Sunday, March 04, 2007

What to title this....?

Live throw curves at us. That much is true.

On Friday I was sitting in the same position I am now, debating about which of three topics I wanted to write about. Today, as I was driving to run some errands, I had made a choice and couldn't wait to comeback and write. That was when life threw a curve at me.

I was trying to decide on whether to go for a run or go to the Mall to buy me a light jacket that would go well with my work clothes. Besides, we will once again experience cooler temperatures in South Florida during the next few nights (low 50's), and I need something for work for the next week. That is how long it will take the thermostat to catch on. So I chose the latter, and on my way to the mall I needed to make sure I accomplished a few other things like stopping at the pharmacy. I had these gift cards, and today's shopper brought a buy one-get one free-sale on vitamins.

But on my way to the mall, and as I passed the pharmacy I remembered I left the gift cards at home. I passed the pharmacy on the way back home, and decided that I needed to go home and come back. I hate doing that, so it was not an easy decision. I even measured how many extra miles I was wasting. Grabbing the cards took seconds, and on my way back I went into the busy streets of my neighborhood. A bit more than a mile and a half away from home, I was sitting on the furthest left lane, of a two lane-left turn light, listening to my radio, singing, minding my own business. Just a happy me. To my right, 3 lanes of traffic, a traffic lane, and a wooded area. The top part of this picture looks West; I was heading South. I would have been to the left, and to the back of that white car, waiting to turn and go east or heading towards the bottom of the picture.

All of the sudden I heard a loud snapping sound. And another; and another. I quickly look to my right and a bit back, and on that wooded area (upper right hand side of the picture) I see a city transportation bus riding between the trees and the sidewalk, breaking tree branches as it forged ahead. My immediate thought was that it had been forced there by another car, and it would come to a stop soon. NO! It broke through a wood sign in the corner, and the stop sign, as it kept it going forward, with a little right angle, direction.

Here is when for the first time I experience what surreal, really is. The bus was now crossing two westbound lanes, tranversally. But wait, I thought it would stop at the center island. NO! Its front tires jumped the median as if it was a movie. Its gotta stop, I thought! NO! The back tires now jump the median. I realized then that sometime wrong, like a heart attack, happened to the driver. Luckily, there were only two cars going east on that light; next to each other. The bus passing close to the rear of their cars. By now, the bus was losing steam, but it still jumped the next curb. First the front tires, and then the back ones. I am realizing now that there is a chance it might hit one of the houses in its path. But, at the same time the back tires hit the curb, the front of the bus was hitting another line of trees. And it finally stopped.

I felt some sort of helplessness as I was blocked all the way to the left. However, many cars changed direction and proceeded directly to the bus. The second I reached for my cell to call 911, I looked around and there were people already on their cell, some of them already out of their car walking towards the bus. No one was coming out of it. My light changed, and so I had to keep going.

Here is the kicker; the bus route takes a left and heads east, just the same way I was going. That sidewalk is my running path, coming from the west and heading north. This left me thinking for the rest of the day, what would have happened if this driver would have had one extra second to make his left turn? I would have not been in this situation if I would have gotten my gift cards the first time I left home.

Basically, life is not only about inches, but also about minutes and seconds. We are reminded every now and then to live life to its fullest, everyday as it was our last. Today, that point hit home once again. Harder than ever. And I was sad, because my 'house' is not in order for something like this. And then angry, because of the wasted opportunities we let go; especially with out family and friends.
Always appreciate every second of your life.

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