In college, my professor told the class that her husband regularly misses his coffee mug when pouring milk into the cup, resulting in milk spillage all over the kitchen counter. “Depth perception”, she said. “He doesn’t have any.” I perked up when I heard this. It all came together now: the cutting corners too close, the parking problems, the unfortunate incident between my car and a concrete pole. Depth perception–I don’t have it either. I thought I was a victim to some undiagnosed medical condition, until she informed us that her husband is blind in one eye. He lives a life of near misses.
I saw two near misses and one full-on accident on the way to and from lunch today. For once, none of them involved me. I pulled into the Panera parking lot, and watched, stunned, as a big, black SUV reversed directly into the small car parked behind it. I swear, the driver never bothered to look back as she plowed right into the car. The car’s owner stood near the trunk, and as soon as she saw the SUV reverse, she moved out of harms way, but stood beside the car yelling, waving her hands in vain. The whole scene played out in slow motion, and I watched the SUV smack right into the car while the owner still shouted “STOP! STOP MOVING!” After seeing the damage, she threw her hands in the air and grabbed her head in defeat. Had the driver looked back, even for one split second, she could have avoided the accident entirely. Maybe not the heart thumping or the screaming, but definitely the impact.
I have stood on the edge of decisions at times and wondered at my lack of foresight, my complete inability to see the depth of the issue at hand. I’ve stood one-eye blind and peered over the precipice, dangled a foot, or a finger into the shifting wind, and wondered what it would look like on impact. Near misses, tell me you have them too? A friend recently told me she looked that abyss full in the face, she saw the sheer drop, and tasted a small drop of the aftermath. Then she pulled up short and slammed on the brakes. One heart thumping near miss, far less damage than full-on impact.
Have you had any near misses in life? Either for good or for bad?