I was driving home tonight, thinking about writing this post. Somehow, I dozed off--doing eighty miles per hour--and was jolted awake by the rumble strip on the highway. In the beams of my headlamps, I saw the hard shoulder, and the median strip.
As the left front tyre left the asphalt, I used my left foot to brake and fed in a right turn. Simultaneously, I jerked the shift lever to the left, engaging the manual shift mode, and quickly downshifted, revving the engine and using the deceleration to regain control.
Too much input into the steering, and the Swedish Ford turned across the highway, tyres squealing, and started careering toward the slow speed lane.
More throttle, down another gear, and some left steering. The car fishtailed; and, in short order, was once more headed in the right direction.
The cars behind me seemed not to miss a beat, and I settled back into my proper lane, with my heart beating a little faster and my head a little clearer.
So, as we end this Thanksgiving Day, I note some of the things for which I am thankful:
Children. All children. Sweet, innocent, and our hope for the future. That children are abused, or hungry, or scared is a great tragedy, and The Lifeguard believes that it is the duty of all men and women to protect them, to respect them.
My parents, who are both deceased, and who taught me the importance of love, of laughter, and of hard work. I miss them both, and I am often saddened by the pain and disappointment that I most certainly caused them over the course of my life.
My friends--both new and old--who have stuck by me (and always will). My oldest (or longest-tenured) friend, M, is one of the finest people that I have ever known. One of my newer friends, J, was a rock to cling to when things were bad. S is a really new friend, and truly special. Then, there are the As, Bs, Ps, the Ls, and an R or two.
Sure, I know that all of this is a little maudlin for The Lifeguard; but, there is something about careering out of control that makes you slow down, focus, and reassess your direction.
Oh, and for the record, The Lifeguard 1, turkey 0.