Life is much easier when you have your head in the sand. I don't think anyone will really argue that statement. If not necessarily "in the sand" then it's at least easier if you are hyper-focused on one thing. That single minded focus on your goal(s) and/or dedication to not engaging the rest of the world in a meaningful way keeps things manageable.
And, truthfully......I kind of need it that way. I don't do exceptionally well when a bunch of shit gets thrown my way. I'm easily stressed. I have a bad temper. I just "feel too much" (as much as I hate that expression it's also 100% true of me).
As a result I often miss out on some awesome moments in which I can truly experience life. I don't realize how awesome some folks are because I never give myself a chance to know them. Social anxiety can be a real nasty bitch sometimes. My "day job" gives me a nice counter to that- it keeps me social (sometimes forcibly) and helps me meet some great people.
Today we lost one of them. I was just getting to know him this weekend when he came down to my department to help me cover some absences. He was humble, conscientious, hard-working, and sublimely cool. We talked about his 2 kids. He really enjoyed the way we do things in my neck of the woods and wanted to come back and do it again. I would've been thrilled to have him back. He crushed it and didn't have a single gripe in a pretty shitty weekend.
Sadly that won't happen now. He fell asleep on the way home and ran into a light pole on the side of the freeway. I don't pray often enough, but I pray to God that he didn't feel a thing. I sincerely hope it was like falling asleep and then just waking up in whatever comes next. Please, God.
This one's got my head in a funny place for a couple of reasons. He stayed late to help me out, and I was one of the last people to talk to him. It's hard not to feel like a shithead when you're the one who worked him so hard before he crashed while asleep on the way home. I can't help feeling that it's my fault, even though the logical part of my brain knows that's bullshit. The guilt remains.
It also hits close to home because of MY history with falling asleep and crashing your car. In October of 2007 I fell asleep while driving to work at the DC. I drove over 8 miles while asleep before taking an 80-plus MPH hard left into a concrete dividing wall on I-35. I broke my back in 2 places. I literally heard and felt it break. I was lucky, too. I should have died at that speed.
I still have nightmares about that experience. It was truly terrifying. I can recall the shock settling in after the car finally came to a stop. I can recall pulling myself (broken back and all) out of the car and calling for help. I don't really remember much of the following 6 days in the ICU.
It's not the accident that really sticks with me, though. What really sticks with me is how easily my whole life changed and how easily it all could've just been gone. That would've meant no more Gracie or Cindy. I'd have missed out on so much. The impact of that is thinking of all of the people I would have never seen again or would never have known. To call it sobering is to do an extreme injustice to the word understatement.
The moral of the story? Don't take any of this for granted, y'all. I'm not kidding. Go do the things you are too scared to do. Answer that phone call. Go to that party. Write that damn book. Soak up all of the love you can get.
Is the inevitable next statement cliched? Sure it is. It's cliched because it's legitimately axiomatic.
Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Live today.
Rest in Peace, SeDerrick. You were one of the good guys, brother.