I’ve been operating a piece of heavy machinery for transportation since 1997. As the years have shimmied by and I directly or indirectly observe and experience the myriad near-accidents that can happen due to other drivers, animals, bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians, I have adjusted how I come to a stop at intersections, how many times I check the rearview and side mirrors, how much room to leave between myself and other cars (while moving and stopped), and I now fully comprehend that it’s better to be predictable than nice on the roadways.
I might go as far as positing that I’ve been consciously extra vigilant this year when driving on account of the number of cars on the street but also because it’s so much easier to notice how many people are shamelessly looking at their phones while driving (at least 55 mph on the highway) or are unable to make up their minds if they’re turning now or much later. I didn’t wake up thinking, “Oh, today might just be the day that I have near-certain death experience numero quatre!” No, I woke up today wishing I’d woken up an hour earlier and contemplating if I was going to go to Bed, Bath & Beyond before or after meeting up with a friend.
And then I got onto the highway and had near-certain death experience numero quatre. It happened on 85 N between the Shallowford on-ramp onto the highway and the Chamblee-Tucker exit. I was in the far right lane and assessing the speeds of the two SUVs on the on-ramp that were traveling nearly parallel to me. I figured the white Lexus SUV in the rear would slow down to merge behind me or accelerate enough to get in front of me by the time the on-ramp and far right lanes merged…but alas, that is not what happened.
As soon as I realized that the white Lexus SUV was not paying attention to its surroundings, I checked my left-side blindspot and determined that I would be able to get into the left lane, which I did. Immediately thereafter, a Ford Focus with a California license plate came barreling at me. I cannot account for why he didn’t plow into me. He was driving so fast….like he was chasing down Felicity Porter on her way to NYC because she has a crush on Ben, a guy who signed her yearbook and talked to her one time, and if Mr. Ford Focus didn’t catch up to her, he’d never see her again.
By the time I’d changed into the left lane that white SUV was where my car was in the right lane — I could have been in a metal sandwich but for the exact speeds that Mr. Ford Focus and I were going. I was anticipating certain destruction in that moment…but it did not come to pass. Did my heartbeat increase? No. Did I get sweaty? No. Did my adrenaline levels rise? No. I was more annoyed than anything because as much as I’ve made peace with my death, whenever it occurs, and I have zero interest or need in living a long life, I absolutely did not want to go down in a pile of tires and windshields on 85 N.
Pas du tout. I envision my death to transpire in a considerably more peculiar manner, where people cannot believe what they are seeing. Par exemple, some primordial scream tears through my physicality, I vomit up some nephilim creature, my body jolts up into the sky, and then it bursts into a million shards of crystalline mitochondria.
I was also very much looking forward to catching up with my friend, whom I hadn’t seen since January 2020, and if I ended up ensnared in car parts, she’d have no way of knowing where I was and why I wasn’t responding to her texts. Once again, the universe proves me wrong…I would care how and when death came for me. Being okay with the premise doesn’t mean one is as indiscriminately welcoming of its actualization.