I can't stop thinking about that fact. It seems so... arbitrary.
Suddenly, life seems quite tenuous and so very precious.
On Friday, a 15-year-old driving an enormous Dodge Ram pickup and sporting a Ferris Bueller t-shirt (you can't make this stuff up), ran a red light and totally sheared the front end off my car. KABOOM - it sounded like a fucking locomotive. And there I was, turned at an angle in the intersection during perilous rush-hour traffic (I did manage to hit my brakes) and all these people loooooooking at me like, is she alive? I managed to chug my smashed-up little car into a nearby parking lot. Somebody dragged my flimsy Saturn-bumper out of the road and brought it over to me. Automobile-detritus and various pieces of metal and glass were all over Haywood Road, and people kept running over them, crunchcrunch... eventually both Mr Daisy and my radio producer/Carolina consigliere came to my aid, so that was good. (Needless to say, I missed Friday's radio show.)
After local police pronounced him the officially-guilty party, Ferris drove away, his bad-ass redneck vehicle unharmed and ready to shear off more bumpers. Mine is a total shambles, one of those words you hardly ever hear anymore, but was popular in 60s comic books. Let's bring back the word: SHAMBLES. (One of those great words that sounds like exactly what it is.) However, the engine sounds okay, and I think it could well be salvaged, so we shall see. The car has already been totaled once. (In fact, that was the subject of my second-ever blog post.)
If I had not hit my brakes. If I had accelerated a few seconds faster into the intersection. Just a few seconds. He sheared the front end of my car clean off... and if *I* had been sitting in the exact spot where he sheared off my car?
Three feet. Just three.
As I said, I can't stop thinking about it.
THREE FEET has become a very intense thing for me, the subject of major meditations throughout the weekend. Our life can end at any time. We know this intellectually, but somehow, coming so close, brings the fact home in a very real way.
And you know, some things just don't seem as important as they did a few days ago. They just aren't. And other things are somehow, suddenly, far more important.
My vision has been sharpened, and I hope to keep this new, acute vision as long as I can. I want to see clearly. And I don't want to waste time. I don't want to spend the time I have on nonsense, on arguing, on unhappiness.
I am reminded of a quote by Thomas Carlyle that Harlan Ellison once taped onto a mirror in his home:
Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal fraction of a Product, produce it in God's name! 'Tis the utmost thou hast in thee; out with it then. Up, up! Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy whole might. Work while it is called To-day, for the Night cometh wherein no man can work.(The last part of that quote is from the Gospel of John.)
Yes. That is exactly how I feel.