This past Thursday started with a little bit of trauma. Everything is cool, nobody is hurt but I felt like this story was worth sharing.
I was running a little late Thursday morning and was just about to head out the door for work when I realized that my bike was not at the house. The previous day Danielle had picked me up from work so my bike was still at the office.
When I don’t have my bike I either drive our car, walk or take uber. Since I was already running late walking wasn’t ideal since it takes about 30 minutes. (It was also freaking hot!) Driving was an option but it costs $15 to park at the garage at work. Taking uber one way to work is only about $5 so uber it was.
When the driver arrived he was facing west bound on Bogard Street. When I got in the car I said “Dave?” and he said “Yes….Steve?” “Yes,” I said. For those unfamiliar with uber and the protocol, the driver and passenger are supposed to greet each other by name right away that way there isn’t the mistake of getting in the wrong vehicle. You have their name from the app.
Dave’s car was facing westbound on Bogard Street so I asked him to turn around so that we could head East towards St. Philip Street. He suggested that we take Rutledge however I insisted that we take St. Philip. I know my way to work son! So he turned around. (We would both regret that decision. Sorry Dave.)
As Dave travelled eastbound on Bogard Street we began to approach the Coming Street stop sign. In my head I was thinking, “I hope this guy knows that this is not a 4 way stop, because the people driving northbound on Coming Street fly.” I mean really fly. If you don’t know that you run the risk of being t-boned.
Thankfully he seemed to know the drill and slowed to a full stop at the stop sign. And that’s when it happened.
My head snapped forward as I heard a loud smash.
Dave let out a weird scream.
I could not believe it. I had a weird premonition about a car accident at this intersection and then an accident actually happened. Except it didn’t happen how I pictured it. Instead of getting T-boned from the cars on Coming Street we had been rear-ended from a car on Bogard. And it felt like we were hit pretty hard. And the force of the impact had nudged our car out into Coming Street. The street where cars fly.
So now we were right in the middle of fucking Coming Street!
Luckily the cars traveling northbound on Coming Street were several hundred yards away and had the opportunity to slow down. Dave was able to finish driving the car across the street and we pulled over on the side of Bogard. The guy that hit us also pulled across the street and pulled over.
“Are you all right?” – I said to Dave.
“Yeah, I’m ok. How about you?” – Dave said.
“Yes. I’m ok. – I said. "You sure you o.k.?"
"No..but yeah I'm o.k." - Dave said.
I knew what he meant. I felt the same. It was really loud, felt pretty hard and scared the shit out of us.
We had just been in an accident and Dave politely said, “I will complete your uber trip so that you can get a ride with another uber driver. So you are not late to work.” I said, “OK. Here is my card. Give my information to your insurance company.” I just thought that his commitment to customer service getting me to work was kind of funny.
We got out of the car and thankfully the other driver was o.k. I could tell he was shookin up even more so by the fact that the accident was clearly his fault.
He immediately apologized for not paying attention. He said he had a momentary lapse. I told him to not worry about it and that it was just good that everyone was o.k.
I then said goodbye and walked away.
In hindsight that was a bonehead thing to do. I should have stuck around. At least to help those guys out or it was probably the right protocol.
Truth is that I was a little jarred. I wasn’t really thinking right. And I left.
I finished walked down Bogard Street, hooked a right down St. Philip and began my descent to work. I would walk to work after all. I was going to be really late now and it was hot. But I didn’t feel like getting back in a car.
As soon as I began my walk to work, I immediately began to think, “Shit! That could have been much worse. What if the cars on Coming were closer? We were lucky. Very lucky.”
Usually if I am walking to work I will put in the earbuds and listen to a podcast or Pandora. On this walk, I felt like I needed all of my senses. When something like that happens you immediately become hyper aware of everything. Every intersection and every passing vehicle.
I wanted to be focused.
I wanted to be present.
The entire walk to my office I thought about this idea of being present. Had the dude behind us been present than the accident would have never happened.
Had I been a little more focused and present during my morning routine than I would have had plenty of time to walk to work. And would have never gotten in that uber.
I want to reiterate that I am ok and so are the drivers. In hindsight it was just a fender bender. But it scared me a bit. And it just made me think.
It made me think about how often I am not in the present.
Spending so much time thinking about past events or planning what to do next. Checking emails, social media...iPhone shit. Always the urge to photograph something rather than absorbing it with my eyes.
So often, I am not present. I hate that. Why is it so hard to just be in the present?
As you can probably tell at this point, this post has nothing to do with buildings or being an architect. This is just about being human. I felt like I just wanted to tell this story.
I have a favor to ask.
As you spend this holiday weekend with your friends and loved ones I ask that you take some time to be present. Even if it is just a little bit. Schedule it if you have to. Make it a family activity.