On my way into the office today my car spun out of control on a curve. It was strange — the road was wet, but it wasn’t raining, and I was moving at less than 20 mph. Nonetheless, my little purple car effortlessly performed a few slow pirouettes around the arc of the road.
As I was watching the world circle around me, my thoughts were surprisingly calm. I assumed that I would momentarily feel the impact of the cars behind me destroying my car; this only concerned me insofar as I was fairly confident I wouldn’t be able to replace it. Then I felt a bit of peace, and understood that it didn’t actually matter to me if I was killed; at least that outcome would cut the Gordian Knot of my current health problems. But then I realized that the drivers behind me might be injured, and while my life is my own business, I had no right to put my sense of peace ahead of their health.
So I turned the wheel into the spin, as I was taught those many years ago, and guided my automotive ballerina into the grass beside the road. The following cars, to my surprise, waited before continuing on their way, giving me the opportunity to turn the car around to right way and get back on the road. The first driver kindly put her window down and asked if I was okay, only moving on after I gave her my assurances that I was.
I drove the remaining mile or so into the office. When I arrived, I noticed that the left front tire had gone flat. Perhaps that was the cause of the spin, or perhaps it was a result. As with many accidents — as with much of life —teasing apart the strands of cause and effect can be challenging.