I saw an old lady knocked over by a car today. It was frightening seeing just how frail people can be. And inspiring that so many people rushed to her aid -no hesitation and nothing else mattered to them until she was taken care of. But it was despicable that the driver could be so careless as to cause such harm, and so callous after the event.
Why is this relevant here? Writers need characters to write about. I draw inspiration for my characters from real people I come across and from fictional ones. Also, fantasy tales usually deal with the good versus evil argument – absolute or shades of grey?
She lay on the road bleeding as people rushed to her, others calling for emergency help. An ambulance arrived quickly and the paramedic was amazing. He treated her as he assessed the situation, directed everyone, reassured the lady and much more, all at the same time and all in a perfectly calm and controlled manner.
She didn’t fall far, the impact with the car was slight, but roads are hard. I heard only recently on the radio, health professionals talking about the fragility of the human head, despite our apparently hard skulls. We carry our brains high enough above the ground that simply an uncontrolled fall can be deadly. Bleeding but conscious and in such good hands, I hope the lady makes a full recovery. She obviously suffered some indignity in all this and I will refrain from writing about her any further.
Why was the driver careless? In a word anger. He was angry that he was blocked in, sounding his horn repeatedly and then reversing angrily. Why callous? It’s hard to understand. Perhaps the reality of what he had done had not even begun to filter into his mind when he got out of his car. He stepped straight over the fallen woman to shout that we should all be blaming the man who blocked him in, that’s whose fault it was. His shockingly misguided reaction made me angry, and others, but our focus was on the poor woman on the ground so we told him to calm down and get out of the way. Paramedics are rightly cautious with head injuries and they take their time. It was a good five minutes before the car driver came back and asked how she was.
Careless and stupid, or callous and despicable. Who am I to judge? A fellow human – is it not human to care for others? So we all judged who saw the incident, but I don’t know the man, he may have been in a hurry to help someone, maybe he tirelessly works for a children’s charity. Good or bad is rarely clear and obvious, good people do bad things and vice versa. However, we can only judge people by their actions and those seemed very clear. At least there were plenty of witnesses speaking to the Police when they arrived and opinions were very clear.
Is it this mind-filling and focus-narrowing anger that is behind other crimes? You can imagine it may be responsible for hit and run drivers, furiously blaming their victims for being carelessly in the way as they speed off.
It would be easy to find all this depressing, but remember the context: one stupid man amid dozens of other people all caring and all immediately doing the right thing.