A bit of a darker post today. A post I’m hoping inspires some reflection. It definitely did for me.
Yesterday, I was driving to meet a close friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. Life had gotten in the way, as it does as we grow older, and we finally made plans to catch up. It was a rainy day – the first we’d had in a few weeks. Nothing too crazy, but just enough to set a gloomy scene. I was driving along, abiding by the road rules, as I always do. Traffic was heavy – it was noon. A peak hour. I was sitting just under the speed limit, in the right hand lane. I had a right turn coming soon. I saw a car exiting the parking lot of the industrial area to my right. He was at a give way (yield) sign. I was just inches from him and he pulled out, onto the main road. Right in front of my car, travelling at speed. I know in these situations, they tell you to break and not swerve, but I owe my life to my instinct to grab my wheel and yank it as hard as I could to the left. I missed this fellow commuter by inches. I dare say an inch, singular. The other driver, clearly very shaken, stopped in the middle of the lane he’d been so desperate to enter, as I drove to find somewhere to park feeling an anxiety attack coming on. I’m not sure how long he sat there, but I glanced in my revision mirror, and he was still stationary as he faded from my view. I hoped he’d move, as he was still endangering other road users as long as he remained there. But I sure wasn’t going back to encourage him to do so.
I wonder, did he not see my bright red car? Were they under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Was their eyesight fading, and they were too stubborn to turn in their licence? Was his judgement so poor that he thought he could make it in front of me? (I very much doubt this one, there was not a chance). I’ll never know. I don’t care to know. But I so desperately hope that they were shaken enough to take more care on the roads. I’m sure they’re as desperate to make it home to their families as I am, so for that I cannot be too mad.
I thanked somebody – whomever you believe it is watching over us, or my lucky stars if that isn’t for you – that I hadn’t had a lapse in concentration for even a second. To change radio station, or adjust my sun visor, perhaps. I thanked them that the lane beside me that I violently swerved into was clear, despite the roads being so busy. I thanked them that the driver in the other lane – that I found myself in – hadn’t been travelling just that little bit faster. I thanked them that my daughter was not in the car with me, and that the road was not yet wet enough to encourage my car to roll.
I made it – though balling my eyes out – to my friends house that day. I was lucky. I knew that hitting a (somewhat) stationary object at 70kmph did not have my chances of survival looking very peachy. I’m sure the other driver would have been fine, minor injuries perhaps, but nothing substantial. Please believe that if I were exaggerating just how close to tragic this had the potential to be, even slightly, I wouldn’t be writing this post for you today.
When I got home, I grabbed my daughter, cried once again, and told her just how much I love her. She’s too young to understand, but her “mamas home” smiles were enough for me.
So I ask you that if you love someone – tell them each and every time they leave for work, or you “quickly run some errands”. Annoyed with your spouse? Children? Put it to the back of your mind for a minute and let them know that you love them. Hug your children a little tighter tonight. Never go to bed on an argument.
Remember that those that die today, had plans for tomorrow.