Yesterday I went off to Home Depot to buy faucets, because on Monday I’m finally having most of the plumbing replaced. (This is not as horrendous as it sounds, because the plumbing in this house is mostly an afterthought, and hangs conveniently from the underside of the beams down in the cellar. It is, however, galvanized steel, and was put in some time in the 1930s, so… it’s time.) As I came in the back door, I noticed that all the cats were in the kitchen looking skittish. The dog, uncharacteristically, didn’t bark. And I looked out the kitchen window to see a fire truck pulling up beside the next-door parking lot.
This didn’t bode well.
I went into the living room to see what the fire truck was up to, and saw an ambulance and a police car in front of the house. Definitely not good. I opened the shutters to see what was going on, and was confronted with the nose of a car.
A Volvo station wagon, sitting on two of the front flowerbeds and my front steps.
You have to understand, my house, like a lot of the houses in town, doesn’t have a real front yard. Instead, I have two raised beds, both about two feet high. One runs the length of the short end of the house, and contains either two or three enormous rhododendrons. (We’ve never been able to figure out just how many plants there really are in there, but they bloom beautifully in the spring.) The other is about three feet wide, and runs between the house and the sidewalk along the street side. Between the two are the steps that lead up to the long front porch.
Or that’s where they were. Apparently the Volvo’s driver had some kind of a seizure, lost control of the car, and drove her right side wheels up onto the two beds and over the steps. Honestly, I’m not sure one could do it while conscious. The steps and railing splintered, the granite block that tops the second bed has been moved about eight inches, and the railroad ties that edged the first bed have been knocked around pretty badly. Amazingly, she missed the house entirely — the right front fender had stopped about four inches from the corner of the foundation — and she was not otherwise injured, though the seizure had left her disoriented. And the Volvo? You know, everything they say about Volvos seems to be true. It had a broken bumper where it hit the corner of the first raised bed. Something had ripped loose in the undercarriage and was leaking water, and the left rear tire was flat. And that was it. I was, reluctantly, impressed.
And I was even more impressed by what happened later. I was calling around, talking to my insurance guy, finding out how to get my mail delivered (because the mailbox was smashed and you can’t get to the mail slot in the front door without stairs), and a guy drove up and got out to look at the steps. I went out to see what was going on, and he introduced himself as the woman’s husband. He’s a boatbuilder, and he offered to come by on Saturday with a buddy and replace the steps. No quid pro quo, no nothing, just because he wanted to make it right.