Holley Hyler is an IT consultant and published freelance writer living in New York.
Where might my brain take us this month? I should be doing an assignment for my Linguistics class, but since the holiday break has given me an extended deadline on it, I find my mind drifting to other things. "When should I make my next batch of deviled eggs?" "I'd rather be reading my magazines from the antique store..." (More on these later.)
As my mind is ready to wander, my fingers are ready to transcribe, so off we go.
An Unfortunate Event
As I sit at my desk, the cars are zooming by on the thoroughfare outside my window. A lot of people travel well above the speed limit. Yesterday, I heard a horrible crash before I saw it while running errands with my husband. It happened at the intersection of the gas station we frequent. The lowdown from the witnesses who saw the moment it happened was that a white SUV ran a red light and made a left turn just as a sedan was crossing the intersection, and the two collided (I was preoccupied by how damaged both vehicles were, so I didn't think to look as much at the make and model). When we saw how bad the damage was, we went back into the parking lot of the gas station, and hubby checked on everyone to make sure they were okay.
Their airbags of the sedan had deployed, and the couple in it had a dog with them. They were very young. The girl was visibly upset and may have been hurt. What grabbed me, after I realized no injuries were life-threatening, was the kindness of the witnesses. The driver of the SUV was older and had pulled off the road already, but the driver of the sedan seemed more shaken and wasn't as certain about what to do. He left his car idling in the road at first, and then one of the witnesses gently told him that if he could move the car, it was best to get it out of the road. The driver was very apologetic, and the witness assured him it was okay. (Much nicer than the usual, "Yo! Get your car out of the road!" that I would expect in the city.)
The girl was yelling in her upset and frantically making a phone call, while the dog was pulling on his leash. Strangers were coming up and petting the dog, trying to calm both. Hubby and I got out of there once the police arrived, since they had the situation under control and the ambulances were on the way.
After a year of seeing endless bickering over politics and masks, it was nice to see strangers being understanding and trying to help and comfort each other, although the circumstances were regrettable. I've thought a lot about that young couple and wondered if they were traveling for the holidays. From what the girl said on the phone, I don't think she was from the city. And the guy in the SUV - I felt sorry for him too, even though he seemed at fault. We all do stupid things when we drive, and some of us are just lucky that it doesn't lead to an accident.
A Royal Fascination
In other news, my fascination with royals continues. I have watched the first season (are there more?) of The Spanish Princess and may soon finish The Royals. I remember reading Philippa Gregory's The Constant Princess several years ago - great read, and the show is just as engaging.
And this brings me to the magazines I mentioned earlier. Hubby and I went to an antique mall a couple of weekends ago and stumbled upon a vast collection of Life magazines, which date as far back as the late 1930s. We found several issues about the royal family and naturally had to buy them, with my fascination. In my free time, I have been enjoying them and that discovery in the antique store has felt something like what I imagine winning the lottery would feel like. There is an abundance of material for character sketches and... dare I say it... my own novel about royals.
In a separate section, we also found special coronation magazines from when George VI and Elizabeth II were coronated. Again, I had that lotto feeling.
Why do some things draw us in like this? I read something on the Internet written by a reader disgruntled that there are so many period pieces about royals but not so much about commoners. I do not have enough information to know if that is really true, although I would guess that it is. I read for an escape, so I like reading about worlds that vastly differ from my own, whether that is within a setting like Downton Abbey or Hogwarts. So that's my answer. I can't speak for anyone else.
Speaking of Downton Abbey, I did not realize that ironing newspapers was ever a thing. I hope to work it into my stories somehow.
That brings us to another intuitive ending for this month's freewrite. I am ready to get back to my magazines. This year has been kind to introverts, in some ways. I hope you will be able to make the best of your holidays, however you spend them. Wishing you an abundance of blessings, and thank you for reading my work.
BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on December 24, 2020:
It is always good to see people being nice to one another. Too bad it takes an accident to happen to make this kindness appear.
May you have a Merry Christmas!
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on December 24, 2020:
This was an enjoyable free-write, Holly. It is always sad to witness car accidents, and unfortunately there seem to be more than usual at this time of year. Have a great holiday season.