The clothes and slippers on Wilshire Boulevard

I was sitting in a cafe on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica when, diagonally across the intersection, the firetrucks, police cars and ambulances pulled up from all sides, sirens ablaze.

Another accident, said a customer near me.

One of my children goes to a little school on Wilshire, not far.

Often, as I sit in this cafe, I look up from my book and just look at the drivers zipping by. About half of them, maybe more, seem to be on their phones as they propel their heavy metal killing machines through this human hive. It’s so booooring to have to drive. Must talk or text to pass the time.

Later I walked to the ATM, then home. The ambulances were gone now. Only some clothes and slippers and what looked like a pair of sunglasses were left in the intersection, now guarded by cops.

Why did they not clean it up? I don’t know. Evidence, perhaps. The paramedics had cut the clothes from the two bodies, the better to try to save the lives.

I learned that a driver, aged 28, had plowed through two people, a man aged 61 and a woman aged 62 — perhaps a couple — at a crosswalk. They were walking on the zebra stripes, and the driver simply did not stop.

Was he texting or on the phone? I asked the cop. He couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say.

Did that matter? I wondered. Perhaps only insofar as the answer might, just might, make others change their behavior (ie, put their phones away in the car) and save lives not yet lost or shattered.

More than two lives had just been lost or shattered right here, while I was drinking a double latte across the street. Not just the two whose clothes I was seeing. All the lives they had touched. I walked home to my kids.