I don’t get it. Car rides are joyous occasions. More often than not, the journey leads to exciting destinations. Not today.
Today I witnessed something terrible from my perch in the passenger seat. Today I witnessed death. There I was, safe and secure in my one of my happiest places, and there it was. I counted three mangled cars, and watched in horror as two people and a little person were carried away in beds with wheels. There was a Disney Princesses backpack in the road. Everything about the scene broke my little doggie heart.
As we pulled away, I listened as mom said a prayer for all those involved as well as their families. And we didn’t make it to the dog park. It took five times the normal amount of time to get there because of the accident (and no, it wasn’t just my perception of time moving at a snail’s pace) and mom had to get home to fix dinner.
I didn’t mind going home. I don’t recall ever seeing something like that before, and I was truthfully a little shook by it all. “It really puts things into perspective, doesn’t it Wiley?” mom said to me as she filled my bowl with kibble later. “Had I gotten home from work a few minutes sooner, that could have been us.”
It all reminded me of a line from a favorite flick of mine called Elizabethtown. “If it wasn’t this, it would be something else.” Talk about perspective. It’s so easy for me to think the world is coming to an end when I can’t remember where I “buried” Mrs. Prickles for the night. Or when mom comes home an hour or two later than usual. But really it’s not. Really it could be so much worse.
And it was worse – a lot worse – for that little person whose backpack I saw in the street. Mom followed the news of the crash and told dad the whole story over dinner. The little girl died. She will never wear her Disney Princesses backpack again. It makes me want to cry people tears just thinking about it.
Instead I will remember that if it wasn’t this, it would be something else. Mom was incredibly frustrated when she got home from that place called work later than usual. But I’m happy it happened. If it wasn’t this it would be something else. I could have been in a car crash today. A few minutes earlier and I would have been. And my mom would have been too. I shudder to think of what could have happened.
I realize now that it isn’t (always) the destinations that make car rides such a happy thing for me. I don’t even mind waiting patiently in the car while mom runs errands (which sounds exhausting to me anyway). My people are my world, and when they take me with them on people adventures I get the impression the feeling is mutual. Car rides are joyous for me because of who I’m with, not where I’m going. Today I’m grateful for this and nothing else.