The Cadillac Escalade in front of me is a mastodon. The shiny chocolate coat, swimming in sunlight and accented with a chrome collar, it moves with lumbering speed far ahead of me. I place enough distance between us that I cannot smell it, nor will I let it smell me. If it catches the wind, I might die in a tremendous rampage of rage and cell phone blight.
The aged brow, the fading eyelashes (there is a product for that…) and the waning virility, one learns to be afraid. Of? Everything. Listen to the media for the signs. As if life wasn’t difficult enough, with the raging Cadillac mastodons, we have to worry about age, gun control, terrorists, our water, our food, and even our schools. Beware of public transport and public toilets. The weary and quite extinct mastodon is replaced by mutated staph and Twinkie cakes. An immediate terror for a festering one. You may never look at a Twinkie the same way again.
It was that awesome feeling of impending doom that was so unshakeable. When they tell you as a teenager that you feel immortal, you never really believe it. You think that they are crazy, or how could they feel any different from you do now. Little do they know that now, I am them, with that same sort of odd feeling that I am going to die someday. Instead of a saber-tooth tiger, it could just be the raging idiocy of some Fiat driver, hell-bent on making his way to the exit before me. If you think about it, sometimes it’s extremely hard to stay alive.
Which leads me to think about the people who have a life far more difficult than my own. I am blessed with intelligence, a modicum of wisdom, good skin, a good job with people who have integrity, friends that I adore, a fabulous husband, an actual “profession.” In short, I have a great deal for which I am thankful. It makes it all the more difficult to look beyond my own security to the people who struggle day-to-day, with work, car, food, spouses, family. It’s easy to say that one makes it or loses it of their own choosing. What is fate anyway? Still, being conscious, I hope that I pay attention to the benefit of the riches in my life.
And yet, I do think of what happens if I lose it all. Perhaps that is the gift of age – the ability to see beyond oneself into the greater beyond. The world does not circle around me any longer – that it ever did was of my own design. No, it’s the moment when I realize that it could all be gone – in a single heartbeat, the flash of a thunderbolt, or yes, the side-swipe of a raging Cadillac Escalade, bearing down in my rear view mirror. Life is short. Too short when you’re older, and far too long when you are young. In this moment, I hope to savor it all. Time to grab a spear and guard against the mastodons. And tar pits. And wrinkles. To battle!