Slow Leaks & Near-Misses
to go: 1,055.58 [don't ask]
have missed me by more than an inch: two inches, at the very most. I
actually felt the warm fart of auto exhaust on my ankles as the car
blew through the intersection at 90 miles an hour, not unlike the way I imagine
the inattentive bullfighter feels the breath of the passing Brahma
... just before it gores her
says the man
standing on the sidewalk next to me. "You OK, lady?"
seems more rattled by
the near-miss than *I* am. In fact, I'll bet if he could have reached
out and hauled me out of the crosswalk himself by the scruff of my
neck, he would have. As it is, I nearly knocked him over jumping
backwards onto the curb as the car barrelled past us.
nod in embarrassment. I'm
OK. My fault. Wasn't paying attention.
certainly know better than to step into a crosswalk -- even if the
light says "Go ahead! Walk! We DARE you!" -- without checking in ALL
pertinent directions first. There is always at least one trigger-happy
asshole, chomping at the bit (and at the gas pedal) for that free
right-hand turn ... pedestrians or no pedestrians. But it's been a long
day, and an even longer commute, most of it spent riding various
excruciatingly-slow forms of public transportation. At the moment I
stepped into that crosswalk, I was thinking more about Happy Pants and
leftover fried chicken, frankly, than I was about personal safety.
been this way a
lot, the past few days.
If June was all about
feeling like one big unpopped zit of premenstrual misery, then July so
far has been a long, slow, involuntary leak. Leaking blood. Leaking
toxins. Leaking tension. Leaking *homicidal rage molecules.* (And
apparently -- leaking IQ points, while I'm at it.) I'm not sure what's
causing it. I've only been taking the new meds for two weeks -- I'm
still not sure how I'm supposed to refer to them here: birth control
pills? cycle regulators? sanity restorers? -- not nearly long enough
for them to have made any difference. I suspect that this is simply the
mellow aftermath of The Month From Hell ... a way of slowly letting go
of all the bad hormonal juju that had managed to accumulate in June.
The downside is that it has left me feeling unnaturally slow and sleepy
and preoccupied, like I've been outside doing bong hits in my
boyfriend's van all afternoon. (Except I don't have the munchies. Much.
And I'm not seized with a sudden desire to listen to Robin Trower
hope that it's
temporary. Stoned was never a *good look* for me.
and I all stand on the corner of the intersection and watch as the
Mustang races off down Central Avenue in a cloud of smoke and squealing
tires. The young driver guns it a couple of times, just for show. See?
it says. I'm
a stoopid show-offy teenager without the sense God gave a chicken!
is a cop when you
need one?" mutters a woman standing outside the liquor store, smoking a
cigarette. There is a murmur of consensus among the little knot of
onlookers -- Teenagers. Who
needs 'em? -- and then the light
changes again, and the "Walk" sign begins to blink, and we all disperse
and go our separate ways.
make my way across the
street with the caution of a blind Wallenda crossing Niagara Falls. I'm
still not feeling particularly unnerved by the incident. Mildly
pissed off, yes. Embarrassed, yes, a little. But I'm not
upset. I'm not contemplating ways to track down the Mustang driver and
have him publicly eviscerated. (Or worse: forcing him to drive a VOLVO
to school from now on.) I'm not even all that concerned about the
part my own
inattention may have played in the incident. In fact, it will be
another four hours -- as I'm laying in bed trying to fall asleep --
before the enormity of what almost happened this afternoon hits me.
could have been
further into that crosswalk, and I could have been road butter. All of
the vitamins and exercise and pap smears in the
world aren't going to do me a bit of good if I don't look both ways
before I cross the street, forcryingoutloud.
takes me a little
while to calm down enough to sleep, after this horrifying realization
... but eventually my heart rate ratchets itself back down to normal,
the nausea passes, the worst of the shaking subsides. Another
couple of weeks, I tell myself. Just
keep taking the meds for another couple of weeks, and everything
will be fine.
I live that long.
throw a rock