This is not so much as a blog post for my readers as it is a post for me. Years down the line when I am all old and wrinkled and ready to leave, I’ll remember how precious life had been to me.
Sometimes I wish I was dead.
Oh, why do I have to face all this? I wish I didn’t have to live.
Life seems too much of a pain these days.
The next time you say these lines, think again.
Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny afternoon, unlike the cloudy weather that is so usual here. Friday night being the fun night, we decided to do something nice for the evening. I had bought a new sandwich maker recently, and I happily made some sandwiches, threw in some Gatorade, and hit for the beach.
The interstate, or what we call the freeway/highway, had its share of the Friday evening traffic. We were happily driving, basking in the glory of sunshine. My friend asked for a sip of the drink and I opened him a bottle.
What I didn’t realize was that he was trying to take the left lane, and was looking on the left side of the road from his rear view mirror, one hand still holding the bottle. At the same time, the reckless driver to the right lane of us blinked his indicator, and without so much as waiting for us to slow, changed his lanes to come right in front of us.
So here I had my friend driving, still looking to the left to shift lanes, and worse, accelerating a bit to shift soon, unaware that a car was right in front of us. And here I was sitting to his right, watching in horror as the car changed lanes and came right in front of us while my friend accelerated.
The next thing I remembered was me screaming out to him to look in front. In a fraction of a second, he had swerved the car to his left, the screech of the tires as the car skid deafening. Our car had turned a whole 270 degrees, splashing the entire bottle of Gatorade on the windscreen in the process. Like a Hollywood action movie, the car turned 3/4th of a circle and stopped perpendicular to the road.
For the next few seconds, we watched in horror as several speeding cars from behind lost their tracks, and came hurling at us for a head-on T-collision. They came pointing right at us, and either snaked right or left to avoid hitting us. In a couple of seconds, the other cars had either stopped or carefully avoided hitting ours. We finally completed the remaining 90 degrees of the turn, my friend waved his hand in a gesture of thanks to the drivers behind, and we moved on.
I was shivering in panic, unable to stop my teeth chatter. Ever since it has happened, the whole episode has been replaying in my mind- me seeing the car change lanes, screaming out to my friend, and watching in horror as the cars from behind came hurling at us, our car stuck perpendicular to the road. The culprit car sped away, probably unaware of the havoc he had created behind, or too careless to stop. But this incident (better called an accident) made me realize how precious life is. We could have been hit by any number of cars. Our skidding car could have overturned. It could have been a dark, rainy night. We might have ended up with stitches and permanent scars. Or we could have been dead. Or going bankrupt paying car insurance and medical bills for the rest of our lives even if we were lucky enough to escape with a few broken bones.
Instead, every single car avoided hitting us. And here I am talking about a freeway and not some narrow lane where consequences wouldn’t have been this disastrous. The liquid splashing everywhere, blurring our vision, seemed so much like a scene out of a movie. Ask me the horror of being strapped to your seat, seeing every single car coming head-on to hit you, and then swerving past without so much as a slight bump. The whole approximately one minute incident has been replaying in my mind again and again. A one minute that seemed like a lifetime. We could have been in the talons of death. Instead, I am still healthy and unscathed, all in good shape, writing about it to get it out of my mind.
I later remembered how we were having a discussion about our frustrations of academic life and job hunting and stuff. But all these hardships boiled down to nothingness in comparison to the struggle for life. Yes, life is precious. How much, I realize now.
Drive doubly safe. For your safety is as much dependent on other people's safe driving as it is dependent on your safe driving.