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Near Miss

It’s been quite the morning.

I am not, as the saying goes, a “morning person.” However, I can get up, get out of bed and go through my morning routine without feeling like I’m on the verge of passing out. In that regard, I seem to be doing better than a lot of people. I have what I consider to be a more significant issue, though. Once my mind starts going into anything less than a purely active state, I begin to nod off. I’ve never found anything that consistently counteracts this. I’m not a coffee drinker–indeed, I can’t stand the stuff–so that’s of no help. My wife has prepared teas for me, to see if the caffeine would help. I take caffeine pills to help me stay awake and alert. I still can’t stop myself from starting to drift off behind the wheel. So, I’ve had to tough it out. No one’s gotten hurt yet, but probability dictates that eventually, something bad is going to happen. Today was very nearly that day. My commute is about thirty minutes long, and I was fighting sleep the whole way along. About a mile away from the exit I take to reach my workplace, I apparently began to doze… and woke up while drifting to the left, almost underneath the trailer of an 18-wheeler which was hauling lumber. Few sights are so effective at waking one up. Fortunately, I’m not a panicky driver, so I didn’t swerve or anything… I just adjusted the wheel to get fully back into my own lane. I continued onward to work, parked and rode up as usual.

When I sat down and began to relax, it all came crashing in. I nearly died this morning. Modern sedans don’t, as a general rule, hold up very well in collisions with 18-wheelers. I’m not ashamed to say I cried, just from trying to process what had happened. I had an early-morning phone conference, so when I spoke to my supervisor about it, I explained what had happened. I don’t know what to do. I was working from home for a while, but that same tendency to slip into sleep has caused me to miss important meetings before. So either my life is at risk, or my livelihood.

When I woke up and saw the undercarriage of that trailer getting awfully close, there was no grand revelation. My life did not flash before my eyes. I heard no voice. Just mere circumstance. I could just as easily be dead as alive. I don’t fear my own death, but I’m in no hurry to meet it halfway, either.

Perhaps, if I were of a more spiritual bent, I would’ve taken this as some kind of sign from God. But frankly, I doubt it. This isn’t anything special, beyond that it happened to involve ME, as opposed to someone I don’t know.

I’ll keep my focus where it needs to be… making myself safe to drive again, and doing whatever I can to keep this issue from impacting my job. Wish me luck, or whatever applies. Just no prayers. They’re annoying and they make my gout flare up.

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