Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Punch and Bind

So I was in the windowless conference room doing velobinding for the annual reports my coworker generates, and suddenly there was a ruckus outside which I heard even from my location. I figured it was just some folks shouting at each other, as they tend to do around here. Then a couple minutes later I heard my coworkers talking from my boss' office and discerned the phrases "run over" and "crushed his head." Turns out that, right outside our building, a man on crutches (one of the clients of our social services tenant) was crossing the two-line highway, a dangerous proposition at any time but heaven forfend anybody actually walk down to the corner and cross at the light, and a truck didn't see him and backed over him, apparently decapitating him in the process. I say "apparently" because, quite fortunately, my coworkers were very good about keeping me from any angle at which I'd be able to see the gruesome outcome. (My coworker who saw it is still sick to her stomach.) This happened around 11 AM or so, and it's now 2 PM and the police and emergency vehicles are still blocking off the street and the entrance to our parking lot. I keep glancing out at the yellow tape, not wanting to see any more, but the blood is there under the truck and... What makes people watch this? Why am I glancing at it? Nothing's going to happen at this point. I dunno, maybe it's the idea of being close to death but spared from it one's self, and so we have to keep looking over to reassure ourselves that we're still spared this poor man's fate and that, by continuing to look, we're somehow paying our respects.