April 30, 2009

Near Death, and Taxes...

So, a number of months ago, I was walking to work along Broadway - a fairly busy street - enjoying a crisp, sunny morning. As I approached a driveway, I glanced at an SUV that looked like it was going to pull out in front of me to enter the street. I was sure the driver saw me approaching, and would wait for me to pass. As I crossed in front of the SUV, it started nudging out into the road, and I found myself leaning over the hood, with my feet sliding along the asphalt.I skated like this for a foot or two, hitting the hood with my hand, and immediately, the driver snapped her head to me, and a look of horror crossed her face. Obviously, she hadn't noticed me at all! I must have crossed in front of her hood just as she was checking for oncoming traffic from the opposite direction.

She slammed on the brakes, and I took a breath, stepped past, and waved her off as if to say "don't worry about it". I was adrenalized but otherwise completely unharmed, and wanted to get along to work as quickly as possible. I figured from the woman's facial expression that she might never drive again, and I decided never to assume anything about motorists.

Flash forward to last week: my wife and I were at our local H&R Block to have our taxes done. We were looking forward to seeing the same lovely lady who has prepared our returns for us for the past few years. Sure enough, she was there, and we greeted each other happily, and sat down in front of her desk.

Then she took a second look at me and started saying "Oh my god! It was you! Oh my god!"

I started to realize what she meant: She had been the driver of that SUV that had very slowly run into me! She said that she was so sorry, and that she really didn't want to lose me as a customer - especially not like that! I replied with something cute about how death and taxes always seem to be related to each other.

I saw her again just this morning at her driveway. She was pulling out and I was almost walking past. There was an obvious need to keep our eyes out for each other now, with this little scary moment in our past. She greeted me with a huge, warm smile and enthusiastic "Hello!" and held her hand out of the driver's side window for a handshake, which I happily returned. I said "I saw you!" and she said "You too!" I told her that it was always nice running into her.

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