Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Reflections on a Horrible Incident

Monday night, I drove down Main Street on my way to the meeting, and saw the parking lot of Tom's blocked off with crime scene tape. My assumption was that perhaps someone had gotten shot in the apartment house next to the parking lot, but I didn't really find out any details until yesterday, when a particularly grisly tale came to light. A woman, whom had gotten arrested and RORed the previous week for drug possession, apparently was high again while driving, jumped the sidewalk, ran over a guy and dragged him a hundred feet or so before stopping, killing (and, if the more lurid rumors are true, hideously maiming) him.
Of course, there is the usual froth among the troll types on social media and the comments on the news sites. But this one has hit a bit of a nerve in just about everyone. When I found out the details, it was kind of chilling to me, because of the totally random nature of it. The man that got hit and died was only a few years younger than me, and by all accounts he was just minding his own business, walking down the sidewalk, when the Grim Reaper came calling. I walk on sidewalks every day; I've walked on that particular stretch of sidewalk hundreds of times in my life. I don't think I have ever thought "Jeez, I better pay attention every time I hear a car, because it might jump the curb and hit me." But I bet I will know, at least part of the time.
And it was another reminder of something Aldo and I used to talk about all the time: you can plan for every variable you can think of, and then life smirks and throws out something you could never anticipate that changes the game forever and shreds your plans into tiny pieces. That's not to say that planning and preparedness shouldn't be done; taking care of responsibilities is never a bad thing. But you're a fool if you think you can figure it all out, that you have every possible contingency and twist and turn covered. You don't. Period.
And I thought some more last night, about how my brother's medical issues were one of these kind of events for all of my family--mine to a degree, much more so for he and my mother. He is one of those people that tried to be super-prepared for everything, lived very cautiously, tried to control every variable--and he gets some kind of weird-ass infection that eats his spine and almost kills him. I have a friend whose life was turned upside down by a motorcycle crash last summer, and how much it has changed his life. And I thought that I've been comparatively lucky, that for all the storm that has happened in my life, I've been fortunate that the possible troubles and consequences haven't been that hard to see coming, and in some ways I prepared for them, and in the ways I didn't, relatively easy solutions are at hand.
But I also have noticed that I need to start doing some of those things again. My cushion got hit pretty good, and I need to start putting back in. I've started putting my house back in order again, but it's not a completed job. For someone who has spewed thousands of words about the need to make and fulfill commitments, I realized yesterday I had been less than committed to a complete break, and it was becoming an emotional manageability issue--so I did something I should have done some time ago. One action can only be temporary, alas, but at least I know that for today and much of tomorrow, my phone will not be blowing up with inflammatory BS and drama. And it might be possible to enjoy social media again.
Life is a gift that can be taken at any time. And while that has its positive aspects, too, it also means that when it is time to let go, then it is time to let go. I tend to take my time making decisions, but in the past, I've done very well for myself by committing myself to make a decision work once it has been made. It's been taking a while to get to that point, but I'm much closer to it than I was even 24 hours ago, and in a much better position to emotionally. I've got too much good in my life that I haven't been paying enough attention to, and one way to be able to pay more attention is to make sure that other influences aren't able to distract me.

No comments: