On the way home from work last night, around 10:30 or so, as I was walking from Ashby BART to my soon-to-be-former house in South Berkeley, I noticed several cop cars at the intersection of Ashby and Martin Luther King. My heart sunk to imagine what was happening; I thought the corner store might have been robbed or something. I noticed, as I got closer to the corner, that a man was lying on the ground in the crosswalk, getting some attention from the police. The paramedics and fire engine showed up just as I walked up to the corner.
I asked some bystanders what was going on, and someone told me that the guy lying on the ground had been hit by a car, which then sped off. Apparently, when he was hit, he went flying, and the prognosis was not good.
As I walked away, after chatting somberly for a minute, several thoughts came immediately to mind. I realized that it could have been me—in the crosswalk or behind the wheel—and felt a surge of conviction that selling my car right now is the right thing to do for a thousand reasons. (I got an offer on it Tuesday night—the guy who’s buying it is basically the perfect person to buy it. He doesn’t mind that it’s a little scratched up and he offered me a fair price. We’re just waiting for the appointment with a particular mechanic to seal the deal.) Yes, I finally took the advice of “Divorce Your Car” (see previous entry) after living “car-lite” for the last 10 months. I am genuinely glad to be cutting my contribution to air and water pollution. I won’t be supporting the oil and auto industries anymore. I’ll get a lot more exercise walking and biking. And I’ll be forced by necessity to plan ahead a little bit more.
I also realized that I need to be incredibly thankful for how good my life actually is. I’m not lying on the ground, broken, after being hit by a car. I have friends and family all over the country. I have personal assets too numerous to list here, and, doggone it, people like me. I have a job at an organization that is doing work I believe in (and just learned yesterday that I’ll be redesigning CLCV’s website, which I’m pretty excited about [though I have to finish NARRP first]). I’m moving to a nice neighborhood with roommates I like into a really cool house which is only 2 miles from work. After the sale of my car, I will be totally out of debt and will have enough left to buy a new bike, a digital camera, and a CD burner and put a bit of money into savings.
Life is incredibly hectic now, but I think things are going to get a lot better soon. I have a sense of perspective I didn’t before last night. I need to make sure to keep it, which is always difficult.
I really wish I had a camera now (my old one broke, inexplicably, the first week I moved out here). I keep seeing the weirdest things on the streets of Berkeley (a ripe strawberry, a bottle of Yoohoo with a straw sticking out of it) that I’d like to document. I just miss taking pictures.