18 Iuil 2009.
Its always interesting to start writing when the mind is blanked out and without a notion of what may flow, sluggishly or in a continous stream of consciousness, from the pen. Interesting for the writer that is. The reader may have a different view. Blogging isn’t much different. Most times this blogger has a plan of sorts about what I want to pontificate about. Some times. Other times I go where my fancy takes me.
Today is like that. It’s a Saturday. I considered doing another piece on tomorrows big game between Aontroim and Tír Éoghan or yesterdays refusal by the leadership of the Orange Order to talk to Sinn Féin. I also intend doing a wee blog or two some day on some books I am taken by. I usually blog on Friday as well as Monday or Tuesday. I try to make the Friday blog a little less serious than the other one. But yesterday was given over entirely to meetings. One after the other. With a few interviews thrown in for good measure. That’s Richard for you. So it was late before we finished and no space for blogging at all, at all.
On the way back to Belfast we got caught in heavy traffic gridlock after a ghastly road accident on the Newry Road in which a man and a woman were killed. Go ndeanfaidh Dia trocaire orthu.
We passed the scene of their deaths slowly and in shocked and silent disbelief at the way their car was squashed in under a container lorry, with the car roof peeled back like the lid of a sardine tin. The lorry was parked at the time of the accident. We couldn’t help but reflect on the awfulness of the scene. A split second of concentration lost, or a tyre blowing out, a moment of madness. Followed by devastation and death.
Emergency workers were busy at the scene as we passed. I felt very grateful to them. And sorry for the families of the dead couple getting word of what had happened. And yet even as the traffic inched its way away from the scene of the crash through a chicane of traffic cones a lunatic came speeding along, longside us all, clearly in breach of speed limit and other rules of the road.
He, for it was a he, was clearly indifferent to the death scene or oblivious to it and to the danger he was creating for himself and everyone else on his journey. He didn’t care. I figure maybe that otherwise he is probably a caring person. Maybe with a spouse and children? Maybe in his own house he is a quiet and loving father and husband? Or an attentive son and brother? So what is he doing driving so recklessly and ignorantly? Viciously. Like a bully and a thug.
What is it that seizes many of us when we get in behind a steering wheel?
The roads in Ireland are scary places. Hardly a day goes by without a fatal accident and the weekends regularly bring grim news of multiple road deaths. There are many reasons for car accidents. They include a lack of motoring skills, road rage, mechanical failure or poor road conditions.
But my own theory is that many accidents are caused by drivers who don’t really appreciate how fast they are travelling. And there are so many cars on the road these days. Even a small error can have deadly and unplanned outcomes. Speed kills. That’s the way of it.
In these modern times many of us seem hell bent on living life at high speed. Some day somebody could die as a consequence. That somebody could be you.