I’ve had some more car trouble. Specifically, someone destroyed it while I was driving on the M5.
I am in England. Last time I wrote here, more than a full calendar year ago, I wasn’t. I think that’s worth mentioning because this is a direct result of something I wrote in that post regarding my decision to teach and how that’s taken me across the sea and far from my friends, my family, my drums and my damn dog. Not sure the teaching thing is going to work out, but I’m proud that I can be honest about that, because I’ve been considering the nature of failure recently and I’ve come to the conclusion that failure, for me, is the acceptance of unhappiness and the hiding of worry, and I’m through spending my first year of marriage to my favourite person suffering because of career anxieties and some self-styled standard of what constitutes success for a young man.
Maybe there’s a whole post for that further down the road, but the real reason I cracked through the clay tomb of writer’s block and sat down at this desk like a glowing, tender Han Solo is because I’ve another natural link to my former final post, and furthermore to the one before that. Like I said, I’ve had some more car trouble.
I almost feel guilty writing about it really because I’m in the position to do so. I am, essentially, unhurt. My left hand is shaking a little, and like a drawing of a five year old I’ve got a grazed knee, but nothing’s broken except for the car itself. If anything, my resolve, my ability to take a step aside and “hmmm” at my current quality of life with my elbow cupped in one hand, fingers tracing my chin, has strengthened. I’ve found an excuse to write about something for the first time in too much time, and I’m enjoying it.
Little ahead of myself. I could have died. I was coming off of a major road, and someone drove their car into mine, stationary though it was, with force enough to deploy my airbags, collapse my seat and unsettle the radio from its moorings. I’ll not hear the rest of Steve Wright’s Oscars predictions without consulting the iPlayer and shall likely have to fathom my own. Two serviceable cars are being scrapped as a result of this vehicular transgression, yet I’ve walked away. The chap who stopped dead ahead of me even drove off to a holiday spot twenty minutes after. How has this happened? How can something so horrible have such little ramification? Shouldn’t I at least have a broken arm, head or face? My car is wrecked and I’m making Star Wars references on the Internet. I’m not really sure I’ve processed it yet.
I know this, though. When it happened, I felt bemusement, I felt confusion, I felt a car drive into me, but I didn’t feel surprise. I didn’t feel like it was anything less than what my life had come to carry lately, that it was just another reason to sigh every day, another reason to drag my feet across English earth, and another reason to reckon that I was the victim of some cosmic joke. Consider this. I paid £700 to render that car roadworthy not four weeks ago. Later, on the night of the crash in the hospital, the triage nurse said to me that I’d probably wake up in a day or two feeling like I’d been hit by a bus. “Or a car”, I quipped, flat inside. Autopilot humour.
So here’s what I’m taking from this. I got so deep that when someone nearly killed me, I thought “checks out” and just rolled with it. I experienced absolutely zero shock. Enough’s enough. If you’re unhappy, I humbly request that if you can do something about it, do it. Don’t solider on to save face. Don’t think your life has to go a certain way and don’t be afraid to change a path. Don’t do it for someone else if it means you can’t make them happy when it’s done. Don’t. Just don’t. You, me, we’re not built to move with heavy hearts, and we can’t see colour when everything’s grey. We’ve got one go at this, people, and we’re losing daylight.
I’ll be home in a few weeks, but I’m not leaving again so come see me if you like. I’m alive, so it shouldn’t be a problem.