My car got hit while driving back to Truckee from San Francisco on Friday in a slow motion red-light-running, fairly uneventful collision (as far as collisions go).
Stuff like that happens though, and it always sends me back into this philosophical spiral of amazement at how confusing and astonishing it is that we all exist in our own separate universes, where we are the center of our little worlds, and our tiny, insignificant decisions throughout the course of the day determine whether we intersect or avoid everyone else’s universes.
That day I: woke up too early, dawdled too long, sat and read the newspaper at the coffee shop, got number 242 at the Oakland social security office (which put me at a desk with a guy who I had an extended conversation with), missed my exit driving to Redwood Regional, ran into an older couple on the trail who I chatted to about the flooding and eerie-looking climb through the trees, decided to change clothes at my car, last minute decided to buy food before hitting the road, took the College Ave exit instead of Telegraph, landed first in line at the red light… and then got hit. Hurrying or wasting one minute more or less at any one of those points (or any of the others in between) would’ve not put me in that place at that time. Not being in that place at that time would’ve meant I left the Bay an hour and a half earlier. Leaving an hour and a half earlier would’ve meant I missed Sac traffic. And on. And on.
Or would it? Ironically, I’d had a similar conversation earlier in the week while sleep-running one morning on the idea that our lives are made up of these individual decisions we make, some of which are small and seemingly inconsequential, and some of which are huge and life-changing. I had one day in November of 2005 where I got annoyed with college applications, and I ended up living in Scotland for seven years, and though a chain of events that followed that, I ended up where I am now. Would I have ended up here if I hadn’t have stood by those mailboxes that afternoon? Or is there a certain level of ‘all roads lead to one destination’ thing going on, where in fact, all of those seemingly insignificant decisions are actually really inconsequential, and skipping to page 10 or page 18 in the choose your own adventure book is ultimately still going to lead you to page 253 in the end?
Usually this spiral of thought (which I’ve been having since I was pretty young) doesn’t lead me to regret and remorse for decisions gone bad… it just makes me wish I could clone myself so I could try out all of the different combinations and live every version of my life. Life FOMO. Fo’ sure.
Anyway, switching out of life-thoughts mode (that took an unexpected turn, but we’ll just roll with it):
SF was, as one of my coworkers aptly put it, full of ‘input’ of all kinds. City input. People input. Work input. Noise input. Motion input. Tequila input. And I coped by going to bed by 9pm and continuing to wake up at ungodly early hours.
I ran 50 miles in between onsite-ing, which is definitely the most I’ve done over five days in a long time, and it felt awesome to run for real after the weeks of snow. After my run today, I think I’m finally back in shape and acclimated to the altitude and climbing mountains.
Bad news: I definitely bruised (going with bruised and not fractured) my rib, likely from coughing, possibly also from failing skiing last weekend. It is… painful. To say the least.
My book of the week was Before the Fall by Noah Hawley, and it was so-so.
I finally changed my name.
I got back to Truckee and was greeted by Matt and Janet, who escaped LA for the weekend for some California cousin bonding and to ski in bright sunshine.
I am forever grateful that I have such a close immediate and extended family.
We have insane icicles dangling from our roof right now.
There is also feet and feet and feet of snow, and it’s almost so part of the landscape now that I have forgotten it’s there.
I had a super sweet New Zealand girl in my ski lesson on Sunday, who was terrified about getting off the Magic Carpet, but I got to go down the actual run… and she went from looking like she wanted to cry all morning to having the biggest smile and telling me how excited she was to do this tomorrow.
(I did NOT take her down the run pictured above.)
Otis missed my presence and won’t leave my side (or let me use my computer).
I think Alex also missed having me around, as she resorted to writing poetry about Otis while the power was out last week:
It’s good to be back.