In a flash

You ever have one of those times in your life where you seem to be getting the same message over and over and over? As though the fates are trying to drum something into your head. As if all the kismet is just too much to take.

Yeah, I’m having one of those times in my life.

On Thursday I went to an exhibition at the Tropicana in Las Vegas. It was the Titanic exhibit with artifacts recovered from the sunken ship. Now, we all basically know the story of the Titanic, James Cameron saw to that, so I was sort of nonplussed walking into the show. They did a nice job putting together the time line of the events and using lighting and mood to bring the story together. From placing your hand on a big chunk of ice to looking up the name of a passenger they’d given to me on entry to see if they survived (she did).

It moved me deeply.

At the end there was a book for thoughts and comments. I wrote, “The fragility of life has never been more apparent.”

It put me in a mood and I thought on that topic for quite a while. I followed the Titanic exhibit by then going to “Bodies…The Exhbition”. So yeah, I had a bit of an overload of “life is fragile” and “make hay while the sun shines” that day. Sort of odd thoughts to have while in Las Vegas.

Basically I spent some time contemplating my own mortality. Is this a hazard of being mere weeks from a birthday?

On Sunday I was in a cab going to McCarran airport. The seatbelt in the cab didn’t work. I thought about how I almost never wear a seatbelt in a cab. I then thought about how that is silly. Just because the driver is on the roads for a living doesn’t make them any better driver or make the roads any safer. Thankfully we made it to the airport without incident despite my not wearing a safe belt.

I boarded a plane and arrived safely to the Oakland airport, got my bags and caught a cab home. I complimented the driver on how clean and nice his cab was. The man had a lot of pride in his car. He told me about how he’d lent the cab to a friend who had returned it dirty. It was a nice new car.

We made our way along the highway and stopped at the toll plaza on the San Mateo Bridge. We were in the far left lane. The next two lanes are FasTrak lanes (if you have a little electronic transponder you can go through without stopping and they charge your account for the toll). As we sat at a standstill, a black Mustang came whipping into the FasTrak lane. I guess he realized he didn’t have a transponder so he slammed on the brakes, threw it in reverse, got going way too fast, lost control, hit the brakes, spun backwards and slammed square into the door I was sitting next to. Demolished the door.

Surprisingly, I was fine. The cab driver commented that he saw me leaning way over. I saw the accident coming but couldn’t move over because I had a seat belt on. Now, I wouldn’t say I shouldn’t have been wearing it. I’m glad I was because I really thought we were going to be slammed into the concrete abutment next to us.

I saw that car hurtling at me and I had that, “I’m going to get really hurt” thought.

Thank whatever entity you choose that I was fine. The door buckled in but the inside panel was only partially bowed. When we came to a rest the door panel wasn’t even touching me.

And as the fear and adrenaline coursed through my veins, I got to thinking again about how things can happen in a flutter of a heartbeat. And that thought scares the shit out of me.

So I was left shaking my head when I read Jim Belshaw’s column “Don’t Forget You’re Human” from yesterday’s ABQjournal, the same day of the accident and my latest thoughts on mortality. Seems Mr. Belshaw was having the same thoughts.

To quote Mr. Belshaw, “Wear your damn seat belt”…even in a cab.

Confidential Side Note To Fate: I get it already.