Still alive, old friends

>> Sunday, May 16, 2010

I got a text message from my Mom this morning:

Well that damn wreck was a year ago! What an experience for you. Love you.

Hm, yeah, I guess it was.

Time is a strangeness. I was thinking the other day about a kid I represented in juvenile court when he was ten or eleven years old, and that this must have been in 2000, 2001, sometime around then, and that he must be old enough to have graduated from high school now; hell, he's probably old enough to buy booze. And now here's another example of that inevitable flow. What, exactly, do you say about something so profound and so over-examined it's essentially cliché? I'll jokingly sing a few lines from the old Steve Miller Band song because, you know, there's something goofy and overwrought about the whole thing. And yet there it is. The wreck was a year ago, and it doesn't seem that long ago and it seems like something that happened to somebody else in a different universe somewhere, off to the side in another timeline. What do you say about that.

Hey, not dead. That's a point, right? Which seems somehow insufficient and yet, I'm a little surprised to admit, it means a great deal. Death isn't something I'm particularly scared of beyond the fact it terrifies me occasionally these days, which is also surprising. I tend to be fatalistic, except those moments of weakness when I, like anyone, lie awake in bleak existential panic wondering why I've bothered and what's it all going to come out to. It seems like a lot of heroes of mine were dead well before they got to my age, but if I can't write anything as good as "Love In Vain" or "A Song For You," there's one thing I can do those rhyming dead dudes can't, which is breathe, right?

So a year's gone by and I'm still alive. I am, in fact, another year older though people who tell you it's my birthday or unbirthday or whatever are just jiving; jiving out of goodwill, good intent and love, but still jiving. A year ago today--or a few hours from now to be more precise--I could have been dead in the middle of an intersection; so could several of my best friends, and they aren't either. It was a close thing, a matter of physics and angles, velocities and metal fatigue, some element of sheer chance, if our car had been further along or further behind, might have been a different outcome, death or a flipped bird and shaken heads as the kid streaked past us.

Something I think is a coincidence: as I typed that last paragraph, the computer was playing me Radiohead's "Airbag," live from a 1997 show--

In a fast German car
I'm amazed that I survived
An airbag saved my life

--or maybe not Synchronicity so much after all: I chose the album as I began to write today's post, perhaps there's subconscious noise going on and some recess of my brain remembered that track as I was scrolling through things to play, "Ah, I haven't listened to any Radiohead in a while; ah, that's a great show--" --mouseclick makes it so.

A lot of folks, I imagine, would point out we're all lucky to be alive; I've done it myself, and there's some merit in the observation. But I can't help thinking of that famous anecdote about George Orwell being laid up after being shot in the throat during the Spanish Civil War, while he'd been fighting alongside the other leftists against the fascists. The story goes that some friends went to see Orwell, recuperating from a sniper's bullet to the throat that he never fully recovered from because it ought to be obvious you never really recover from any kind of major injury, and the friends couldn't help observing how lucky Orwell had been, having survived a bullet through the throat, to which Orwell irritably and logically replied that if he'd really been "lucky" he wouldn't have been shot in the fucking throat in the first place. (I paraphrase, of course--probably, probably Orwell phrased it cuttingly and eloquently and without the f-bomb, but who'd blame him if he didn't?). Which isn't something you can really argue with, now is it?

It's good to be alive, it's good we didn't have anything worse than broken bones which, for most of us, have been set and we're doing as alright as you might be with bits of metal in you, and the gods know there are worse injuries we could have received and other people who have, in fact, received them by some unfortunate circumstance, but if we'd been lucky that kid would have remembered which pedal to put his foot on and we would have gone on to the bookstore and home to an evening of gaming, making fun of each other and rolling dice. But it is what it is and we're not dead.

I have no idea whether this was what I wanted to say, but it seemed like at least the first anniversary of the death of the Old Bug and continued life of the people who were in her needed to be noted and commented on and poked. I may drink a toast later. But life, happy to say, indeed goes on.

Iechyd da, everybody.


Random Michelle K Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 4:33:00 PM EDT  

Yes, that is precisely why I selected today as your arbitrary birthday. :D

I'm also glad you're alive.

Nathan Sunday, May 16, 2010 at 6:53:00 PM EDT  

I may have pointed out that once upon a time, I almost crushed my larynx (thereby killing myself) during a game of Red Rover. How fucking embarrassing of a way would that be to die? (And I was 31 years old at the time.)

We're all glad you're alive.

Happy Day of Rebirth Again all over again redundantly.

rbird Monday, May 17, 2010 at 9:36:00 PM EDT  

Ugh- that was a really bad week. I got dumped over email from my boyfriend of over three years and then I got that terrible phone call about your accident while I was packing boxes. (sad face.)

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