Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Deer in the Headlights

If you haven't deduced by now from previous posts, I am a full-fledged, card-carrying podcast junkie. They're a great way for me to pass time and exercise my mind on my hour-each-way, six-days-a-week commute from my home in the southern tier of New York to my business in Ithaca, in the finger lakes region.

I stayed in Ithaca late on Monday night, honored to be a guest of the City of Ithaca at the Downtown Ithaca Alliance Annual Dinner. They seated me at Table One along with the presenters and City staff, and I enjoyed the evening watching a dear retiring friend and colleague of mine receiving a special recognition award. We had a blizzard on the way and winter storm warnings coming from every direction, so I was eager to get on the road after the event ended, nevertheless feeling great about the evening, the new contacts I made, the bonds I strengthened, and the potential for the future; I was feeling pretty invincible.

It hadn't started snowing yet, so I was driving at my normal pace—admittedly too fast—along the long, hilly stretch of two-lane roads that I know oh so well … over mountains, alongside streams, and through the breathtaking upstate New York landscape and once-beautiful little towns that pepper its valleys. About halfway through the drive, my podcast ended. For the life of me, I can't figure out why my app sometimes will play another podcast in succession and other times won't. I also can't figure out how to take the episode lineup off shuffle mode and put it on oldest-first mode. But I digress…

The podcast ended and I opened my phone to queue up another one. As I was scrolling through the list, trying to decide if I wanted to listen to another episode of The Bowery Boys or Stuff You Should Know, the podcast app suddenly closed without my prompting. Overreacting, I let out a calm expletive, rolled my eyes, and glanced up at the road … instantly slamming on my breaks and letting out a number of other not-so-calm expletives. A deer was right in front of me, bounding across the road inches from my front bumper!

It was a narrow miss—entirely too narrow, and nothing short of a miracle. If my podcast app hadn't shut down as it did, causing me to look up, I'd likely be in pretty bad shape right now. It takes my breath away even now as I think about it, five days later.

There are times when you coast along, day after day, mile after mile, along the same road, doing the same thing, numb, dumb, and in a blinding routine. There are times when we feel great, or even invincible. And then moments happen—sharp, sudden moments that wake you up and make you realize that you're incredibly mortal, part of something much greater, and by no means alone. There are moments when you see clear, unmistakable intervention on your behalf … and a necessary wake-up call.

#DistractedDrivingIsSerious #DontTextandDrive #KeepYourEyesUp #AskUncleMarty