Collision Course

Well it finally happened and I was (almost) a witness. A teenage girl of my acquaintance (calm down guys, just a school friend of my daughter’s) set out to cross the road while texting on her mobile phone. Being thus absorbed she failed to notice the pedestrian light had turned red, which meant the corresponding vehicle light was now green meaning it was OK for cars to proceed, which one did and duly knocked her down.

Fortunately she was not badly hurt, but because in addition to a few scrapes on various limbs she had banged her head and suffered temporary amnesia she had to go to hospital for a check-up. Hong Kong’s outstanding emergency services performed to their usual high standard, police were on the scene almost at once, a paramedic on a motorbike shortly thereafter and the full ambulance, blue light flashing and siren wailing, soon after that.

In the wider scale of things then, a fairly minor event. But it sure knocked a hell of a hole in the afternoon of a large number of people. First, the driver of the car and his wife, caught between natural sympathy for the child and an equally strong desire to prove their innocence to the police officers attending. Then there was the rest of the group of schoolmates (nine including aforementioned daughter) who had agreed to turn out for a school related activity on a Sunday, thinking it might take one hour, only to have it turn into three while the organizer accompanied the injured friend to hospital, stayed long enough to establish condition, and returned.

Parents had to be summoned and calmed down. A concerned boyfriend had to be alerted and also warned not to call because the parents – long suspicious of his existence but so far without proof -- were now in possession of the mobile phone, fascination with which caused all the trouble in the first place.

And finally there was a father of one of the schoolgirls, whose afternoon nap on a Sunday is one of those treats which help him get through the week, who had to forgo it for once, but at least it gave him something to write about in his website update.