This morning, as I rounded a curve on Beach Drive, I was momentarily stunned to find a huge SUV in my lane and barreling toward me. The woman swerved back into her lane at what seemed like the last possible moment.
It didn’t take long for me to start imagining the various outcomes of that event. I tend to do this sometimes, imagine what the many possibilities are of a certain action or event… you’d think I’d be good at chess, but since I almost never choose the right path despite my forethought, I’m just not good at that kind of strategerizing.
Anyway, I began to imagine things. How bad my injuries would have been and how long I’d be in the hospital. I’ll be going up to Philly to see B on Thursday, who would call him and tell him I wouldn’t be there? How much would my medical bills be, and how much would my insurance cover? Who would take care of Diego and the cats? I can only assume my car would have been totalled; since it’s so difficult to get a Prius these days, how long would I have to wait for a replacement? What would I drive in the meantime? Would that woman’s insurance pay the entire replacement cost of my car, especially considering that it’s in many ways worth more than I paid for it now? Would it hurt when the SUV scraped off the driver’s side of my car, or would I be so shocked I wouldn’t notice it for a while? What would happen to my Powerbook, in the bag on the passenger side? Should I have backed up it’s data before I got into the car? There’s scant cell phone coverage in Rock Creek Park, how long would it be before someone called the police? If both my legs were broken, could I still manage to get upstairs in my house? And is my bed too high for someone with broken legs to get into? If I was brain damaged, would I want the machines turned off? Do my parents automatically get to make this decision, or do I have to have some written instructions or a power of attorney?
I think all these questions went through my head in a matter of moments, after the woman was well past me and crossing the center line farther down the road. A lot of the questions were a little, well, dramatic and silly; but I began to wonder about the tapestry of life and where my small thread was woven in. Strangely, there are some people that — well, “depend” is a strong word, but they rely on me to do things… maintain websites, design magazines, collect their mail, feed their cats, stuff like that. I didn’t really contemplate being killed this morning, just injured; but it does make me wonder what might happen if I was not here at my desk to decipher my files and the piles around me; if someone had to figure out just what I do everyday it might be a difficult task.