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Saturday, August 7

The Beginning of A Story

I was driving home tonight and I met a man on the road who had crashed his car. I say his car, and I say crashed, and I even say man, but these are not correct. The chap was a teenager, an au-pair, working for a local family. The car wasn't his. The crash was more a skidding out of control on a corner and resting with three wheels in the verge. The smell of beer was followed with the suggestion that it had only been one.

We discussed what to do to pull the car out. I had no desire to start towing a car of equal size to my own off a verge... I suggested he call the family and get their breakdown recovery people out. I suggested a call to the police for assistance, but he was worried about being breathalysed. In the end I gave him a lift back to his family's place.

Then I had the exciting drive home. It was exciting because I have no fuel at all in my car - all gauges say 0. So I've no idea how I got back (coasting and cruise control helped) and I've no idea if I'll make it as far as the filling station tomorrow.

What was more exciting is wondering how the story ends for my Czech friend. I'd given him various bits of reassurance in the car - to try to make it seem a bit less of the end of his life and more just a problem to be solved. I don't know if the family will have a sense of humour about it and sort it out, or whether there'll be fights. In short, the answer is already known as he woke them up about 30 minutes ago... but I'll never know.

I pointed out that he was able to walk away from the car accident, which is surely a benefit. I pointed out that he just had to face the music. I told him that today's tragedy is tomorrow's story; in five years, he'll tell people about "the time that". I don't know if it will help. The shame is that it may make a great story, but I only know the beginning of it.

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