— CN: DEATH AND MORTALITY —
What is it with all these rogue vehicles?
A runaway car, or a similar attack out of nowhere, could strike anyone, anywhere. It could hit me, or you, or anyone, walking down the street on our way to work, to school, to a party or to the corner café. It could hit us when we’re alone or with people, drunk or sober, happy or sad, focused or lost in thought, in an unfamiliar neighbourhood or a block from home. It could be Islamic State or someone who calls themselves Islamic State. It could be neo-Nazis. It could be a single profoundly twisted nihilist trying to destroy themselves and take as many people and things along with them as possible. It could not be an attack at all, but rather a confused person who rammed on the accelerator instead of the brake. It could be exploding oil drums which send a ball of fire roiling into a nightclub– remember Lac-Mégantic? It could be a fucking falling tree. Or a tsunami– remember that?
After last year’s Berlin Christmas market attacks, the mayor of that city said it was “impossible to reduce the risk [of such attacks] to zero.” Of course it is. When London mayor Sadiq Khan told people that terror attacks were “part and parcel of living in a big city,” he meant exactly that — Despite the fact that thousands of people put an immense effort into securing public places, le risque zéro n’existe pas. En plus, il n’a jamais existé!
Life is dangerous. Is it more dangerous than it used to be? Maybe, maybe not…maybe we in the First World have just traded death from infectious diseases or dangerous working conditions in for death by rogue van or cardiac arrest at the gym. Maybe life is more dangerous, or maybe it just feels that way. I don’t know.
My point is, we might feel more scared, but we shouldn’t stop living. Although the risk is there, we shouldn’t stop flying, or exploring new cities or countries, or visiting people we love, or trying new things. We need to keep living full, brave lives, not in spite of these risks, but because of them. If you were to get hit by a runaway car today, what would you regret? Not seeing the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon or the Forbidden City or a zebra in the wild or whatever landmark lights up your dreams? Not flying over the Atlantic at night? Not learning Spanish or basket-weaving or CPR? Not volunteering to tutor kids in need? Not going to the same karaoke night you go to every week with your friends, only this time saying “fuck it, sign me up” and slaying that Billy Joel song you’ve sung in the shower 75 times? Not spending your next day off experiencing your own city like a wide-eyed tourist? Not going to visit the introverted friend of yours who lives in the far suburbs? Of course, any one of these could get you hit by a car. It’s a risk. Bur how would you feel if you never did it? It would make the eventual end of your life that much sadder and more full of regrets. Better to have lived and lost than not to have lived at all, no?
Now I have to close this laptop and get out of this café. Too many bucket list items to check off.