Thursday night last week I was driving home just like every night. I frequently think about the "what if I..." part of life. Thursday was the what if I left work 2 minutes later or earlier. I didn't. I wish I had.
I drive straight up Hwy 100 the whole distance from Bloomington to the north end of "the Cities". Same route every day, no problem. I also stay back the proper distance, or at least the best I can considering everyone and their brother cuts in front of me when I leave the proper distance.
So - there we were driving in the left lane about 60 MPH in a 55 zone and suddenly a few cars ahead of me stopped FAST! The car in front of me stopped fast. I lucked out because I had the proper distance and reacted fast (no talking on the phone while driving for me!) I also stopped fast and missed the car in front of me by about 1/2 foot (if that). The car behind me, not so good. He hit me but luckily was far enough behind so it was more of a tap. I didn't even feel it in my crappy neck that feels every jerk and bump.
The car behind him and the next car didn't survive so well. They really hit hard. I continued to luck out because the car in front of me had started moving forward already and I moved up a bit when I was bumped so I only got the first light bump. When I got out of the car I saw I only had a couple barely viewable scratches that I won't even bother to take in or report. Unless something shows up in the next couple days.
I'm just glad I keep the distance! The 3rd & 4th cars have smashed in fronts and I'm guessing the backs of car 2&3 don't look too good.
But I still can't help thinking - what if I left work a few minutes earlier or later. I wouldn't have been in that lane at that time and would have driven home without anything happening.
Same thought about 20+ years ago. I was in a major car accident that ended up causing the crappy shoulder/neck that feels every bump and jerk. I drove home from work that day taking a route I never take through downtown Minneapolis. When my light turned green I started forward and was broadsided by a guy running the red light on the driver side of my little Horizon (if you don't remember those cars they were mini cars of the early 80s). My car was totaled. I was nearly totaled and have had to deal with the results of that decision to go that route ever since. What if I had taken my normal route home. No accident. No pain. I'd probably still be swimming and playing racquetball.
You just never know where all the little decisions in life will take you.
On a different topic -
My sister in law is a Fire Captain for LA County. As you watch all the coverage of the fires in north LA county - prayer for the firefighters and the people in harms way. They all need your good thoughts!