Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

I scared myself.

Briefly, but I scared myself.

I got tired on the road yesterday. As in "eyes briefly closed" tired. Bad to do at 70 miles an hour. Thank goodness I knew to do something about it. Took the next exit, which had a Taco Bell. Had a caffeinated drink (plus some food, including a Volcano Taco, because hey, I actually like that).

I've known to be careful when driving. In the late 90s when I drove a few times a year between Portland and Hermiston, OR -- my job and my apartment was in Hermiston, family and big-city things I wanted to do were in Portland -- I got into the habit of pausing on the road. Pull off at an interchange, find a spot, stop, rest for a bit. At a dedicated rest stop, a parking lot, a quiet stretch of side road, whatever is safe: the point is to take a break from making thousands of pounds of vehicle move. This habit really helped one particular late-night drive in mid-2001. I needed to drive in the middle of the night from Seattle to Portland, and with usual levels of traffic -- or at the relatively low level of traffic for the middle of the night -- that's three-and-a-half hours on the road. I added an extra hour to that. I needed that hour. Thank everything I could spare that hour.

And thank everything that yesterday I didn't get hung up on thinking I'm on a work errand, I need to get back to the office: no, I saw a problem, saw a way to address it, did it, and felt more ready to tackle the rest of the drive. It was a moment when I wasn't worried about the schedule, beyond thinking people in the office might say "We were going to send out a search party for you!" or something. (Good thing I was more rested, because traffic right near Portland got to be maddening and I had to be more on my toes.)

I don't want to do anything like what's in the old joke "I want to die like my grandfather, peacefully, in his sleep, not screaming, like the people in his car."

Let's be careful out there.

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