicles arriving to survey the scene, offer their opinions on the guilty party, and generally make the work of the responding officers more complicated:

"Did you actually witness the accident, ma'am?" the cop asked of the pesky older woman poking her nose in the business of accident scene management. "If not, then please move away from the accident scene. Thank you!"

No carnival is complete without a freak show, and there were more than a handful of characters who qualified in this respect, though none were resplendent in bodystockings. At the top of the list was the long-haired, mutton-chopped flake driving an old Chevy pickup truck plastered with Confederate flag stickers. He seemed to believe he was some sort of rednecked master of ceremonies, moving from person to person and pestering the police officers with questions:

"I think you should do a Breathalyzer test," he asked the cop. "Are you going to do a Breathalyzer test?"

Personally, I think any tests that needed to be done should involve our inbred interloper, and they should be of a DNA-type nature, but admittedly I never had much use for fans of the Klan.

Joining Billy Bob in the freak show was the assortment of idiot drivers who seemed to think that their vehicular trips were important enough to try and squeeze between the officers, the damaged vehicles, and the bystanders. Far be it from Suzy SUV and Melvin Mustang to take a one-block detour so that the police and the drivers of the accident vehicles could sort out the mess.

Any good carnival also needs entertainment from the animal world, and our accident also provided such amenities. The smaller vehicle contained a good-sized dog, perhaps a Lab-shepherd mix, and he was sitting in the passenger-side front seat with the deployed airbag.

I don't know if Sir Pooch was in that spot during the accident, or if he found the spot more reassuring in the post-accident chaos, but he seemed fine.

And finally, as the scene wound down, along came the ice cream truck, providing an opportunity for refreshments if any of the participants or bystanders needed a cool drink or a Bomb Pop after the festivities. By this time, there were some 25 people milling about the accident, and I have to bet that the enterprising mobile merchant had to make a couple of bucks.


Carol said...

Mike - we used to refer to those "concerned citizens" that show up at an accident scene as the "Uh Oh squad." Sounds like a typical day of a spectator in the city. LOL

Knights97 said...
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