Friday, September 12, 2008

Didn't See It Coming

Absence makes the heart grow stronger? No, well maybe not. Sorry for being AWOL for a while. I have been finding it hard to snatch the requisite five minutes to fling my thoughts into cyberspace.

Anna is on the cusp of giving up naps. She is a nap-tease. Running round a mile a minute throughout her normal nap time (approx 1pm-3pm, ahh, those were the days), eschewing sleep or even my suggestion of ‘quiet time’, ie get the chuff away from Mummy and for the love of God stop talking. Then she will more often than not crash at 5pm. Too early to be put to bed for good, but too late for any use.

I knew that naps were going to end at some point, I’d just hoped it would be closer to age 18.

In the meantime, we’ve had both anniversaries and birthdays. My birthday went swimmingly. As in, Anna crawled in to our bed at 4am, then at 5:15 we woke up swimming in toddler urine. Nothing says Happy Birthday! like a pre-dawn sheet-strip.

The sudden wake-up calls continued this morning when Anna and I witnessed a car plough into a moped right before our very eyes. There we were, happily chatting about whether ants cans dance (my argument, yes, but do they?, unlikely) when all of a sudden *bang* and a person flying across the tarmac.

You would think my first thoughts would have been, 'shit, a crash’ or ‘if I was going any faster I would have flattened that poor soul’, but no, I distinctly remember seeing the moped and rider sailing sideways and I thought ‘well, that’s odd’.

Someone is missing their pre-pregnancy cups of coffee, obviously.

It was all rather anti-climactic after that. The moped rider hobbled to the side of the road, some kind soul picked up her scooter and (fortunately for me) people swarmed to offer their witness assistance. I parked half a block later in front of Anna’s school and noticed that the driver of the car was getting out with a look that said ‘oh well, guess I’m going to be late for work’. No concern, no hurry, just an embarrassed half-smile, a rueful grin. Meanwhile I was really shaken. Anna was happily oblivious, wondering why the bike was parked in the street, and I'm trying to hold back the tears. Stupid baby hormones. I just can't seem to get a grip these days.

The 4-wheeler versus 2-wheeler scene must be repeated twenty times a day in this town, because for the last 6 months mopeds, vespas and the like have hit Santa Barbara like a swarm of locusts. A swarm of brightly coloured retro-locusts. It makes sense. Gas prices are high, nowhere in Santa Barbara is more than 15 minutes away, people here love to be seen to be green, and it very rarely rains. Whether or not these moped drivers are inexperienced is not the issue (and most, swerving, and buzzing their way around town with a baguette and a yoga mat in their basket seem to be), the truth is other drivers just don’t see them.

The same is true of bicycles. I went to University in a town swarming with bikes. A Medieval town with ridiculously car-unfriendly tiny streets and alleys, and practically no parking. You went everywhere by bike and people would blithely walk out in front of you all the time. Let me just tell you, it hurts like a mutha-fucka to get hit by a bike, and your pride is very often just as badly injured. Tourists were particular culprits, failing to realise we 'drove on the wrong side', looking the wrong way while stepping directly in your path, your bike bell sounding its futile tinkle.

All of these points I made repeatedly to Anna on our walk in to school. No murdercycles for you young lady! No not paying attention. No bad grammar!! Although I held off on really driving it home in case she was tempted to rebel and start a preschooler Hells Angels of her own, complete with Barbie trikes and streamers. Her princess posse riding off in to the sunset, flashing Incy-Wincy Spider gang signs for all to see.


mama speak said...

love the visual of the princess posse! I'm totally stealing that theme for a scrapbook page one of these days.

Hyphen Mama said...

I always use those times to remind Wynnie that "that person didn't listen to his/her mommy and crossed the street without looking both ways and he/she got hit by a car". It works for flattened squirrels on the street, too. I've probably scarred her for life. If I'm lucky!

Expatmum said...

In Illinois they don't even have to wear crash helmets. We call them all "organ donors".

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's kinda scary to have to watch something like that happen. Glad it didn't turn out to be too serious. In moments like that, I've noticed time kinda slows down and makes the event very clear. At least that has been my experience.

I happened to notice that you're an expat. I work for a company called jaxtr (, which offers low international calling rates. I thought it may be of interest to you.

Take care, and enjoy watching your daughter grow up. =)