If I have to get in a car accident, I much prefer to do so in the vicinity of base.
Not that I have, recently, but I'm just saying.
Last week hubby and I drove past an accident just outside the ranges on our base. It looked to have involved a jeep and a van of some sort. The jeep's right side seemed pretty cracked up, but there was no ambulance there and no one in the vast sea of people standing around looked to be too injured. The State Troopers were out taking statements and pictures, and the best part was what was going on around them.
There were no less than EIGHT other cars pulled over to the side of the road. A huge group of guys in ACU's were standing around, pointing with all fingers of their hands (people who point with only one finger now look strange to me, after so many years as a military wife) at certain points in the intersection - one hand on hip, head cocked to the side, and quite a bit of animation. One guy even squatted down to draw pictures in the sand at the side of the road, with a crowd gathered around him, nodding, discussing, and adding their own nuances to the impromptu map!
And, the best part of all, someone in ACUs had taken it upon themselves to go out in the middle of the road and direct traffic around the accident.
It was awesome. Something you don't see when you live surrounded by mainly civilians. We are all used to the fact that every military person is qualified to direct traffic. But what never fails to crack me up is that someone will volunteer to do so no matter what the situation is. Car accident? Someone in a uniform who wasn't involved in the slightest will pull over and start directing traffic around it. Plane lands on a highway? Without fail, some military person will be present and have the presence of mind to park the car and direct traffic around it, probably setting up a cone perimeter and flares and calling in a favor to find out how many "klicks" the detour will be for the curious drivers who roll down their windows and ask. If it happens near an Air Force base, you'll have guys crowding around the plane to determine what the mechanical malfunction was and offering stories like, "You should have seen it! There we were, with the runway in BIAP closed down, when some guy in what looked like a glider..." Someone delivering a baby en route to the hospital? One combat lifesaver will yell push and catch while the other who happened to be in the car at the time will direct everyone around the "show".
While we passed the accident we saw, my husband actually slowed down and started to pull over, emergency blinkers on, when I told him, "Dear, there are eight cars - in addition to the ones involved in the accident - pulled over to help already as well as two State Troopers. I think they have it under control."
My husband still had to pause a moment and make sure things were okay before he pulled back into traffic. It's just that ingrained in him.
It did remind me, though, that if something has to happen to me, I sure hope it happens in the vicinity of a base. I guess when everyone who lives in your "neighborhood" is your de-facto family, things just run a little different. Perhaps because of the training, the job military folk do, we are a little more nosy about what is going on than others. If something is happening, we all have check it out, and possibly put ourselves in the thick of it. Okay, usually, rather than possibly put ourselves in the thick of it.
I have to admit, having been the focus of base gossip on occasion (if "weekly" can be classified as an "occasion") myself, the nosiness and quickness of others to inject themselves "into my business" can drive me up a wall. It makes me angry. I want them to leave me alone.
But when I have a problem that I can't solve myself, someone is always there to help with it. When my car won't start at the commissary in the middle of January, someone walking by will offer to give me a jump before I can ask. If my husband is gone and I have just done the 4-kid and a hungry dog bi-weekly shopping, someone will help me carry in the groceries. When kid #3 has her yearly "crack-the-head-open" session, someone from the neighborhood will come watch the rest of my kids while I tote #3 off for annual stitches.
And their husbands will usually direct traffic around me so that I can dash off, tires squealing, and make the quickest time possible to the emergency room.
And, without fail, someone will have a casserole waiting on my kitchen counter when I get back from 9 hours at the hospital waiting to be seen.
Now if I can just get someone to direct those omnipresent moving trucks to a parking spot that doesn't clog up the road to my house...