ap170305 Close call: Wake up call
Yesterday I walked from our home in lower Queen Ann. I was
with four blocks of my destination—the Trader Joe’s store at the top of the
hill. It was there that Lynda and I planned to meet. We coordinated my walk
time and her bus time. It was about 1:05.
Walking on 1st Avenue North I came to Blaine
Street, and I was looking down the sloping street at the Number 4 bus, waiting
there. I was startled by the sound of a vehicle skidding to stop. There, about
ten feet from me, was a black SUV that had almost hit me! I froze—like they
say, like a deer in the headlights. I looked at the driver—she was aghast. I
felt meek and I hurried out of the way.
One second was all the separated me from serious injury or
even death. She may have been going about 10 miles per hour—a little slow
because at that intersection there is a jog where Blaine meets 1st
Avenue. It takes about 27 feet to stop a car going this speed—about one and a
third times the length of a Sports Utility Vehicle like hers.
As I resumed my walk, I began playing back what a difference
that one second would have made. At ten mph, a car covers about 15 feet per
second. One second would have been enough to smash into my right side, probably
breaking my hip and femur. I’d probably be thrown a dozen feet besides,
hitting who knows what on my body: My head? Shoulder? What the overall impact would do to my back—operated
on five months ago—shoulders, neck and head is hard to tell. If not killed, I
could have been hospitalized for months.
Visualizing different scenarios in my imagination as I
walked on, I wondered how, would Lynda be informed of my situation. Would
medics go through my things, my wallet and cell phone and know to call her (assuming
someone called 9-1-1)? Lynda would be on the bus by then, heading up the hill
to meet me. Would she hear her cell phone?
What about the SUV driver? Yes, this close call was partly
my fault because I was looking the other way, distracted. Was the driver
distracted, too? Was she looking at her cell phone, or paying attention to a
kid in the back, perhaps? Honestly, I was too shook up to think about walking
around to her car window and talking about this, cussing her out, maybe, or anything.
I don’t even know if we made eye contact.
I’m pretty sure it was a woman; and as I reached Queen Ann
Avenue I hoped I would see her parking her SUV. My thoughts collected now, I’d
be pretty sure I’d have a talk with her. I didn’t see her, though. From Blaine Street
she could have gone the other way down Queen Anne Avenue.
I would never know for sure what happened yesterday when I
was in that crosswalk, but I know it was a wakeup call. Old men like me shouldn’t
go walking unattended if they don’t watch out. My mind wandered; I wasn’t
watching out for cars—like a little kid. It’s cool to think young if you’re a
creative artist, but not cool if you are in traffic.
What if I’d been hit? What would happen to the art in our
gallery, and the software experiments I’m working on? I believe I am doing
things to ensure that the art and the gallery is useful and helpful to Lynda,
and to our two daughters and their families. I will die—run over by an SUV or struck
down by a fatal heart attack or stroke; and that’s the bottom line of why I
spend my time the way I do.
That is why I’m pay Nellie to learn and develop database
management for all that I’ve made; and bookkeeping, using our family assets as
content to her databases and financial accounting. That’s why I refer always to
the dumpster story
to underscore the alternative to valuation and dissemination of the gallery’s
contents for the benefit of my family and community.
 The dumpster refers to the inevitability of discarding my entire life’s work into a 10-yard dumpster at the time of my death in order to clear our gallery and storage room so as to leave no obligation to family and friends.