This is supposed to be me, contemplating life's questions. Yeah.
May's Challenge of the Month ("Mayday!") was meant to spark us into writing about funny, goofy, and/or unusual moments of desperation in our lives. The events of the past week, however, seem to have made us all pensive instead. In fact, one of our friends and critique-group partners, Maleah Warner, wrote a very thought-provoking piece about how her husband was supposed to have been in the World Trade Center on 9/11. (You can read it here.)
This got me thinking about near-misses. And as I did a personal inventory, I realized that I have had an inordinately large number of them. Enough to make me grateful for guardian angels. (And possibly enough to make me wonder why I need so much guardian angel-ing. A dork-gene, perhaps?)
Here are just a few:
1) It was 1:00 in the morning, right after Sadie Hawkins and we were driving home. My friend's date was behind the wheel and we were heading down a winding hill when a car that had looked like it was in the other lane (an optical illusion created by the bend in the road) turned out to be in ours. It was headed straight for as at super-sonic speed. I remember seeing the oncoming headlight in front of me, and it looked the size of a dinner plate. Which means it was VERY close. There was no time to react. We all sat there frozen, waiting for impact.
Then, all of a sudden, we were in the next lane. We didn't swerve, our driver didn't over-correct, or even have to correct, we were just in the other lane. The dude trying to kill us was so close that the air between the cars whistled as he went past, and when we turned to look, he was at the top of the hill. No idea how he didn't hit us, or why we didn't roll.
2) I was on the freeway with my husband and kids coming home from a friend's house at 11:00 at night. We were being followed by another friend and their family. All of a sudden a car from the southbound lanes ripped across the barrow-pit (which was a trick) and was right in front of us cutting across the lanes. I remember my hub slamming on the brakes but knowing we were going to hit the other vehicle. The oncoming car threw a ton of dirt and rocks up from the pit onto our windshield, cracking it and blinding us. We braced for an impact that never came. The kid cut across all three lanes without hitting anyone (and there was post-basketball game traffic out there), rolled, then came to a stop. The driver was okay. We were okay, except for the windshield--in which there was a huge cracked hole right about level with my head. Here's the kicker: the kid was too close for us to avoid him. My side of the car was dead-set to hit him. Yet we didn't. AND our friends who were driving behind us swore the kid drove BETWEEN our two cars. Between. They saw him. But I can tell you, he did not drive between us. He was in front of us, hence the destruction of our windshield. But the first thing my friend said when we stopped was, "Did you see him shoot between us like that?" And to make it weirder, you could see where our skid marks crossed his on the freeway for like 2 months afterward.
3) I was on stage during practice for a high school play I was in, listening to the director give us notes. All of a sudden I got this overwhelming urge to move about 10 feet away, diagonal to where I'd been standing. So I did. As soon as I got there, the 700 pound light tree behind me crashed to the ground. If I hadn't moved it would have cleaved me in two. Dude.
Yeah. Gives me shivers just remembering it all. And there are many more stories where those come from. I've been spared a lot. But there has also been plenty that I've not been spared. Ultimately I've learned a ton from the narsty stuff. I don't know why things happen to some people and not others. But I do believe everyone has things they are spared and things they are not spared. And I'm a big believer that there is something to learn from every experience. I'll tell you one thing: I am grateful I'm still here.
How about you? What have your near misses been, and what are your thoughts on them?