Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I Was Wrong

I leave for work extra early for my week start-up duties. This usually means I'm on the road from 2:30 to 3:30 a.m. to arrive at the plant by 4a.m.
Generally speaking, at this hour I have the roads largely to myself.
This morning, while making the transition from one freeway to the next through a very high overpass I noticed a white car pulled over to the side at the very peak of the transition.
There is no stopping lane there, yet there is bit of a buffer... maybe one-half car width separating the striped lane from the 4ft high concrete safety wall/guard rail.
The running lights of the suspect vehicle were on, but not the hazards.
That's stupid, I thought. Somebody won't see that the car isn't moving and he'll be receiving a large freeway-speed enema.
And, that's one hell of a place for a breakdown. Why doesn't he put the car in "N" and roll himself down and out of the way?
As I passed the stalled car, I took a look to see if it was occupied. It was. Seemed the driver was just sitting and waiting.
I thought to pull over and lend a hand. This was an uber-bad place to be stalled. Somebody's gonna get dead if he sits there like that.
No, I kept driving.
Much too worrisome of a location to be playing Good Samaritan. Cars fly through this connector at 70-plus and all I needed was one of them to be caught unaware before my ass got imbedded into a radiator. Such an event would likely hurt a lot.
Besides, it won't be long before a cop came cruising through anyway. Better let the cop do his job while I arrive safely at my own.

I carried that distressed driver's face in my mind all the way to work.
Should I have?
Yes. It's always right to help another.
No. How stupid would it be to get radiatored over an imbecile?

I played a game of ethical tug of war in my head for the next 25 miles.

I got to work and set about tending to my duties... yet, that image of the dude behind the wheel stayed with me. It was nagging me.
Damn... I should have pulled over and got the dude off off the interchange.
No. If I did, I may not be here thinking about it right now.
Darwin's Law, ya know?. Let it be, or it could have been me that got Darwined.

Cal and Francisco arrived at the plant around 5am. They are usually a bit earlier but talked of the traffic jam.
Huh? The lanes are free flowing at 4:00.
"Dude, there was an accident or something, right where the 15 connects to the 91."
"Yeah, the freeway was closed for like a mile"
"Didn't you see it? There was a body lying in the road, and the coroner van was there. Three Highway Patrols, too"
Where was this?
"Right where that big overpass, under it"
"He wouldn't see it. He was coming from the other direction."
"Oh, that's right... yeah..."
"Dude you missed it."
What happened?
"I don't know. No smashed cars, so I don't know what kind of accident or something..."
Directly under the interchange?
"Yeah. Right under. It was just right there. The body was laying on the pavement."
I was visibly upset, and they noticed.
"What did you see?"
Just a car. Parked at the top the interchange.

That face in the window haunted me all day.
That face still haunts me now, 16hrs later.
I should have done something.
I should have listened to that voice in my head.
But which voice?
I should have stopped...
I wish I had stopped.
Fuck Darwin.
I should have stopped.