Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I came so close to dying today.

I walked out of the office and headed east on desolate Canal Street to the terrifying intersection of Hudson and Watts and the entrance to the Holland Tunnel. At night I don't think so much about it, maybe 'cause I'm tired and it's dark and the whole world seems somehow less perilous, softened in the gloom.

I got the light and I walked.

My ears plugged with earbuds and Donald Fagen cooing in his Jersey know-it-all, adenoidal snarl.

A car raced around another heading west on Canal and abruptly cut across. In the space of about half a second I formed the following distinct thoughts, apprehensible as gradual stages in some deliberate process of realization or at least of coming to terms:

1. That car can't possibly be coming at me.
2. Can it?
3. Is that car coming right at me?
4. I mean, right at me?
5. At full speed?

I broke into an awkward, loping gallop, three steps maybe, just enough for the demon car to squeal past my back, not slowing nor swerving nor honking nor giving the least indication.

I exploded into motion, it occurs to me now, the way they said that new defensive tackle the Eagles drafted, the way they like him for his explosiveness, and I thought at the time, what a dumb football cliché, explosiveness.

To explode into motion. All the requisite muscles suddenly and completely given to the task of displacement at the instigation of a subconscious or superconscious thought.

When it was over and I reached the other side of the street, I thought, What now?