Pay attention!

Adding a new goal to my Life List today.

  1. Write a book.
  2. Keep from getting maimed or killed.

I can’t bear to edit this post or even reread to make sure it makes clear sense, I just need to post it as my major life goal right now—survival. Who has survival on their Life List? I have before and I’m keeping it on there now, in writing. My mother Helen died 35 years ago tomorrow, an early death from Hodgkins Lymphoma. It taught me to pay attention.

Today we decided to enjoy the perfect weather and take a drive out to the California Poppy fields. I was nervous about all the camera-toting tourists making u-turns in the middle of country roads, on blind curves, so I was vigilant. My husband drove. Our golden retrievers came along. On the way back we finally reached the straightaway to our house, a long, straight country road, not much traffic, and I let down my guard. I stopped paying attention. Bad idea.

Five miles from our house (my neighborhood was within sight), an oncoming car turned left in front of us JUST AS WE ENTERED THE INTERSECTION! They say your life flashes before you before you die but my impending death flashed before mine. I was only a couple of seconds from a 60 mph collision with the front end of my side of the car taking the brunt of it.

My husband braked but knew he couldn’t stop in time, we laid down rubber, veered left and I was now sliding towards their passenger side. It happened so fast. “They aren’t going to turn in front of us, are they? Oh yes they are!” It was a few seconds at most. Our skid marks are more than halfway into the intersection. My husband remained calm and, once he knew he couldn’t stop, skidded left into oncoming traffic. He knew the lane was clear behind the offending car but I didn’t. Then he realized that wasn’t enough so he had the presence of mind and the calm hand to SWERVE AROUND THE BACK OF THE SUV and back onto the highway and into our lane. During the swerve, I realized we had cleared the back end of the SUV but now I thought our Jeep would lose control and overturn or we’d end up out in the desert.

The SUV, complete with bicycles on top, clearly coming out to our area to enjoy the country, didn’t stop or even slow to see if we were all right. I had my husband pull over immediately and, saying “Pull over. Let me out, Let me out!” I got out of the car and yelled at the top of my lungs (middle fingers flying) “What the Fuck do you think you’re doing you Mother Fucking Asshole! Of course they didn’t hear or see me but the truck behind us had stopped to see if I was okay and seeing me flipping this guy (or girl) off, they waved to me a sort of “what was that guy thinking, and are you okay?” Then I yelled as loud as I could to discharge all this energy I was feeling. I was thinking Fuck the universe for its impersonal and unsuccessful attempt to kill me.

Then I cried, hard and long, leaning against the car. I cried as if someone had died. I had died. For a few seconds, I knew that my life was over. It was not going to be romantic, contemplative, or sentimental. It was going to be vicious. Fuckin’ A. Fucking universe.

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3 thoughts on “Pay attention!

  1. Diana,
    I am so thankful you are safe. How terrifying and angering it is to be the victim of someone’s blatant disregard for anyone else.

    I am sorry about the sad anniversary you must remember this day.

    I am a stage IIIB Hodgkins’ survivor of 12 years, next month, and I am so sorry about your mom.

    I know it doesn’t get any easier, but you are in my thoughts… I’m glad you are still here and will be able to make more beautiful art and share your mind here on this blog.

  2. @Skyewriter Very kind of you, thanks. I’m glad you are well.

    @Emma It really has been a strange last few days. I have felt knocked out emotionally.

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