Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, November 4, 2013


Crash.  Crinkle.  Ouch.

I live next to an attorney office.  I think there are three in there, plus an elder gentleman who comes late, leaves early.  He uses a cane and walks with his head down.  I do not know the stories there, but my best guess is that he may be one of the founders of that law firm.  I often walk with my head sort of down, too, because my close-up depth perception is shot, although it is no a particularly aware way to walk around town.

His schedule of arrivals and departures is as erratic as my own, and I regularly see him emerging from his mini van or walking towards it in the late afternoons.  When I see him now I sometimes wonder what his life must be like, semi-or fully retired or just allowed to have the run of the place.  I like to think that he still handles clients and cases, that he is the wise elder, that his wisdom is a welcome and necessary, an essential part of the work they do there.

But, he often seems too fragile to be driving.  It is comforting to see him in that van, because it affords some extra protection that a smaller, more low-profile vehicle would give to him.  I remember driving a mini van and always appreciated the higher view it gave me, whilst making sure that I did not allow the size of my car to block the line of sight for those around me who might be trying to turn or enter traffic or just not get stuck trying to pull out of a parking space.  My van was one of the smaller types, I was often blocked by taller vans and SUVs, and was aware how difficult it was for me to leave a parking space.

About an hour ago there was a larger than usual clashing sound, sort of like the sanitation guys when they are so nicely taking our garbage away and have to deal with the dented, rusted and just plain sorry metal trashcans.  Not like the lovely plastic ones I have.

I looked out of the window to see a vehicle that was leaving the law office next door, trying to back up onto the curb of my front yard.  In the street was a black sedan on which, not only the bumper, but much of the front end was on the ground, and the black car had been pushed into the side of a white car that was driving in the opposite direction.  The door of the offending vehicle opened and the elder gentleman slowly emerged.  By the time he was fully out of the van, a man had come out of the law office building, where he checked on the gentleman and the people in the other cars.

The passenger in the black car was shaken up a bit, but the other drivers seemed to be fine, although you never really know about all of that, even when you are a part of an crash, I am guessing.  I was back-ended once and did not realize that I was hurt until the other driver took off.  I would not have been able to do anything, as no one got his license number, but, you know.

All the vehicles have been towed.  All the debris has been cleared from the street.  The cops are gone, as are the rescue/ambulance guys and the fire truck.  I did not watch what was happening, but a few minutes ago I took another look and the elder gentleman was still talking to the police.  I looked again later, to see the view as it always is, so he much have gone inside.

The thing is that in order for him to have caused that huge amount of damage to the other cars, he had to be roaring out of the driveway, over the sidewalk, and at a great speed, which makes me think that he accidentally pressed on the gas pedal instead of the brake.  Maybe.  I have never seen him drive fast, but I did not see the impact, so just guessing.

And, the thing goes further than you do not have to be driving on the expressway or in tight traffic downtown to a smash to happen between two, or more, cars.  You do not have to be in slow-like-molasses rush-hour traffic, surrounded by drivers as irritable as yourself.  You can have an accident anytime, even if you are the cause and have done something stupid, it is still an accident, which is why they are called accidents.  I used to have a friend who was an insurance company investigator (formerly an under-cover police officer and a clown at some point, as well) and when people would stress over having done something stupid and needed to use their insurance coverage, she would assure them that that was the purpose of insurance, to cover stupidity of one kind or another.

Driving safety is important for everyone, but most particularly old folk like me.  I am a stunningly good driver.  I never speed or dodge about in traffic.  I figure that as long as I am there, in the driver's seat, rubber to the road, that I may as well pay attention, and so I do.   I do not telephone or text, but I do eat sometimes, but not soup or spaghetti or salad.  I think that because I am paying attention, that I probably get to see more close calls than someone who is late for work or a party or driving buzzed on the way home from that party.    Along with that, it is my most sincere hope that I am not any part of close call observation or experience for any other drivers.

I am alert and aware and know that even though I have not yet had an accident, that one could really happen just about any time.  Earlier this year I took an AAA ancient older driver's course.  I did it to receive a discount (small, but welcome anyway) on my car insurance premiums.

Anyway, I am aware mostly because losing my ability to drive means that I will only rarely see my daughter and all the boys.  If I do have an accident, or some kind of close call, my plan is to stop driving.  Oh, sure, if someone slams into me, then I might reconsider...if the cost of repair are not too great or I am not too greatly shaken by the experience.  This is kind of on my mind because of the accident my daughter and her family recently had, air-bag-deployment, totally-trashed-car included.

I pushed for experimental vision surgery eight years ago, oh, has it really been nine?  Anyway, my vision was getting so much worse that my only alternatives were to stop driving or find a way to modify my visual disability.  The surgery could have taken my sight, but it worked and I can still drive.  However, should I feel that my ability to drive safely becomes compromised, I will voluntarily stop, sell my car and learn to depend on the kindness of other people.  Or, I may have to give in and move up north so that I am living closer to my family. 

But, gosh, I hope that does not happen for a long, long time.  I love my work here and I have worked so hard to craft this new life, so I guess that I could do it again.  Up north.

I have to leave shortly for a big meeting.  On the drive over I will be trying to not pay such strict attention to my driving that I neglect to do so safely.  Could happen.  But, I cannot have an accident.  I have too much to do.


  1. Losing the independence that a car brings is a scary thought. It must be very hard for older folks to relinquish their license even when they know they shouldn't be driving anymore,or anyone else for that matter. Very nice post!

  2. Better to give it up than to risk hurting anyone.

  3. So lovely to see you back on the DTE forum. You were greatly missed. I just realised that you are a year older than I young chick you! I look forward to reading about your journey and I am glad that you are now safe.