Monday, April 7, 2008

Tend-and-Befriend on the shoulder of 93 South

The car jolted violently. I screamed, rather loudly. I yelled to my boyfriend, "Pull OVER, PULL OVER!" Something was wrong.

It was 10:00 PM, we were on 93 south just inside Woburn, [now] in the shoulder, along with 10 other cars. Within minutes it became 20 cars. Then 30 cars. We quickly lost count.

We got out of the car to inspect the damage.

"Oh, honey, we have a flat tire. I mean, actually, TWO flat tires. On the same side."
His response: "What the f&*#$?!"

I won't lie, I was trembling and sort of jittery. I started calling tow places, then the state police, while Terrence talked to everyone else, all of whom had two flats on the right side of their car. Turns out within about a 10 minute span, we had all hit a large piece of lead or concrete pipe that was in the middle of 93 South.

What the f&*#$ is right.

We all paced in the shoulder, up and down, back and forth, waiting for the police to get to our cars, talking about what we saw, watching as a rubber necker slammed into the car in front of him, adding two more cars to the ones waiting to be towed. The guy behind us did what every Bostonian does when he or she sees something that could be sensationalized: Called Fox 25 News.

As terrible as the night was, no one was hurt (even the rubber necker). As is common in situations like this, all of a sudden strangers who would probably barely give each other the time of day (this is Boston, after all), were talking together, laughing about our bum luck, and wondering whether or not the state would actually reimburse us for the damage like the state trooper said.

We came together in this time of stress, and experienced what some psychologist call "tend-and-befriend." According to Wikipedia: "This tend and befriend response refers to the fact that people often manage threats by caring for offspring and seeking social support in time of stress (Taylor et al. 2000)."

The alternative to tend-and-befriend is the more commonly acknowledged "fight or flight" response. I certainly tried to "fly" - I called a bunch of towing companies before realizing that the state police would take care of it. We certainly weren't "flying" with two flat tires, anyway.

It is refreshing to experience a sense of community and friendliness in a place where people protect their shoveled out parking spots to the death, and honk if you're one second behind slamming the gas at a green light. Don't get me wrong - I'm a Bostonite through and through - but it is nice to know that we have that "tend-and-befriend" in us below our rough 'n' tough exteriors.

To see Channel 7's coverage of the event, watch their video footage of the incident.

Photograph courtesy of Tudor Hulubei

1 comment:

Krystle said...

Wow that is crazy! I hope the state pays for it!