As I drove past the car carcasses of many people on the freeway, it struck me that each of those lives have been changed. We often look from the outside in and barely register other people’s lives. We constantly live in a life of “ME ME ME” while what happens to others is of no consequence or it seems. Take for instance what happened to me on Saturday night.
After finally delaying for many days, I decided Blockbuster really does need its rentals of The Other Guys (not bad) and A-Team (great time pass) back. So I hustled off telling Preeti it was imperative I return the movies (really because I wanted more to watch) and I would be back in an hour (no rental trip is complete with at least another chore tagged alone or then you really feel like a loser). So I got into the car, fumbled around with the wipers (after all I am a full-blooded Southern Californian, rain is pretty much a foreign concept), and got them up to appropriate speed so I could see through. So far so good.
I first thought of doing the chore (but Trader Joe’s can wait), first let’s get the movies back ( I hope they got in Salt, I haven’t seen that). As I got out my driveway, I put on the new songs I had synced to my iPod integration in-car (definitely proud of that gadget) and the first song turned out to the Shabad Kabeer from a CD my dad had compiled for guests and family members as we prayed together for a swift recovery for loved ones.
As the Shabad played, I turned my focus towards getting to the Promised Land of Rentals. I got onto the ancillary street that took me to the main one, thought about stopping by Gurjit’s by decided against it (realized he was staying with my other cousin and if I took those two with me Blockbuster, that’s the only errand I would get done.) I got to the main light, and stopped, waiting for Traffic Control to give me permission to make a left. Since this was Cerritos, Ca, they are not big fans of free will and instead of letting drivers follow the rules they had learned in Driver’s Ed, I was required to wait until a green arrow pointed the way. So I waited, glancing at the Taco Bell, realizing I haven’t eaten there in weeks. Realized how much my brain was prattling along, took a deep breath and tried to still myself (something I had learned from The Power of Now by Elkhart Tolle). The light turned green, and as I began to turn, a car hit me head on, which made me giggle (at the thought what more could wrong in my life and that for once Cerritos was right).
At first, I glanced up quickly to check the light (perhaps a bit guiltily, maybe I misread red to be green), but it was turning orange, as if to say “last chance to get through buddy!” The other guy (who happened to be a Domino’s delivery guy, Preeti’s favorite but not mine) had run the red light. I knew that instinctively, he was speeding since his air bag had deployed. I rushed out the car to check on him, while calling 911 (probably the only time multi-tasking is OK). Moments later, a Sheriff’s car pulled up (lights blazing, yay Cavalry is here!), and asked what happened (no, are you ok? Is he ok?) while tersely telling us both to get out the intersection (God Forbid, we cause a scene or worse more traffic). My car struggled to get me into the gas station, and as I kept giggling (really can anything more go wrong in 2010?), an old woman and her son (presumably) approached me, and said “we saw what happened. Normally, it’s the guy who’s making the left that’s at issue but you had the green arrow (instinctively thinking of the DC comic book hero), and he ran a red light. Those poor guys waited patiently for over an hour and a half to give their statement. Total strangers who could have driven by my carcass of a life, but instead chose to rain me with compassion and ethics.
To some, it may seem a car accident as just more bad luck for me, but as a dear friend said, it’s better to be lucky sometimes than good.
- Calif. Braces for More Rain (abcnews.go.com)