What If Moment: Traffic Accidents

Yes Missy! mentioned how she enjoyed those “what if” moments, in reference to a post I did several days ago about a chance meeting with a young man on a bus. And her comment reminded me of a “what if” moment I had years ago in Mexico City.

I was on Insurgentes Avenue, near the Zona Rosa, waiting to cross the street. It’s a wide street, with two or three lanes (you can never tell since in most parts, they don’t paint in the lane lines) of traffic going in either direction. The corner I happened to be standing on was a strange blind corner, by what is now near the Hamburgo Metrobus Station. The Excalibur Hotel was right on the corner and I remember looking down the street, while I still had the red light, and saw two tourist come up. They looked about 20-25 with typical touristy wear: cargo-pants-type shorts and t-shirts. They stood on my right and waited with me for the light to turn green. Next to me, in the street, was a VW Bug cab, waiting to take the right.

Now, I have a bit of thing where I really like to blend in with the locals. I don’t like looking like I don’t belong because it makes you a bigger target for thieves so standing in a group with paisanos made me really nervous.

So while we still had the red, I crossed the street to a small center island corner and then, to the next main corner on the same side of the street.

The light turned green.

I was nearly to the center when I heard a crash: I turned.

Another cab had come out from behind the VW Bug cab and, trying to get the jump on him, leaf-frogged and sped right out in a sort of large “u” at the green light to pass him up.

He struck one of the two tourists I was on the corner with.

Blood was running down his face as his friend was screaming, pulling at his hair and all out freaking out.

As I tried dialing for an ambulance, my hands shook and I waited until one came before I left the scene.

It was only later that it dawned upon me: had I stayed on that corner, it would have been me that would have been hit. I was the closest to that side of traffic.

I was the closest to that side of traffic.

At the time, I was a starving student, giving English classes to make ends meet. Had I been hit by that taxi, I would have been in a public hospital. I wouldn’t have been able to work and I probably would have had to stand in lines while I was still recovering from some quickly applied healing procedures, surrounded by a barrage of sick patients who had been waiting 20 years to get attended to. And I probably would be suffering side effects from that accident to this very day.

Like I said, Destiny has got me by the hand and is telling me to run with it.


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