I ran over a squirrel last week and felt really bad. I’m pretty good at dodging things and split second collision avoidance but there was nothing I could do that time that wouldn’t have caused worse problems. It ran right out in front of my car at the last second.
So I have been making a conscious effort to be in the moment when I am out and about in the world, thanks to Isabella Man’s efforts to jolt me into reality last time I was in Toronto.
In the morning I do a fresh bread & bagel run, ideally before the cafe opens but you know how it is. Then I grab a coffee, maybe something to eat, catch up with Sarah on the cafe, the neighbourhood, the next big project. While we chat I make a grocery list, pick up my trusty pal Stella and head out to do the daily errands, and, if we’re lucky, squeeze in a walk at the water before Sarah leaves.
This morning I had to forgo my big water walk with the pooch as the Fire Inspector was coming at 9:30 about the liquor license so I had to shop quick and get back. I parked out front to unload my groceries and then had to drive around a rather large block to park in the lot on the other side of the cafe. (All this play-by-play is by way of proof to you that I was indeed alert and engaged with my environment when it happened.)
So there I am, waiting to turn right off King and onto Sherman and a small girl and her not much older brother are dawdling along. I’m guessing they are late for school and the girl appears to have it together but the boy is playing with a ball and walking in a “two steps forward one step backward” kind of jerky way, occasionally darting left or right as the ball gets out of control. I notice it is mostly out of control. Then I drive around the block.
As I am coming back along King St from Barnesdale, I spy the same two kids, and it is thanks to Isabella Man that I am alert and in the moment. It is thanks to the dawdlers themselves that I had had the time to observe them on the first pass and to take note of the boy’s erratic behaviour. And it is thanks to the dead squirrel and to my aforementioned skill at dodging split-second collisions that I was able to break/swerve when the boy’s ball bounced askew and he followed it right out into the high-speed, one-way, King Street traffic.
Maybe some things do happen for a reason.