Point of View: Pay Attention

"I’ll probably go out and get hit by a truck,”

We were positively giddy the other night, thinking that, at long last, we’d finally made it in tandem to Medicare.

“And now, freed from all care — just show your card, not worrying whether the doctors and anaesthesiologists are in-network or out-of-network — I’ll probably go out and get hit by a truck,” Mary said.

Whereupon, she went out and almost got hit by a truck. On our evening walk with O’en and his houseguest, Marley.

She was at the corner of Harbor View Drive and Delavan with O’en, and I was trailing not far behind, with Marley and a large flashlight, when a big truck swung way wide in making a left turn onto Harbor View, almost onto the shoulder, and, as I yelled, he or she came mighty close to Mary and O’en before swerving and straightening out. 

You never know. Mary seemed to take it more philosophically than I did. I got the three letters of the license plate as the driver  drove on down the road, slower than moments before, chastened, I hope. I’ll keep on the lookout for that truck.

I’ve been heedless too. It’s one of humankind’s worst traits. What was it Leander Arnold used to say to Georgie and Johnna and their Lassie League teammates? “Pay attention.” 

Pay attention. That about sums it up. 

The pity is, we don’t. Maybe for as many as five minutes in a day, as Peter Matthiessen once said. Maybe that. Mostly, we’re distracted, diverted, unaware, in our own worlds until the real one intervenes.

You would think that springtime, and the burgeoning life that is about now, would tend to sharpen our senses, would make us more keenly aware — in short, that we’d be paying attention, especially at this time of year, as Leander Arnold urged.

Now, I’ll probably go out and do some boneheaded thing. I hope not, but it may happen, which is why I don’t want to come across as being self-righteous. 

I hope I — and the driver of that truck — will remember that we’re all in this together. We ought, above all things, to keep that in mind.