A streetcar named dire


What an awful commute today. It was bad enough that I was running late this morning and had to take a cab, but on the way home, the traffic was terrible and I got hit by a streetcar.

Not a vehicle I was in. Me. Technically speaking, I suppose I can now say I got hit by a train and lived, like that guy with the dented head who used to shop at my grocery store.

What happened was that I saw it coming up behind me before I was at the stop, and I ran for it. I dashed out to the little traffic island and around the barrier separating the right lane of traffic from the tracks. But there wasn’t nearly as much clearance between the barrier and the tracks as I’d thought, and several tons of streetcar raced up behind me and hit me right in the back. Fortunately, the streetcar was rounded at the front, so I just got grazed hard across the shoulderblade and bounced off to the side, like a steer off a cowcatcher. If it had been something blunt and squared-off, if could have been a bad scene.

It didn’t even really hurt, though I’ve got a bit of a dull ache in the shoulderblade now. The driver, who’d seen his career flash before his eyes along with a glimpse of a guy in business casual ricocheting off the grille of his street car, was far more shaken up than I was. “Are you okay, buddy?” he asked. “Please don’t ever do that again.” I said I was fine; I’d been bodychecked much harder than that, just not by anything so large. And that I was sorry.

The streetcar got short-turned only a few blocks later and I had to ride home in the next one that came along, so I might as well have waited. When I got home after a interminable hour-and-a-half crawl through downtown Toronto, I ran into my housemate Toula out on the sidewalk. “How are you?” she asked.

“I just got hit by a streetcar!” I said.

She looked me up and down. “You don’t look it.”

I told her what had happened. “Well, I’m glad you’re okay,” she said. “It must be all those video games you play.” At the time, I thought she meant that they must have improved my reflexes and helped me avoid injury. Now I think she might have meant that I actually have gained bonus lives.

“The moral,” I said, “is not to dash out into traffic.”

She nodded. “And to get out of your apartment more often.” But she’s exactly wrong, of course. That doesn’t even make sense. I’ve never gotten hit by light rail transit by sitting around the house in my underwear. And really, that’s the moral.

4 Responses to “A streetcar named dire”

  1. We came very close to losing one of the great voices of our generation. I’ve sort of always thought of you as an online David Sedaris.

    I myself know the silent fear that is the streetcar. I almost got pegged by one in a brief visit to The Hague. The damn rails there are so clean and smooth, the last sound you’d hear would appear to be the sound of someone gently sharpening a kitchen knife.

  2. 2 Marlene

    I was really hoping to find a train story here. What a great story, Peter Lynn!

  3. Pete, you’re the only person I know who could respond to a near-death experience by vowing to live each day to its shallowest.

  1. 1 Merry Petermas « Man vs. Clown!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: