today at work a colleague fell down the stairs. granted it was only about five stairs, but the landing is concrete. she was going down the stairs as we all do, heard someone call her name from the top, turned to look up the stairs, lost her footing, grabbed for the handrail, missed, and fell.
in a matter of seconds, forget about driving yourself home, forget about going out with the gang after work, forget about that meeting you were headed to, forget about getting up off the floor. forget about your laundry, your friend's birthday, your oil change, your work assignment, your overdue library book, your lunch, your plans, your dignity. forget about all that and replace it all with the fact that you are lying on the floor, taking inventory of your breathing, trying to move your toes. and wondering what just happened. your entire focus is narrowed down to survival.
on the way to the gym after work, we were nearly caught in vehicle crossfire. a motorcyclist avoiding a sideswipe from another pickup came within a hair's breadth of our tailgate. he pulled his ineffectual motorcycle horn then skillfully dodged between the truck beds - ours standing still in the turn lane, the other moving towards him from traffic. it happened in a flash, and not exactly "like nothing happened" but we all went on with our day, with our plans, with our going places we needed to go and doing things we needed to do.
one day completely changed. one day completely unchanged. why did my colleague get the short end of the stick? she's not a bad person, so why did something bad happen to her? maybe she was destined for something worse, and the fall was part of a plan that saved her from that, so what seems bad isn't actually bad... if you had access to this context. maybe it's a punishment for some hidden sin. or, unhidden - hell, i don't know her that well. maybe it's karma. maybe it's dumb luck. maybe it's part of a giant clockwork and some people are destined to get jammed in the cogs. maybe it's completely random.