Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Near Miss With A Fireball

It was just one year ago that  I FELT the heat of this car as it smashed into a fireball and flames shot past my own car windows to my right. Some part of my brain I'm not even wholly aware of had already heard the tires screeching as they hurtled toward me from behind, that part of my brain checked the rearview in a flash and saw that yes, that out-of-control car was aimed straight at me. And so in what couldn't have been more than a second or two, it assessed the entire situation almost totally without my conscious knowledge and took over and automatically veered my vehicle hard left into oncoming traffic (around 3am so thankfully the lane was empty)... and because my brain did this bit of automatic business, I survived, and I learned later, so did the drunk driver who very nearly killed me. 

It feels like a lot has happened since then and I can't believe this was just one year ago. That night was and remains a stark personal reminder that tomorrow is promised to no one. It doesn't matter how great or how grim things seem, who I've lost or what I've gained. This is it.  Now. Whatever "now" holds.

I write musicals. I love writing musicals. It took me a couple decades to give myself permission to do this-- I mean musicals are awesome and who the hell did I think I was? That was the useless conversation I frequently used to  have with myself over being allowed to do things I love. The very first time the seed was planted and I consciously quietly allowed myself to think, "Maybe I want to write musicals too" ("too" meaning me and Jonathan Larson, obviously)  was as a kid sitting in the front row of the Nederlander the week "Rent" opened on Broadway. I was one of the first-ever lottery winners and partway through act one, tears streamed down my face as I listened to the words "Forget regret or life is yours to miss."

Maybe the real gift of an exploding flaming car crash is that it wakes you up. It wakes you up to RIGHT NOW. Like it or not. And it keeps waking you up. It's uncomfortable, waking up. But thank God we get to do it every day.

So, maybe a baffling and terrifying leader who you just can't believe said the horrific things he's said about women, Muslims, Latinos, gay and trans people, people with disabilities  and so much more-- and so much worse-- and horrible things that everyone saw and heard for over a year-- the fact that ANYONE voted for this obviously hateful self-involved bully who the majority of us wouldn't and didn't choose is mind-numbing. But maybe this fiery car crash of a president is here to wake us up. He doesn't know that maybe that's his cosmic job. But there he is, doing it by being a complete and utter monster. Waking us up to the present,  to the gift of liberty and freedom and the inalienable rights that are as precious as the air we breathe, that maybe now after the fire shoots past our lives collectively, maybe those precious things are a little less invisible and intangible than before. And maybe we'll fight for them a little harder now and for the rest of our lives. Because now is what we've been handed-- car crashes and all.