Earlier today my mother and I joked that she would have to raise her grandkids because according to a Chinese midwifes’ tale people who have small ears die young. But despite all the joking we didn’t think that death could come knocking so quickly.
Yesterday, powered by a crazy night out I hammered a weight workout before hitting the Waterfront trail with my roommate for a brisk 16.5-17k run. With yesterday’s mileage in the legs, a slightly sore ankle, and dinner waiting I made the decision to cut the run short. Having forgotten the compression socks at my downtown apartment I was clad merely in shorts, a long sleeve, and a bright yellow tshirt from my first ever Sporting Life 10k. Slightly sweaty but not cool yet despite the near zero temperature I waited patiently for the light to change before crossing, even before crossing I turned my head to the left just to double check. The only car nearby was one that was quite far down the road, probably at least equal distance to the next closest intersection, yet before I made it to the end of the 2nd lane going north that car was whizzing by me in the left hand lane.
The car had intentionally run a red. Missing me by probably a foot at the most.
In shock, system one, with the pre-determined safety mindset pathway turned on, propelled me to cross the intersection to avoid any other moving vehicles. When I reached safety I turned my head in confusion and disbelief – maybe I had misjudged colours of the light? Nope, the crossing countdown was still in the teens.
Those of you that have run with me know that I am an extremely cautious runner who will not jaywalk on the matter of principle. Even on the Martin Goodman trail we must stop at every single red light to the disapproval and dismay of the judgmental law-breaking cyclists. I never wear headphones when running and when darkness hits I am 100% wearing obnoxiously bright orange or yellow shirts, usually accompanied by neon pink compression socks. The truth is sometimes even if you are as careful as can be the unexpected bad thing will occur.
The car that had run the red was going at least 80 in a 60 zone.
When a car clipped my foot last year I was able to commit his license plate to memory, I knew the make and model of the car that brushed me at Front and York a few years ago, and the colour and brand of another careless daytime Yorkville driver. But I have no idea what the colour, make, model or brand is of this vehicle that was moving fast enough to kill; not merely injure.
When instances like this occur I am re-amped to think about what the value of a human life is, how to enforce avoidance and in this particular incident, if the undesirable happens how can I be prepared. It may be unfashionable, morbid, and culturally inappropriate to touch upon this subject at such a young age but the reality is we are not invincible. In my early twenties, the value of my net worth may be considerably miniscule but that doesn’t mean I can’t sort the affairs. The truth is, it makes me feel much better knowing that the leather skirt will be passed down to someone who will love it just as much. The book collection needs to land in the hands of the right reader and the donut pan needs to find a new baker. We may be young but it is never too early to set wireframes in place. From an intrinsic side, what type of person do I want to be remembered for? What legacy or mission do I want to leave behind? There are so many things I can set in motion now to help ensure the world that I leave behind is marginally positively impacted. The lengths of our lives cannot be determined by just ourselves so we need to make each day count.
***Running friends, please continue to be careful day in and day out.
***All, if you are able to help report details of cars running reds please help make a difference. As I was unable to see any details on the car the police is unable to do anything to get the menace off the road.