I almost killed someone tonight.
I was driving home after hanging out with friends, heading up the highway. I hadn’t had anything to drink, wasn’t driving recklessly, and was paying rapt attention to the street. When out of nowhere, a pedestrian suddenly appeared in my spotlights.
She wasn’t crossing the highway. She wasn’t walking on the side of the road. She was walking along the highway in the middle of the lane, her back turned toward traffic, talking on a cell phone, and wearing a dark black coat.
I braked to a halt and honked my horn at her. She turned and looked at me like I was retarded for driving on her personal highway. She moved just enough for me to pass, and then returned to the middle of the lane once I’d gone.
I don’t know if she was drunk, high, or just suffering from a severe case of American egotism. She’s probably still out there. Walking to God knows where, talking with God knows whom.
All I can think of is how close that life came to getting snuffed out. Just one slick patch of ice, or a few seconds’ slower reaction time. That, and how my life would be essentially over as well. Breathalyzer tests might prove my sobriety, but how do you prove that you weren’t driving recklessly? How do you prove that the pedestrian was the person endangering life and limb in a car on person collision?
I could be sitting in a police station right now, looking at however many years you’d face for vehicular manslaughter, instead of sitting here, writing this, too shaken to go to sleep.
What would have been the point? That’s the part that bothers me. I see patterns of reason and meaning that run through my life, and the nearness of sudden, violent death seems so…meaningless.
Maybe there’s meaning in the near miss. Who knows.
I don’t have a lesson to pull from this. No insight. I’m too fucking disturbed right now. I just need to feel the words coming. I need the words.