Thursday, November 08, 2007


I checked both directions of traffic before attempting a turn out onto the busy 5-lane street. After waiting for the green and yellow metro bus to continue on its way so I could see into the oncoming traffic, I pulled out into the turn lane, glancing in my rearview mirror. Close, too close, on my tail was a beautiful red convertible. It had come out of nowhere - it must have been flying. The top of the car was down and the day was perfect for it- sunny, in the 50's, which is unbelievably warm for early November here. What a life the older gentleman behind the wheel must lead, I thought.

He was balding, if not completely bald, and looked like the sort of man I wouldn't take great pleasure in interacting with. Frankly, he looked grumpy as I watched him through the tiny window. He probably had good reason to be grumpy, as there was a tube exiting his nostrils and connecting his lungs with a machine nearby. How sad, I thought.

As I continued to observe, he pulled a cigarette out of his pocket, lit up, and inhaled deeply. Surprised and grieved, I realized that the machine was a direct result of this man's habit, or perhaps habits, plural. I had a sudden image of him 30 years ago, young, a hotshot with a stylish cigarette hanging from his lips, with no idea how it would ravage his body in later years. It was a startling reminder of how our choices today, even those made lightheartedly, so directly affect our future.

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