04 July 2007


The rest of the family is asleep at the moment, and that's quite an accomplishment.  We've had a terrible time getting Sumner to sleep over the past few days; in fact, I can hardly remember a time when he acted this crazy.  He was barking mad last night, I was afraid he'd lose his mind, hez was so tired.  Wife and I both made a special mental note to try extra hard today.

Again, he's asleep now, for which I am grateful. 

For this week's entry, I wanted to report on how Sumner did in school.  Well, he did just fine.  Really great. In fact, I'm pretty sure he saved all his naughtiness for the weekend with his folks.  That's fine, better here in a controlled situation.

We had an interesting day yesterday.  As the sun was setting and dusk was establishing its mighty grip on the streets around us, the nightly rounds of ATV rides begun.  These things are ghastly, noisy beasts, and I have been of the mindset to walk outside and ask them if they could knock it the frack off on more than one occasion.  But I've held my tongue.  Thank goodness I haven't entered the "get off my lawn" phase of my life.  Hopefully never.

Back and forth they rode, quiet Quiet QUIET loud Loud LOUD RaCkEt QUIET quiet gone.  Rinse, repeat.  My blood was beginning to boil, and that sensitive spot right above my eye?  Twitching.  Like the alarm clock on Peter Pan.  Tick Tock Tick Tock Tick Tock. 

Eventually it became as background noise, and I was impervious to its effect.  Oh, it was still there, but I was one resigned man, sitting inside his resigned house with his resigned family.  This would go on for weeks, it seemed now.  At least until they lost their enthusiasm for the ATV.

*SMACK* rumble rumble rumble

I hardly made a move, but the wife darted up from the couch and said, "Did they just hit our house?"

"No, they couldn't have", said I.  My house isn't on the corner of the street, and we're surrounded by at least 10 feet of rock on both sides.  We're safe.

"I'm gonna go check it out", said the wife.  By this time, I was out the side door of the house.  My wife arrived through the garage at the same time.

She called it.  They ran straight into our house. 

It's hard to recall what emotion I was feeling at this point.  Until this moment in my life, I had experienced some pretty bad stuff, car accidents, lost jobs, health issues, all with their accompanying emotions.  But this was different.  I was toying with the idea that it might be good to get mad.  So I did.

"I'm really sorry about your house", said my neighbor.  I mentioned something like sorry wasn't going to cut it, and immediately regretted it.  Because at that moment, I saw the driver of the ATV.

And then I saw his leg.

His leg hit the house first, not the ATV.  Let me explain.  The force from the 40mph collision was absorbed by the single right leg of this gentleman.  The ATV came afterward.

His lower leg was almost off.  What to do?  Wife went to get ice.  I went to get bandages. 

"I don't think it's broken", said the young man.  "If it were, I'd be crying, right?"

"Um, you just sit there.  I'll be right back." 

As I ran up the stairs, I thought about my initial reaction to the scene.  Why had I gotten so mad?  It was just a house, which could easily be repaired.  This young man could have lost his leg or his life.  I didn't even think to look around for injuries.

I felt like a jackass, and I deserved it.

I ran back outside and everyone was still there, and the leg looked much worse by now.  My neighbor proceeded to tell me to send him a bill for my house repairs. 

I turned to him and pleaded with him to please forget the house for now.  I apologized for overreacting, and begged him to get his friend to a hospital.  He delayed further, which deepened my emotional despair. 

Eventually, they got him back to the house, and the family and I walked back into ours, amazed at what just transpired.  I fiddled around for a few minutes, trying to rationalize my reaction within my own mind, when my wife decided to jump into the foray. 

She mentioned that I didn't see the poor kid at first, and that anyone would be upset when such a large chunk of their house was missing.  Fine, but I still feel bad. 

She mentioned that I didn't raise my voice, and that I didn't sound mad.  Fine, but I remained steadfastly troubled. 

With nothing else to do, I went back upstairs to my medicine cabinet and, remembering the traumatic experience when I shattered my own knee, retrieved a few of the remaining narcotics that I had left.  Not likely they'd accept them, but if anyone needed them at this time, it was this young man.

You see, he was from Mexico, and most likely had no insurance.  I had no idea when they'd even get them to the hospital. 

I walked over to their house, knocked firmly but warmly on the door, and spoke to my neighbor again.  The first thing he said was that he already found someone to fix the side of my house. 

Yep, there was that guilty pang again, right on queue. 

I shrugged his comments aside, asking him how his friend was, and offering the medicine at the same time.  He accepted it, and at the same time informed me that they were going to the Urgent Care as soon as they could.  I breathed a sigh of relief, apologized one last time for my reaction, and bid him good evening.

Later that evening, I was talking about the experience again with my wife.  She was her usual compassionate self, gently scratching my back and speaking her words of kindness.  She said that she knew one of the reasons why I took the medicine over there was to make sure the kid was alright. 

But the truth is, I only wanted one more chance to apologize for the way I reacted.  The medicine, while convenient and needed, was merely a mechanism for delivery.

I think I learned my lesson this weekend. 


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