I drove to Portland Monday afternoon for a dentist appointment. The day was overcast. I was feeling pretty good because I had just used a little flex time to go for my 2-mile run along the Clackamas River. I was driving north on I-205; traffic was fairly light, and I was listening to a story on NPR.
Suddenly--brake lights ahead. I couldn't see much because there were cars ahead of me in all three lanes, but peeking between the cars, I could see other cars ahead of them, swerving different directions. I hit the brakes, and glanced in the mirror--the left lane was open, so I switched lanes in case I needed to head for the shoulder.
Just that fast, I hit the brakes again, glancing to my right, into the middle lane, where a little red pickup truck with a blow-out tire was stopped completely, in the middle lane of the freeway. Just past the little truck, I looked in my rearview mirror and saw a large semi-truck bearing down on the little truck, in the same lane, swerving. He missed the little truck.
I pulled off at the next exit and called 911. Then I went to the dentist. I was shaky for another hour or so.
What if... What if I hadn't slowed down? Changed lanes? What about the semi?
I thought again and again about the driver of that little truck, watching the other cars and semi-trucks bearing down on him, stuck there in the middle of the traffic, with nowhere to go. How helpless that must have felt! I wish I could have stayed and watched the rescue. As far as I know, the problem was taken care of without injury or worse. There wasn't anything about it on the news, and the traffic was fine when I drove home an hour later.
Later in the week, lying awake one night in the middle of the night, I thought about what didn't happen that day. What could have happened. And I didn't even mind that I was having trouble sleeping. I was just grateful to be lying there alive, breathing.
(If you'd like to read more about just how good and healthy I'm feeling lately, hop on over to The Skinny for my latest post.)