Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The man in the street

Yesterday was one of the more stressful days in a long string of stressful days. At 3:00 I had to drive an hour to a book club in a little seaside town here, and I was kind of looking forward to the drive: no emails, no pressures, maybe just saw classical music or Alec Baldwin on podcast and me. 

I was on Route 1, the beach road, a two lane 55 mile an hour road with a grassy median and then two lanes heading the other direction, and I saw a man on the median. He looked nervous as he watched the traffic heading south--my car among it. I wondered why he didn't cross when there was a break. Then, my car fast approaching, he threw himself into my lane. I mean, he did a belly flop smack onto the road and stayed there. 

I both braked and swerved into the other lane, and the man began to roll and then crawl across the road, finally crawling into the nearby woods. Miraculously, I didn't hit him or even come close to hitting him. But I realized in the shock that followed that was he wanted. He didn't try to run across the busy road; he threw himself onto it. In front of me. 

I know I should make something of this, some realization about life and death or the human condition. I should take inspiration from it: I'm going through a lot right now but we all need to keep going, or some such. But I have had no epiphany. Just the image of that man, scared, jumping.