An Almost Kinda Near Death Experience

As I was walking to my car this morning, an SUV skidded out of control, slid through where I had just crossed the street, slid very quickly off the road and destroyed a street sign. I was unaware of the event until I heard skidding and a crash behind me. Turning around, noting the feigned sense of shame on the driver's face, frozen in the realization that a one or two second delay might have resulted in my death, a very strange thing happened: nothing.

In that moment, a moment so stereotypically connected with enlightenment and self-awareness, I merely paused and then moved on. As I continued on to my car, I thought about how such events play out in movies and wondered why I was being so blasé about the matter. If my life were a movie, this event could have been a nucleating point where I decide that life's too short to be sitting around and crank myself into high gear. I could run off, announce my undying love to the woman who has been set up through the movie as my perfect match and then live happily ever after; I could embark on some great adventure that has amusing trials and tribulations, eventually leading to further enlightenment; I could undertake that risky business plan that leads to incredible fortune; or, any of a handful of other cliché options. Rather than anything interesting, I got in my car and drove to school.

There are plenty of reasons why I might not be terribly struck by my near miss but only a few make any sense to me: perhaps such an event really isn't all that profound; maybe I'm sufficiently pleased with where my life is and where it's going to not want change; perhaps I don't have any goals, desires or aspirations that might drive me to care about my life enough to be shaken up; or, perhaps I'm sufficiently dissociated from risk to properly assign shock and fear to the situation. Between the grim, good and boring options, I haven't made much headway in ascertaining my actual stance; it may be a mix of some or all of them and there might be other options that haven't occurred to me.

Although I don't really seem to be taking anything more lasting and substantial than this blog post, it was an interesting experience to face my own mortality, if but for a moment. In spite of the interestingness of the experience, I'm glad that I'm not injured, hospitalized or dead and don't much want to suffer a repeat of this sort of incident.

Comments

Let's not forget the possibility that life is sufficiently valueless intrinsically that you needn't feel weird about nearly losing it. However, I'm glad my rheumy continues to be, you know, intact.

That happens to me a lot, and then you notice it happening more and more. Death may be stalking me, maybe it just wants me to act grateful. Screw death! I know I serve no purpose other than His on this plane, and I will continue to act impatiently and with a sense of entitlement.