Had two incidents in the last three days when I reacted with little thought and had it turn out pretty good. Both could have gone wrong.
The first was on Sunday in Portland. My wife and I were at the bottom of some steps addressing what we should do next and where we should go. I looked up over my left shoulder as some people came down the steps.
My eye was drawn to the closest woman. Wearing high platform heels, I could see that her right foot was coming down unevenly on the step and that she, not paying attention, was going to fall.
I turned and stepped up - or sort of stepped up. My left foot was up against a step and couldn't twist or go up. I caught her by her arms and shoulders as she pitched forward. A reflex, and she was okay, but my left knee and ankle ended up wrenched and sore. Walking is slow and painful today, with some swelling present.
It could have gone wrong. I might not have caught her cleanly, instead launching her into the railing or further down the stairs. I was lucky it worked out as it did.
The other incident could have ended up much worse. Driving south on I5 in heavy traffic at about sixty-five MPH, the cars in front of me suddenly braked hard. The truck in front of us nosedived with the effort and began slewing. As I heard my wife gasp loud, I slammed on the brakes.
We are not going to stop, I thought. Looking right, I saw a hole in the traffic and took it.
In the right lane were the remains of a blown tire and body work it had taken out. The incident apparently had happened not long before, for there, a short way up the exit ramp, was the damaged vehicle.
I steered through the wreckage without issue and my wife congratulated me on my driving. But I thought about all the what ifs that could have happened when I dove for the other lane. Good driving, hell, we were lucky.
Sometimes lucky can be good enough.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com