Yesterday I was leaving a parking lot, pulling out very slowly onto the road because there were several bushes to my left, which prevented me from seeing the traffic coming from that direction. I ever so carefully inched my way into the road, keeping my eyes to the left to see what was there. When the front of my car was over a third of the way into the road my foot slammed on the brake, my eyes spotting my biggest fear - a motorcycle. I'm certain the motorcyclist saw my expression of horror and could read my lips, "Oh shoot!!!!"
Thankfully, the motorcyclist was also traveling at a very slow rate of speed and had time to slow down and go around me. I raised my hand signaling, "I'm so sorry!" As he continued on ahead I had an urge to catch up to him, stop him, and tell him how I would never intentionally pull in front of anyone, let alone a motorcyclist. Tell him how sorry I was to have given him that scare, that pit in his stomach. But I didn't.... as he would have certainly thought I was a crazy lady.
Last night while watching the news, a report came on about a father traveling on his motorcycle with his 8-year old son, just a short distance from his home. A dump truck made a left turn and the motorcycle hit the truck, killing both the father and son. The pictures of the bike puts that sickening feeling in you, knowing there's no way anyone could survive that accident. I don't know what exactly happened, the accident is still under investigation. But, it's one more reminder how quickly a life can end when a body, traveling unprotected, hits a solid mass.
Tonight, I plop myself on my couch, with a Diet Coke in my hand, all settled in to relax and watch the Patriots-Raven 8:20pm game. The first thing I hear when I switch to the game channel is about one of the Raven players, who lost his brother in a motorcycle accident just after midnight this morning. The cameras keep zooming in on this player's face, and you can see the pain and sadness in his eyes, as he wipes away the tears. They show a quote from his Twitter entry, "Be thankful for your loved ones and tell them you love them. .. This is the hardest thing ever." (by Torrey Smith). Another reminder of how quickly someone can go from cruising down a highway to, in an instant, no longer being with us.
Ever since Austin's accident I have been torn on how I feel about motorcycles. On the one hand, I completely understand why people enjoy riding them. On the other hand, I want to tell everyone to stop riding them, that it's not worth it, because it only takes a split second for them to be in another driver's blind spot, to crest a hill with something in the middle of it and they don't have time to avoid it (a deer, rock, car....) and when they hit it there will be nothing to protect them.
Then I remind myself, there's no guarantee in life. There are people who do everything right (eat healthy, exercise regularly, don't drink too much, don't smoke...) but who have a heart attack and die. There are car accidents every day where people don't survive. In fact, "in the United States, injury is the leading cause of death among children and young adults and nearly half of these accidents occur in the home, according to the National Safety Council. That same group states that in 2002, there were more than 33,000 deaths and 8,000,000 disabling injuries that occurred in the home." (NSC)
Does this mean I should eat unhealthy, not exercise regularly, never ride in a car, and stay out of my house? No.... it's simply a reminder that life happens and there is no guarantee what tomorrow will bring. We need to make the most out of what we have and never stop livin' lovin' life!