I was driving home from the airport at around 9pm recently, after being out of town. On the main highway from the airport I saw an array of red tail lights – cars that had come to a halt. A traffic jam at 9pm at night? Come on. I was looking forward to getting home as rapidly as possible. I quickly got that feeling that this was bad. Really bad. Enough time in traffic gives one a 6th sense about these things. As I approached, I saw some sort of steam rising. The incident had happened across the middle two of the four lanes, and the cars were edging around the sides of it. The steam turned out to be a fireman hosing down a motorcycle. The bike was smashed to oblivion. No sign of the bike rider, but I didn’t need to see a body to know that he or she was dead.
I had that sobering moment you sometimes get when passing scenes like this, where you know the other drivers around you are feeling the exact same emotion. A sort of sickness in your stomach and a horrible, dark gratitude that it wasn’t you. Not yet, anyway.
As I drove away from the scene I couldn’t shake it from my mind. Later that night some loved one was going to be getting a phone call or a knock at the door which would change their life. Some poor soul out there that didn’t know what was coming. One life lying dead on a highway and another soon to be devastated.
Life is a fragile little bird in your hands. Seemingly secure. Easily lost. The R24 West at 9pm that night reminded me of this.