Friday, May 24, 2013

Niner-Niner Nine One One

I grew up chasing ambulances and other emergency personnel in speeding vehicles. My dad loved a good 911 chase. Code 3: lights and sirens. Nothing less.

(this was an accident waiting to happen... but it didn't and honestly, it has nothing to do with this post) 

As soon as we'd roll up on the scene -be it an accident, a fire, a drug bust (yep, those happen in Small Town, California)- my stomach would do excited flip flops and we'd all jockey for a turn facing the accident. Sometimes we'd hop out of the car and casually stroll around the block. Sure, we were in our pajamas with no shoes on, who cares?

We were a dedicated breed of rubber-neckers who'd seek out a good emergency and stare to our heart's and eyes' content. We'd make up good stories about how the new not-yet-painted house in the neighborhood went up in flames on Christmas Eve (seriously, it was insurance fraud), why there were a dozen police cars combing the apartment complex a half a mile from the house, and how that car ended up underneath that truck that's side was crushed by that other car. Sometimes our stories were better than the truth. Other times, the truth won.

But in those emergency vehicle chasing moments, I learned how to love some adventure. I learned how to tell a good tale. I learned life is fragile, gentle, and crazy. In those flipped cars, those burning houses, those eight people in cuffs, I learned that it takes just a moment to turn your world on its head.

When the emergency vehicles rolled up on our house last August, I knew those 911-chasing lessons were now my reality. A new perspective to life that held a before and after punctuated by some flashing blue and reds. Before things went how I wanted. Life was that All-American family picture. Insert emergency flashing bar here. And the after, where life does whatever the hell it wants and I'm standing hand in hand with my family as the dust settles.

Embrace the adventure friends. Love it and be sure it makes a good tale. Because what's life without a good story. And when life turns your world on its head. Hold on for dear life. Not to your things, but to your people (and your pup). Because when it does come time to head on home to Him, no car, no clothes, no nothing gets to go with you.

I write this as the freeway outside work is at a dead stop. There's all kinds of sirens flying by on the shoulder. Google Traffic says the scene is just a block or two down the street on the freeway. Maybe I should make a pass -or four. You know, for old time's sake.

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