Kitty Cat has recently discovered her "DRAGgedy Ann" doll. Which she insists is not really named "DRAGgedy Ann". But Lynn.
She is so excited about Lynn because Lynn's clothes can be removed. And put back on. And then removed. And then put back on. Ad nauseum.
But it keeps her occupied while I'm racing the Whine to get dinner ready in the evening.
Last night her distraction was especially crucial because the kids were entertained by a sitter all afternoon (while I spent several hours in the dentist's chair) and it was late and food was not yet prepared. Fruit Bat, my five-year-old, was hungry and grumbly and I was nursing a fair amount of regret.
My regret stemmed from an event I witnessed while driving home from the dentist's office.
What I saw was a white van barreling through a guard rail and down an embankment.
I was stuck behind several other cars at a red light and my vantage point was such that I caught a puff of dust and the back end of the vehicle before it disappeared.
I wasn't entirely sure I hadn't imagined it.
But then, my lane of traffic finally made it through the light and I glanced to my left and, indeed, saw the van several dozen feet from where one usually expects to find a car. Which is to say, on the pavement.
Oddly, even though at least 20 others had passed the accident scene ahead of me, only three or four had actually stopped.
And I probably should have too.
I like to think of myself as someone who stops to help people. Of someone who reaches out.
I feel compassion. I feel it deeply. But this doesn't always translate to action.
Oh, but there are already people there, I thought. People who certainly have cell phones and maybe even a little medical expertise. People who are strong and demonstrative and unafraid to leap from their comfort zones and into a realm where people may be very hurt or ill or possibly belligerently drunk.
So I drove past.
And I felt a lot. I felt selfish and conflicted and, considering that I'd just spent $80 on tooth whitening trays, I felt that my priorities were all messed up.
But still I drove on.
To turn around now would just add to the chaos, I told myself. They don't need some wimp huddling in the rain half-heartedly asking what she can do. They don't need my squeamishness.
Yeah. Fear or apathy? I dunno.
As I rushed to get dinner for the family, my regret eclipsed my small neuroticisms over the non-stick pan I still insist on using and the chemical burps coming out of me from the awful impression putty used to make my custom tooth whitening trays and my neighbors making it home ON TIME from their 10 day vacation in Martha's Vineyard so they can resume entertaining my children like they were so good at doing earlier in the summer.
I told Kitty Cat it was time to put down Lynn and come eat the pasta, ham and broccoli I'd just set on the table and I watched her trotting over to the table, hoping she, and Fruit Bat too, would be ones who wouldn't drive on.