Friday, January 07, 2005

Close call

While driving back to the house last night, I was startled out of my evening reverie by the increasing-volume barking of an incredibly agitated dog. In the left lane of a major four-lane road, a beagle-like dog suddenly materialized out of the darkness and ran straight at me.

I did the usual panic thing: brake, swerve into the other lane, control the inevitable skid and bring the vehicle to a safe stop. Not easy to do when the roads are mushy-snowy and your heart jumps into your stomach and you can feel it pounding in your ears.

Thankfully, the only cars near me were far enough back that I didn't hit them. I pulled over and looked back to see where the poor pooch was. He was sprinting in a straight line and was well over a block away - and disappearing fast - by the time I got out of the car. There was no way I or anyone else was going to catch him.

I drove home with a heavy heart. Glad I hadn't hit him, and glad I didn't damage anyone else, or myself, in the process. But I worried about whether he (she?) made it safely back to his owner. I worried about a family somewhere wondering where their pet had gone. I hugged our own now-geriatric cat, Shadow, and took comfort that we had him for at least another day.


Rachel - Wicked Ink said...

Whew... After more than a few close calls driving in the winter, I admit to being a bit of a wuss. I will avoid it as much as possible.

I am glad you posted the road trip and the family pictures. Dahlia is gorgeous, you might just want to become a member of the NRA soon! And Noah sure looks like you! And I was envious of your wife, I wanted to be somewhere warm, in a t-shirt with the sun warming me... glad you had a lovely vacation!

Mellie Helen said...

Poor pup. Whenever I have seen pets trotting around on the freeway, I've always wondered how they got there. Glad you employed your safe driving skills and lived to tell the tale.

Carmi said...

Rachel: Thanks! I've often joked about how I'll soon need a shotgun, and I'll need to keep it handy until she's 30. That's when I'll allow her to start dating. I kid, of course, but I often worry about how the world perceives a child who's so beautiful. I know I'm biased, but she really is captivating. Her brothers are, alas, also heartbreakers. Oh man, the future we're gonna have!

Carmi said...

Mellie Helen: I'm often criticized for daring to observe the speed limit and drive like a paranoid individual. I was in a fairly major car accident as a child. I was lucky enough to walk away relatively unscathed, but I shouldn't have. It marked me in a very profound manner: I have a massive respect for the power of momentum. I was at the speed limit when this happened. 60 km/h, or about 38 miles/hour. I was right on the ragged edge of control when I swerved on the wet/almost-icy road. Any faster and I would have wrapped the car around a pole.

That difference between disaster and simply telling a close-call story is unbelievably small. And it always originates in a conscious decision to drive like you mean it.