Lying on the side of the road as traffic passes you by is the loneliest feeling in the world according to Earl from New Brunswick after he wiped out his motorcycle on the way to a teaching gig in MuJa. “You’re cold and you have time to evaluate the events in your life that brought you to this place and time”, he said.
Earl lived two doors down from my townhouse, at the end of the alley, off a lane, deep in the heart of Banchaio. I told him about the place when it opened up. There had been a family of Taiwanese hillbillies living there and the place was a real wreck. Earl had been living in a one room illegal rooftop structure since arriving in Taipei. He was used to wrecks. His life was a wreck and he had come to terms with that.
As the rainwater and storm runoff slowly soaked into his clothing, and he lay there immobilized chastising himself for trying to get around a truck on a narrow bridge, Earl’s first thought was, “I’m not going to make it to class.” At least that’s what he told me.
I believe it. I’ve never been in that type of crash. But I was in others where you’re going along fine and then suddenly the side of a deliver truck is directly in front of you or that you are going along fine and suddenly you’re flying though the air.
In that case, my first thought was, “this is going to hurt”. My second thought was, “How did I end up flying through the air? Did I hit something? Did something hit me?”
After you land, (rolling is better than skidding), what’s interesting is that you try your very best to continue on your way. Most people are not like Earl. We aren’t really wired to take stock at pivotal times.