The Unbearable Banishment: Bloody reminders

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bloody reminders

There was a horrific accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. My arrival home was severely delayed because of the traffic jam. They had to land a medivac helicopter on the freeway and airlift someone who was critically injured. As we crawled passed the accident scene, I saw a car that had been flipped upside-down and reduced to a ball of mangled metal.

The very next morning I got a text from a friend. She had to rush to Ohio. A friend's wife had passed away suddenly. She wasn't sick and didn't have a history of medical problems. The trauma of the event caused him to have a heart attack. My friend and her husband were rushing to be by his side.

That's two reality checks in a 12-hour period. I am guilty of getting too wrapped-up in the minutia. I forget that it can all go in an instant. Some guy is commuting home from work. It's the same boring drive he's made hundreds of times. But on a random Thursday, it all changes in an instant. A woman gets out of bed and for no apparent reason, drops dead. As if someone snapped their fingers and the life drained out of her.

I'm not one to fret about being visited by a host of horrors but, brothers and sisters, please seize the day. Life is so fragile. Sometimes I lose sight of the way and I really take these unintentional reminders to heart.

* * *

5th Avenue at 40th Street. Friday, March 23, 2012, 5:20 p.m.

Grim-faced and forbidding
their faces closed tight

an angular mass of New Yorkers
Pacing in rhythm

race the oncoming night

they chase through the streets of Manhattan.

Headfirst humanity

pause at a light

then flow through the streets of the city.



Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Having experienced a loved one being killed (my sister)or dying (several cousins and a husband) in an instant long before they should have, I hear you on the reminders, UB.

Always always always take the time to tell those you care about just that... that you care about them. It's good to say I love you. Even to your friends. Give lots of hugs. Make eye contact and smile at everyone. Stop sometimes, just wherever you are, and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the universe. Revel in your senses.

And embrace life. Like the saying goes, "Don't sweat the small stuff." Because it's just that... small. In the big scheme of things, most of it really doesn't matter.

Be happy. And if you aren't, do whatever it takes, even little things, to make sure you have at least little bits of happiness in your days.

These reminders, however stark and horrifying that they are, need to be heeded. Thanks, UB.

March 25, 2012 at 2:06 PM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

we are always one phone call away from daytime nightmares. love aggressively...

love the video. is that outside the hotel i stayed at last week?

March 25, 2012 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger savannah said...

say yes more often is rapidly becoming my favorite motto. yes to the people/things/places i love. yes without hesitation, yes without fear, and yes with love. thanks, sugar for the reminder! xoxoxoxox

March 25, 2012 at 4:12 PM  
Blogger mapstew said...

Yes my friend, yes. :¬)

March 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ponita: I didn't realize you had all that in your past. That you're able to carry on is a testament to your resolve and perseverance.

daisy: I am obsessed with that video. I don't know why. There's something mesmerizing about the movement. I've watched it dozens of times. It was taken around the corner from your hotel on 5th Avenue.

sav: I need to be more vigilant about this sort of thing. I turn inward far too often.

map: Yes to more songs, please. Fields Of Athenry was another in a series of great, great performances.

March 25, 2012 at 6:24 PM  
Anonymous looby said...

I'm constantly aware of my own mortality and try to live as though I'm on borrowed time.

Of course being English we wouldn't say I love you but give a small nod of the head :)

March 25, 2012 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

By all means seize the day and don't waste it by living in fear.

Flatties reign on Fifth Avenue


March 26, 2012 at 4:52 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

looby: A small nod of the head is as good as a wink to a blind bat. Or something like that.

Pat: Excellent observation. Not about life. About footwear.

March 26, 2012 at 7:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have just spent four days in a tiny hamlet by the water with my two best friends. Every few hours one of us said "Aren't we lucky?" or "I love you guys" or "We always have such a good time together don't we?".... It was so nice to do nothing much, just to sit back and appreciate how happy small things made us feel.

March 26, 2012 at 7:39 AM  
Blogger Nimpipi said...

:(.. <3

March 26, 2012 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Adam Kenny said...

Well said. It is something I think that we all know we should do but that we all probably spend less time doing than we should. Thanks for the reminder.

March 26, 2012 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

nurse: I wish I had more moments like that. It seems the older I get, the more rare they become. Perhaps they'll return when the girls go to college.

Adam: I have such a paper-thin grasp of what really matters that I need these occasional reminders to get my feet back on the ground.

March 26, 2012 at 5:32 PM  
Anonymous dinahmow said...

You have many such moments. Maybe you don't see them as such, but they are there.In the winks, smiles from strangers, tugs on the hand from a child. Yes, even a puppy trying to gnaw your foot off!
And one of the nicest things? That you can write about it and that we can respond.
Daisyfae calls them friends who live in the computer.
But I think more than a few have migrated to our hearts.

March 27, 2012 at 2:36 AM  
Anonymous Dolce said...

Trying to do that at the moment. To stuff as much life into my life in case i have less of it than i imagined. Particularly following the year of blue.

Carpe diem and all that.

March 27, 2012 at 4:41 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

dinah: The gnawing puppy is supposed to provide a moment of emotional clarity? That's funny. Generally I feel a sense of overwhelming regret! Puppy or not, that stuff better stop. Or else.

Dolce: It's a good way to keep your feet on the ground. You don't realize how fortunate you are until it's all snatched away from you.

March 27, 2012 at 7:40 AM  
Blogger Kono said...

I guess i've been lucky to always have lived like this, a good book, a blood red sunset, the sound of the ocean meeting the land, birds chirping before dawn, the sound of my children's voice, i could go on and on about the little things i take notice of every day cuz i am fortunate and i know that if it's snatched away like that i won't know it, i'll be dead.

March 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM  

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