One late summer afternoon after work, a motorist on northbound Interstate 15 swerved to the right to avoid something on the highway.
He overcorrected and after his car smashed into the center divide it caromed back to the right, spinning, and came to a stop on the opposite side. Somehow there were no other collisions. Motorists slowed, some pulled over and a 911 operator said they had an emergency crew en route.
Life went on.
Months later a man in a jalopy was exiting state Route 94 near Golden Hill. Something dropped from his undercarriage, a small piece of metal hurled at and over the vehicle directly behind it and seconds later the car furiously spun in circles until it finally came to rest at the side of an offramp, only partially impeding the movement of cars flowing by.
The driver emerged, apparently unharmed but stunned, and when a CHP patrolman arrived they discussed ways to get the vehicle out of the way.
And life went on.
Late last year a Chula Vista man was driving his work vehicle and then his heart stopped.
He crashed into several parked cars. When medical crews arrived they worked to resuscitate him because presumably his life had ended. But for others, such as motorists and witnesses and emergency crews and even that man’s family, their lives went on.
(Eventually so did that man’s as he was brought back to life.)
Experience and a little reflection tell you scenes like these occur every day. Statisticians can probably work out a formula to reveal with almost drone strike-like precision what the actual odds are that somewhere someone is playing a part in an automobile accident. Or dying.
What they can’t tell you is when. That great uncertainty looms whether we are awake or asleep, at work or at home — life altering moments seem to happen without much of a warning. And even as one life is changed, dozens — hundreds, thousands, millions — of others around it remain unphased and carry on as if nothing has happened.
January 1 is the begining of a new year. For many it is symbolic of new starts and opportunities. Of course, as those statisticians might tell you, the odds don’t pay attention to dates and timetables. Lives change all the time.
Two weeks into 2013 we’ve already seen a report of a shooting at a California high school, and at Superior Court the ongoing saga of the DA’s corruption probe into Southwestern College and Sweetwater Union High School District was continued until later this month.
For some, life has already changed irrevocably. For others it goes on unmolested.
Let’s hope that as the year progresses we all are able to savor the life-changing moments that don’t put us in a hospital, a grave or a courtroom.