Among The Living

“You simply must pay attention!” -Yunmen

I’d had the bike for a week. It was my first motorcycle. A good friend and experienced rider told me to always ride like you are invisible. I thought that was great advice. 

I was following a Chevy van, in the left lane, on Main Street in Mesa. There were no windows in the back of the van.

The van slowed to a stop. There was no visible reason for it to be stopping. Without hesitating, I veered into the turn lane, passing the van on the left. SMASH! A half-ton pickup piled into the back of the van at full speed. 

It would have been a quick and permanent trip to the cemetery, had I not followed the instinct to exit the area.

(There was a confused looking dog in front of the van.)

Yunmen, paying attention.

I was rebuilding a carburetor, seated at a metal workbench. The bench was against a wall, and a Nissan pickup was in the stall behind me.

Peripherally, I see the mechanic approach the driver’s door. I turned just enough to see his arm reach through the window… possibly to start it. 

Without thinking, I launched out of the chair up and away to the left, a split-second before the truck smashed into the bench. I would not be typing this if I did not follow the impulse to immediately unass the area.

In 10 years, that was the only time I ever saw a mechanic start a vehicle that was not in neutral. There’s an unwritten code: you never leave a car in the shop in gear.

The pickup was parked in third gear. The instant the ignition caught, it shot forward and slammed into the bench. (I can still hear the terrible crunching sound.)

Since that day, I never permit myself to be in front of a vehicle with a seated driver if there is any sort of immovable object behind me.

Once again, being alive to the moment kept me that way. Stay sharp! 

I’ll post a new topic each Friday afternoon, in one of two categories. One will be on shooting, and the other will be on living. Or: how I learned to live from what I learned by competing.
Thanks for coming in.