Just As I Thought

Time Crashes

Today is the 25th anniversary of the horrific plane crash in DC, Air Florida flight 90 that went down between the 14th Street bridges. As with most shocking events, I can still recall that day. Ironically, I was here in San Jose.
Although I say that I’ve lived my entire life in DC, that’s trivially untrue. I spent one school year here in San Jose living with my grandparents in 1981-82. And it was then that I got a call from home telling me that there had been a plane crash and my stepmother was OK.
I couldn’t quite figure out why I was being told that; was she on the plane? No, it turns out that she was on the bridge.
A number of people died on the bridge that day when the plane struck it and crushed their cars. My stepmother’s fortunes hinged on how badly she had to go to the bathroom.
The traffic that day was snarled, the snow and ice had slowed it to a crawl. She was seriously contemplating pulling over to use a cup for relief, but instead decided to keep inching her way to our apartment in Arlington, a mile or so away. If she had stopped, she would have been directly in the path of the jet.
Twenty five years later, here I sit in San Jose again. It is hard to wrap my mind around twenty five years and it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago. Was I really only 15 years old? How in the world does 15 + 25 = 40? How does life slip by so quickly and without being notable. Even now, the days and weeks and months are flying by so quickly, and I don’t know how to slow them down.
I don’t know why, but earlier this week I lay in bed thinking about death. The pragmatic, scientific, unemotional side of me argued that when I die I won’t care, really — because I’ll be dead. But the metaphysical side of me kept obsessing about the condundrum of being dead. You see, the problem is that you’re not “being.” That makes it sound like another state of existence, and although many people think that your spirit must move on to some other level, I just don’t see any evidence of that. It’s a comforting fallacy so that people don’t have to contemplate, like me, the complete end to everything. It’s impossible to imagine how death feels, because it doesn’t have a feeling. One can’t think how it must be to stare into blackness, because you won’t be there to stare.
Nothing is very hard to imagine.
Sorry for being depressing on a sunny, 30° Saturday morning.


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