It starts when you are born, however that happens for you.
I call my mom every year and thank her for going to the trouble. I was a bit of trouble, something about insisting on being face up..
They call babies born face up "star gazers" and I hear that they tend to be relentlessly optimistic. Pushy, even.
At some time after 4pm today, Chuck & I transferred off the Red Line to the Yellow line, coming back from a really fun tour of another part of the Washington Zoo in DC. It takes several trips to get through everything, and public transportation is the best option as parking costs something like $14 an hour. We love the Metro, and we hate driving in DC. The sheer bulk of population creates behavioural pressures of time and space, incompatible with the lack of training the population has received, and the ability of the law enforcement to function. Of course, if people wanted to intrinsically do the right thing and help everyone get along to to go along, that would make a different world, wouldn't it.
So we got off the Red Line at about 4:15, hooked up with the Yellow and got back into Alexandria, where I had to pick up my favorite shoes from my buddy Cosper's office. I had stayed with him during the training.. he's a great friend, and everyone running a seminar needs some support. His son is crazy about Chuck (they can talk military tech & history to a level the rest of us simply cannot comprehend) Cosper & Chuck & I pun and talk shop, and we all have so much fun hanging out.
Chuck & I don't think anything of riding the Metro, we are both used to the German public transport, which is as close to perfect as such things get. I was late to class because of it exactly once in 5 years of use. I had to hop around a little sometimes, but it always worked out.
Two Red Line trains collided at about 5pm today, June 22, and at least six people have died so far.
Tomorrow is my 41st birthday.
It happened once before, that for my birthday, I got another birthday.
It was my 30th, and we had spent the day training with our backyard kenjutsu study group, beating the hell out of each other and then going to the Vietnamese restaurant, icing our bruises with jasmine green tea-flavoured chips & talking about everything.. I'll never stop trying to rebuild those times, somehow. I have it in many ways, times & places, it's just the reliability and frequency I'm working on.
Can't do the beating the hell out part so much any more.. not for my part anyway.
Not that I don't have any hell left, just short on intact ligaments.
It was my 30th birthday, and I was blissed out from great training and driving us back home down 969 like I had every Sunday for the last 4 years.
A car swerved into the wrong/oncoming lane, and I heard my sensei Jim P's voice in my head, GET OFF THE LINE and I did, into the other lane, as the car spewed turf onto the side of my car, and dove into the ditch on the other side. My ex had been napping.. didn't notice anything, and didn't know why I pulled over to check on the other guy, who had run off the road and ended up in the ditch.
Thankfully, the other guy was coming out of the car, scared mostly of having to tell his mom he had driven her car into a ditch. A stray EMT had stopped to check on him, and everything was OK, when it could have been very, very not.. if not for my teacher's voice in my head, and the steadying influence of my training.
Today was luck, just luck. We got off the train less than an hour before it rammed the other one.
When something that big happens, you're just fucked.
Thank you, to fate and circumstance, for waking me up to the fact that every single second is a gift. That my situation is the greatest stroke of luck since the first amphibian got hungry enough to venture out of the water.
Happy my birthday, friends.
If you don't celebrate your birthday, if you don't pull out all the stops and live life to the fullest, you must not love being alive.
I get it.
It's beautiful, transient, and exciting.
It's not easy, because we are built for challenge.
I'm happy to be here.