I often ask myself in the morning "dude what if I died today". Not in an "I wanna die" kinda way but more in an "are you prepared to fully live today as if it were the only day to your fullest potential" kinda way. This type of morning reflection gets me excited to do my best each day, especially on the rough days when I lack motivation. As a former athlete, I rely on motivation heavily and goals to get me through. Somehow this sentence continues to keep my eyes on the prize.
I will take a ride from anyone I know without the thought that anything could happen. It’s strange how city living will allow you to extend this trust to taxi and Uber drivers as well. That’s why calling up an Uber after a site visit for work was really no big deal at all. It was also no big deal that the driver was deaf. He had a 4.5 rating and I was able to use the tiny amount of American Sign Language my mom taught me and what I maintained while coaching against deaf schools to communicate with our driver.
We head into a really busy intersection that had no lights and just a 2 way stop. The street is a main throughway for the city and traffic calming areas and speed cameras only keep drivers around 40 mph. I assume if these measures were not in place, neighborhood pedestrians would face speeds of 50 mph or more in their newly gentrified neighborhoods. We meekly enter the intersection when I hear a loud scraping thud. I look up from my conversation with the other passenger and see a car approaching my passenger seat door... "I'm going to die". Then I think, "Who is going to pick the kids up from school?". What a dumb last thought.
We pull over to speak with the other driver who had the right of way. She was really shaken up. We really couldn’t understand why, her company car had very minimal damage and the Uber driver’s license plate had be taken off by our near death experience.
I jumped out the car and called the police (who never came), patiently waiting and interpreting what I could for the drivers when appropriate. Because she was so riled up, I didn't want to leave the guy without any witnesses. She was driving her company's car and was nervous about her boss's reaction; his reaction was very calm when he showed up 30 minutes later.
What I learned:
I have nothing profound to share right now. I mean I was perfectly calm as I watched 6 more cars approach my passenger side door. I literally felt fine. No fear. No worry. In a situation like that, there is nothing you can do. I had no control of the wheel, I was just an observer, a bystander of sorts. Maybe I will have more profound thoughts later, I don't know. I guess the realness of my morning motivational meditation is a tangible notch on my ticking clock.
I think I'm actually still in shock as I type this... I'm not lucky. Someone prays for me all the time and I guess their prayers kicked in this day. It just wasn’t my time, but I was at peace if it were.
I'm a former teacher and former college athlete, currently working to make life more equitable for all people. My mission is to get parents to partner with their child's teacher.