It's amazing how easy
it is to lose perspective on life.
Jessie and I were driving to a furniture store located in the middle of nowhere
to check out sofas, beds and such for my new place. About a thousand feet
or so before the turn, I noticed that a large gravel truck was bearing down
on me pretty hard.
I commented that I really needed to get the truck off my ass before I turned.
I tapped the breaks. I used my turn signal. I thought I let him know my
intentions. But as it came time for me to actually turn, he was quite oblivious
to our car. When I slowed and stopped to wait for oncoming traffic on the
two-lane road to pass, he never slowed down. He went to the shoulder of the
road, just missing our car and never looking back.
I'm a horn honker by nature. I consider it an art form to appropriately convey
an important message to another motorist using only the horn. Rarely to I
yell. Even more rare is the flying of the bird. This is because the horn
is my tool... And I let the son of a bitch have it. I used the long and hard
"you damn near hit me" honk. His break lights never lit up. He obviously
didn't get the message. I decided to seek further justice.
I put my foot on the gas and gave a little pursuit. No, I wasn't trying to
catch him to kill him or anything. I didn't want to force his truck off the
road into some deep ravine. This wasn't the movies, after all. I did plan
to get his license plate number and notify the proper authorities. The things
was, he was hard to catch. I didn't even begin to gain ground on him until
the speedometer reached 93 or so. Of course, when I did catch up to him...
he didn't have any plates. My attempt to notify the fuzz failed because the
area we were in was so rural that 911 doesn't exist. I gave up, turned the
car around and went to look at furniture.
A split second. A few feet. The hair on
my chinny chin chin.
It's easy to forget how close we can come to it all being over. And what's
more important than that is how easy we forget to appreciate being here in
the first place.
I've been spending my days, my nights and everything in between fretting
about my chances at getting a fire department job. I've been focusing on
all of the ways I could lose this chance. I've been thinking about how the
new apartment I applied for won't really be mine. And I've been thinking
about how the new town that I've been making road trips to won't be mine,
either. The problem with all that (other than the great deal of negativity)
is that I wasn't keeping my eye on the prize. I wasn't looking at what I
did have. And that gravel truck helped me remember those things.
I've got a college degree. I am, at least for now, still a firefighter. I've
got good friends and good family. I have prospects for a career and a back-up
plan, too. I'm on solid ground. Unfortunately, there are so many people out
there lacking one or more of those elements in their life.
I just need to remember that.