I went out between downpours to do a few errands and decided to drive through the town park.
On my way out of the park I got stuck behind the hayride thingie - they were moving it back to storage since the farm was closed due to rain.
I was half assed shooting a few shots of being stuck behind the too big for the road vehicle ...
I literally had to throw my camera down and jump out of my car to try and grab a little boy who was about to run into the main road. You can kinda see that the car in front of me braked but then moved on.
Why would the car move on? Well the little boy was with 3 adults. 3 grown ass women, parents I assume, with a gaggle of kids attached to them and all 3 of them on the phone. All 3!!
I saw them while I was waiting for the hayride truck to make the tight turn. I saw the kids get excited at seeing the hayride. Then they moved back under the trees since it had started to drizzle. When we got to the main entrance to the park, which leads out to a busy road, I saw them again. One child was falling over the fence, another was sitting in a puddle and well ... I went back to trying to get a decent shot of the hayride.
Then I let the red car in and, at a full stop, went back to adjusting my camera. I saw the boy dart out and the red car's brakes squealed and the driver shouted out and the little boy darted back in and the red car took off. Just as the little boy decided to run into the main road to see where the hayride had turned.
I was frozen for a second. All I remember is seeing the back of his head - a sweet little head with a marine buzz cut. I shouted, I think I said "Stop", I looked toward the cell phone addicts and they all had their back to me and him.
In one motion I put the car in park, threw the camera on the seat, and jumped out. I didn't even feel my ankle, knee, back or whatever else hurts at any given moment. I was transfixed by the back of his head and I heard, rather than saw, the rush of traffic.
He was too far to grab but I screamed at the top of my lungs - "Freeze! Right there! Do not move!"
And he froze. And he turned and looked at me. And he burst into tears.
And finally the adults noticed.
All the other children were stunned into silence. The little boy and I were in some kind of eye lock. I walked toward him saying I was sorry I had frightened him while his Mom rushed toward him screaming "are you OK? are you OK?"
He didn't stop looking at me until she picked him up.
I was blocking the lane and the car behind me, unaware of what had just happened, started honking. I gave him a look that literally caused him to shrink back in his seat. Ha! He backed out and went the long way out. Ha! It's about a mile off of any main road. Ha!
Mom tries to tell me she told him not to move, other Moms all cluck and start telling their children how dangerous traffic is and how they always have to listen.
I wanted so badly to hit her. I felt my fist clench. I saw myself punch her really hard in the face. I stared at the cell phone, still in her hand, because I just couldn't look at her. And because I really wanted to take it away from her.
"They never listen" she tells me. I say nothing.
"You have to have eyes in the back of your head" she tells me.
Well No, I think to myself, you just have to be facing your eyes in the right direction and you have to get off the phone.
All I said was - "I can't breathe thinking of what could have just happened."
She thanked me. She told her son to thank me. He cringed. I smiled at him and apologized again for frightening him.
She set him down and he ran to his friends. I turned to go back to my car and I just had to - I grabbed the Mom's arm and whispered in my best Brooklyn Gangsta I Can Kill With The Sheer Force of My Will Voice - "stay off the fucking phone and pay attention, if anything happened to him today it would have been all on you. You. Just you."
Then I went home and had a drink.
I'm a Mom. I know how impossible it is to be everywhere at the same time. I know how quick they are. I dropped Jeffrey because I fell asleep holding him. I lost him in a department store. My sister lost him in Rockefeller Center during the tree lighting. I know parents are just people. I know things happen.
All the more reason to pay attention.
I hate cell phones.