A reminder of how fragile and random human life is, has been haunting me all day. If you don’t want to be haunted then stop reading and don’t click this link
of the moments leading up to a bus driving off a bridge and the discovery that the accident was caused by a woman hitting the bus driver because he’d failed to let her off at her stop, and him then lashing out at her…. He loses control of the bus, veers across into the opposite lane, hits a car and then goes through the crash barriers. And seemingly everyone on board the bus was killed.
And not that either the driver or the angry passenger could have predicted that this would be the outcome of their disagreement, but it’s the other people on the bus I feel really sorry for. Totally unconnected to this moment of stupidity and yet paying the ultimate price. It’s horrific, it’s terrifying, it’s darkly amusing and then horrific again. What flashed through their minds as they unexpectedly careered to their end? Did the woman who had done the hitting have time to think, “That was probably a mistake in hindsight?”
I think if I’d been on the bus I’d have thought, “Well that’s just fucking typical.” Life and death are both so random and I am pretty sure I will die as the result of someone else’s stupidity. More probably my own, though. I wonder which of you I will take with me.
And then tonight came the news of another accident involving children on an inflatable at a fun fair. First reports were that there were serious injuries, but subsequently it seems that no one was badly hurt. Now that I am a parent stories like this DO NOT RESONATE ANY MORE. I always thought it sucked when kids got injured or killed whilst playing. Because I am NOT A MONSTER. But it does make me appreciate the fact that my mum never let me go on bouncy castles as a kid and thus possibly saved my life (these things were less regulated and reported in the seventies. I bet hundreds of kids were killed in fairground mishaps and no one ever heard about it). I think my mum was more worried about me banging my head or being beaten up by the big kids, rather than the possibility that an inflatable might deflate or lose its tethering. But still.
Bouncy castles and slides are fucking insane as it is and I would imagine somebody sustains some kind of semi-serious injury every time one is erected. The guys who run these things must have to deal with concussion, broken limbs and lost teeth on a regular basis. And yet they still think this is a good way to make a living. In a hundred years time people will look back on these things in the way we look at child chimney sweeps. In a world where health and safety has gone mad, it’s incredible these things are still allowed. And that we let our kids go on them.
But life is nothing without danger of unnecessary death. And you could be killed by a woman twatting your bus driver, so why not chuck yourself down a massive deflatable slide with way too many other kids? That’s my question to you.