I have never been so relieved for the start of a new week.
I barely survived last week, you see, and I am being quite literal. Tuesday morning I came inches away from being hit by a car. Friday, I was bit by a dog. It was that kind of week.
First off, the car: I was out for a morning walk and crossing the street in a residential neighborhood at 6:30. I had stepped into the crosswalk and noticed an SUV approaching. No problem, I thought. He’s got a stop sign and, of course, will yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. Only apparently he never got the “rules of the road” memo because instead of slowing down he sped up, and was headed directly for me. Talk about a scary couple of seconds; I had a moment of clarity and realized, I am about to get hit by a car. I don’t want to be dramatic and say my life flashed before my eyes, but it kinda did, at least as much of my lifetime as could fit in the span of about three seconds. It was a very abridged version of my life, let’s just say. Luckily, I was able to take a step back as he drove through the intersection, and pounded on the driver’s window as he passed, yelling at the top of my lungs. That got his attention. He came to a stop and put his blinker on, but was probably too afraid to roll down the window and ask if I was okay because of the way I was shouting at him. Whatever. He deserved it. If I had left the apartment just a few seconds earlier, I would have been directly in his path and unable to get out of his way.
This made me think about close calls. Have you ever thought about all the times in your life you narrowly avoided danger, maybe without even realizing it? Sometimes it’s obvious, e.g., a car barreling right down on you. Other times, you might never even know. How many times have you walked right past somebody who has committed a terrible crime, for instance? Odds are, you’ve brushed shoulders (or shared a bus seat) with murderers, rapists, and bank robbers and never had a clue. There is too much evil in the world not to have experienced those chance encounters, know what I mean?
And how about those people who miss their flight because of traffic on the way to the airport, and then find out later the plane they were supposed to be on crashed? Or the folks who called in sick the morning of 9/11 and were not in their offices on the 86th floor of the World Trade Center? We walk a fine line between life and death.
Nearly getting hit by a car counts. I felt very lucky to be alive Tuesday afternoon, lemme tell ya.
Then, on Friday, I was hiking through the forest near my office on my lunch hour, as I frequently do. I rounded a bend in the trail and came across a woman walking two dogs. One of them suddenly lunged at me, without provocation, and bit my leg! I was so startled I stumbled backwards, lost my footing, and nearly fell in the mud. Luckily I was able to stop my fall by grabbing onto a rock. The whole thing would have been quite comical if I hadn’t just been attacked by a dog! The woman was mortified, as she should have been, and frantically apologized. Said the dog (a freakin’ French bulldog, folks) was ten years old, super friendly, had never done that before, yadda yadda.
Oh, yeah. He was real friendly with his jaws wrapped around my shin…
She wanted to know if I was okay. I was definitely shaken up, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was alright, because my leg was throbbing. All I could think of was Cujo. Damn my flair for the dramatic and longtime love of all things Stephen King! I rolled up my pants leg, and fortunately, the dog’s teeth hadn’t even broken the skin. So I assured her everything was fine and finished my hike. If nothing else, I figured I had a good story to tell. And you could totally see the outline of the dog’s mouth on my shin, too. My only regret? That it wasn’t a Doberman or a pit bull. I mean, I have to go around telling people I got bit by a toy dog that was bred to protect French prostitutes from johns. Which makes my “hike” seem awfully suspicious, huh?
Funny that both these incidents happened when I was out walking. And here I thought that exercise was supposed to be good for you! Silly me. In any case, it sure seemed like the Universe was trying to tell me something last week. Here’s to fresh starts, safe travels, and muzzles!