June 2, 2009

Train wrecks and names in the news

I was reading the paper this morning, and the lead story was about a burst water pipe that had flooded homes in the Ravenna area of Seattle. As many as 22 homes were flooded, and I recognized the person they were interviewing for the story. We had looked at homes a few years ago when she was considering buying, and her rental was one of the homes that was flooded.

The story went on to say that most of the people affected did not have proper flood insurance. Most policies without separate flood insurance only cover a burst pipe within the home. The story went on to say that the city may cover some costs, but only the depreciated value of items, not their replacement value. Lynn and everyone else have lost a lot of things that won't be easily replaced. You don't want to see people you know in news stories. The news is rarely good.

Growing up, my Junior High was just down the street from a fire station. Occasionally the sirens would wail and a fire truck would drive by. Of course the students would look out the window, and I can remember my teacher Mr. Rice trying to bring us back by saying, "OK, just hope they aren't headed to anyone's house you know, and let's get back to the lesson".

Traffic was backed up on I-5 yesterday. There was an accident during morning rush hour. It turns out the accident was in the northbound lanes, but it still jammed up southbound traffic for hours. I wonder what thoughts go through people's heads when they rubber-neck to see an accident on the freeway. They aren't slowing down to offer help, and when there is a concrete divider between lanes there isn't much danger in maintaining a reasonable speed. People say they can't help looking at an accident. I'm not sure why exactly. What are they hoping to see?

I heard later that the accident in the northbound lanes involved a motorcycle. The cause of the accident? There were actually several accidents that morning in both the north and southbound lanes. The motorcycle rider (with iPod earbuds in) was rubber-necking, looking at an accident in the southbound lanes, and ran into the back of an ambulance parked in the carpool lane.

We can't take in all the bad news everyday. We would be overwhelmed if we did. The best we can do is hope they're all right, hope it isn't someone we know, help out when we can, and try not to make things worse by taking our eyes off the road.

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