You know how when people are telling you to enjoy your life and tell people you love them because one day you could just be hit by a bus?
I actually, literally, almost got hit by a bus yesterday.
I almost got killed by a bus.
I was walking to a bank that's on a very busy street. I stopped at the corner, waited for the crosswalk light to change from the red hand to the white walker (the crosswalk sign, not to be confused with the Game of Thrones monsters). The traffic seemed normal, everyone stopped when they should have at the red light, the cars going my way started to go ... and then a fucking bus ran the red light. And I didn't notice.
There was a man standing next to me, ready to cross as well and he literally saved my life, pulled me back out of the path of the bus, saying WHOA STOP LOOK OUT. I was on a mission to get to the bank across the street and did not even clue in until the bus zoomed by, literally missing me by inches. I would have stepped out right in front of it. The driver didn't see me at all and he was going fast.
I looked at the man and said something idiotic like "uhhh whoa, thank you". Then I thought about it as we began crossing the street, that he saved my fucking life.
"Thank you so much!" I said.
"Bus drivers can be idiots, that fucking idiot!" he said back.
"Y...seriously thank you so much." I said again.
He looked at me, appraising my mental well-being I assume, and then said "okay have a nice day" and walked away.
I did my banking normally, a little shaky, and suddenly, afterwards, was overwhelmed with terror and emotion.
And with that, of course, came an insane panic attack.
I half speed-walked, half ran back to the tattoo shop, totally sobbing and gasping for air and trying to hide it, wiping away the tears, because people were noticing. The homeless man in the wheelchair didn't even ask me for any change for the first time ever. A couple little kids were trying to say hi to me at a street corner and I had to turn my face away from them because I didn't want to scare them with my crying.
I got back to the shop, practically ran into the back and I don't even remember what I said to poor Caroline, who was finishing up a little drawing for a quick end-of-day walk-in. I said something about almost dying and nearly getting hit by a bus and I can't breathe and holy shit fuck it was so close...
She jumped up from where she was sitting and the first question she asked was "Did it touch you? Did you get hit?" which is such a good question to ask, I think, if somebody is in shock like that. I said no but I am having a panic attack and she told me to go out to the back yard and calm down, she kept telling me I am alright, I'm safe now.
I'm so glad she was there, seriously.
I went into the backyard and was completely hyperventilating, couldn't stop for a long time, just crying and my hands got all tingly and my vision blurry and I put my head between my knees so I wouldn't pass out. All this time I was also totally embarrassed to be seen this way by all these strangers.
When I had it a bit more under control I went into the bathroom and cooled my face off with cold water and wet paper towels, and then went to my bag and got an ativan. Stuck it under my tongue and sat on the toilet seat crying until I felt it kick in.
The rest of the night I felt really weird. Firstly because ativan gets me grossly high in an uncomfortable way, where I'm drowsy and foggy in the head. But also because seriously, have you ever come so close to literally being hit by a bus? It brings up a lot of feelings.
The thing I wanted to say about it is it wasn't a big moment. I feel like in movies there's this dramatic slowing down of time, the guy who saves the girl yells "LOOK OUT!" and there's screeching of tires and the entire sidewalk of people is there going "are you okay?" and she swoons and there's like, an ambulance there and someone is holding her hand.
Or it shows her life flashing before her eyes, all the time in the world to think about loved ones.
No. The guy did tell me to "look out" but nobody noticed. There is a patio that was absolutely filled with people eating and drinking only a sidewalk's breadth away from where it happened and not a person looked up from their mimosa.
There was no dramatic tire screeching.
I didn't have any romantic thoughts about my life or amazing revelations about the way I'm living.
I did almost get my fucking skull caved in, in that small moment. I would have been gone in a flash, I wouldn't have even known it. And I guess that's what scared me so much. The smallness of the moment that would have ended me.
You know that life is out of your control. You know it. I know it. Like people say "you could get hit by a bus tomorrow" ... well. You could. And you wouldn't even know it.
The last thing I would have said to Ryan was on Facebook, telling him to stop reposting things from a music festival. My blog would have ended with that list of housework I hate doing and a post about working a lot. The dog I worry so much about would have lived longer than me, wondering why that nice lady isn't around to scratch his butt anymore.
As human beings we tend to believe we are so special, we are here for a reason, our last moments will be epic or dramatic or somehow romantic. Our loving husbands will be clutching our hands at our bedsides, maybe. Or we can just fall asleep and never wake up. Maybe you dive in front of a bullet meant to kill the president.
You don't imagine yourself on a third page story of a newspaper, quickly forgotten by all. You don't imagine yourself as a story a traumatized rich lady is telling her therapist, making it about herself and the time she was eating a salad and a girl was hit by a bus right in front of her. You don't imagine people gawking at your mangled corpse, reporters filming your own blood running in the gutters for the six'o'clock news.
I wish I could say I was changed miraculously by this but I'm not suddenly inspired to change my life or live for today any more than I was yesterday morning.
Nothing happened and I am fine. But at the same time everything happened. It could have been the end. I could be gone. I, me, this person, could just ... not exist any more.
It's a lot to wrap my brain around.