18 March 2007

Two Feet

I was almost killed yesterday.

That's a little dramatic. What really happened was a chunk of ice from Friday night's storm slid off a building on Lexington Avenue just as I was walking past, and missed me by only two feet. It was about the size of a basketball, one that was completely flattened by its landing. Thud.

Whenever I almost get hurt like this -- and maybe the ice wouldn't have killed me, just given me a very bad headache -- my immediate reaction is one of shaky relief. Then I think: Thank God I didn't die in such a dumb way.

I know, dead is dead, and none of us want to die any other way than in our sleep at a very old age. But the idea of dying in a way that's so completely random, so governed by just one step here or three seconds delay there, feels ridiculous. Wasteful. Ignominious. And yet, the opportunities for that kind of death in New York are infinite.

But despite the ice, I kept walking up Lexington, albeit further away from the building line. It was a nice day for a walk, and if I'd gotten on the bus you just know that would have been the day the driver couldn't brake in time to miss the taxi turning in front of it. Bam.

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