Not since the newspaper delivery man's station wagon caught on fire in the wee hours of a Sunday morning about 10 years ago has the cul-de-sac seen so much activity. Or so many neighbors gathering in pajamas.
Last night, just after I climbed into bed to read myself to sleep, there came the sounds of heavy truck engines from out front. I was pretty settled in and trying to ignore the noise and finish my book when the Young Lady walked in and reported police cars in the cul-de-sac. Having not heard any sirens, I got up to confirm the eyewitness report and found 3 police cars, a rescue vehicle and a fire truck. Concerned about a recently widowed neighbor, I went to investigate. A step onto the front porch revealed clouds of white smoke from somewhere near the entrance to our cul-de-sac, but not near the widowed ladies house. I am glad. No medical emergencies for her.
Grabbing a windbreaker instead of a robe because it was handy, I ventured out, barefoot, through my Fit Neighbor's yard toward the epicenter of activity. An older white van was coughing up clouds of smoke, quickly fogging up the area. Fire hoses snake through the street. The kind policeman (who didn't seem to mind answering the questions of a woman wearing a red coat and pajamas which thankfully were the cute Susan Branch summer watermelon pj's and not the little shorts and tee shirt with cherries on them from Target) informed me that the vehicle was empty and no other vehicles had been involved.
Neighbors begin gathering. Most of us in some variety of sleepwear. Through the smoke I see teens clustered and pointing. And nothing makes a person look older than when he/she is standing in his/her pajamas near a gorup of teenagers. Just something I noticed last night.
Now, I do believe that every neighborhood has A Woman Who Knows, and if they don't, they need one. That Woman lives just down the street, and having had toddlers at home at the same time, we became friends over miles and miles of stroller walks. I have not had my finger on the pulse of the neighborhood since our kids outgrew their strollers and we stopped walking together. Not even close. Anyway, I had only just finished listening to the Policeman's answer to my question when I looked up and saw her. Smiling and waving (the area is taking on the atmosphere of a street fair/carnival now), she comes over. With the whole story. I would have been stunned by her information gathering skillz since she knew more than the policeman I just spoke to, but the story begins at her house, so I don't need to be scared of her or anything.
Turns out, her daughter's boyfriend, who has borrowed his family's backup vehicle ~the other 2 vehicles in this family having been totalled/involved in wrecks this past week- which are 2 more stories that I didn't get because it was late and we were in our pj's, and all I need to know about that is that no one was hurt and that not I nor any family member of mine will be driving with the boyfriend or his family: 1, because we don't really know them that way, and 2, because they probably don't have a car to drive right now anyway~ but back to the excitement of last night- boyfriend leaves for home in van, drives about 50 yards and van catches on fire. He safely extracted himself from the vehicle and returns to girlfriend's house to call for help.
A few of us, now having the facts, begin noticing each other's pajama's, recalling the time the paper man's car caught fire (which is now, 10 years later, being described as "The Time The Paper Man's Car EXPLODED and Caught on Fire) and how it left a mark on the street for a really long time, relating to each other how we came to discover that there were all these emergency vehicles in front of our homes, did you hear sirens?! I didn't hear sirens! and then, well, it's late, we better get back to bed, see ya tomorrow! And off we disperse, back to bed.
Where I find My Hero. Who slept through the whole thing, and will probably not know about any of it until he reads the blog.(Do you think my reading light bothers him?)