Oh the Places You'll Go
Today’s blog is going to be slightly off topic. I realize it’s also two days late, but unfortunately life happens while you’re busy making other plans. For those of you that actually read this and don’t know, for the most part I’m a stay-at-home dad when I’m not out taking photographs. A lot of the time if I’m just doing landscapes, I take the boyo out with me for a walk and we go exploring together. I think for the most part it helps my landscape photography, because many times he’ll spot something that I may have overlooked. He definitely gives me a new perspective on a lot of things, and not just in photography. The main reason I tend to update the blog on Wednesdays is because that is the day that we set aside to take him to daycare so that I get at least one day a week to sit down, uninterrupted, and do what I need to do, whether it is general house maintenance, photography related, or other.
Well, this week I didn’t end up taking him to daycare. He had pneumonia earlier in the fall, and he’s been coughing a lot the last few days, so Mama and I weren’t sure if his pneumonia was coming back, allergies were acting up, or other. So, he stayed home with me and we went to the doctor’s office. Doc says that it’s just allergies/cold, and prescribed us some OTC kiddie Benadryl.
The reason that this is all important is that sometimes it’s funny the path life takes for us. I was scheduled to do real estate photos for my step-sister who is putting her house on the market soon, but because I can’t bring the little guy with me for that I had to reschedule for the next morning.
So, I talked to my mom and she can watch the Boyo Thursday morning while I go to do the photos, with the only caveat being that she has a dentist appointment to go to late-morning/early-afternoon so time is limited. Of course Thursday morning comes up, and I’m running late (for me) out of the house. It didn’t help that a little guy was snuggled in his bed and didn’t want to get dressed.
I skipped breakfast thinking that I would barely have enough time to get to my mother’s, drop off the Boyo, get to my step-sister’s, take the photos, and get back before my mother had to leave. When I got to her house I found out that she had to leave about an hour later than I had previously thought so I had a little bit of leeway. Deciding that getting breakfast on the way to my step-sister’s house was a good idea, I headed out.
When I got to one of the intersections I knew that there was a fast food place if I turned, but I spaced and couldn’t remember if I had to turn left or right. I have a standing rule that anytime I come to a fork in the road, and I don’t know which one to take, I take the right. (Has to do with growing up watching Ichabod Crane. When Crane came to the fork, he went left, and lost his head.) As soon as I made the right turn, I knew I was headed in the wrong direction. As I approach the next intersection to turn around it happened. Up ahead at the intersection, SUV got T-Boned.
From where I was I didn’t even see the SUV get hit at first. It looked like they had misjudged where the median was and tried to correct. I literally saw the SUV “jump” about three feet, and had initially thought that they had hit something in the median, like a curb.
As I approached the intersection, I knew something was odd because the SUV was near the wrong median for what I thought I saw. Upon making the left turn, I saw the other car. The driver looked dazed, but given the deflated airbag I think that’s understandable. I pulled into the parking lot of the church (I think…honestly wasn’t paying attention to the building when I pulled in), and after a few of us made sure that everyone was okay, it was time to wait for the cops to show up and take statements. Which, thanks to the days of modern technology, everyone was on a cell phone within seconds of the accident, and I think Fire, EMS, and Police were there within a matter of 5 minutes, if that long.
I have to admit, having the camera in the car, I was very tempted to take a few shots of the accident. You have to understand that it’s nothing to do with the general morbidness of an accident, but my grandfather was a crime scene photographer for a number of years. I was wondering if I should take photos in case either party needed them for insurance.
I think the thing that stopped me the most though was the kids. Both vehicles had infants in the car. From where I was, everyone appeared to be fine, but as a parent seeing infants being pulled out of the vehicles stopped me cold. The front end of the car was completely smashed, and the side of the SUV was pretty well dented, but as I said, it looked to me like everyone was fine. Both parents were walking back and forth and the children although crying appeared to be more scared than hurt.
I know photographers get a lot of bad press for how they can act during an accident or in crisis situations. There was that incident in New York City not that long ago with the photographer accused of taking photos instead of helping the guy that fell onto the subway track, but just like EMS, Police, and Firefighters we are trained to do a specific job in all types of situations. In a critical situation, a photojournalist’s job especially, is to keep a cool head and take the photos.
Should I have taken photos of the accident? Probably, and I think that if I had happened upon the accident rather than being a witness to it I would have been able to do that.
Either way, I hope both families are safe and secure. I congratulate all of the emergency personnel on their quick response time, and for the witnesses that stuck around.
It still amazes me the twists and turns that life can take. The only reason I was even at that accident in the first place is because I took a wrong turn, after being late (or thinking I’d be late in any case), after rescheduling.
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