Today it’s Wednesday, Valentine’s Day, the day I’m writing this column, and it isn’t about the latest guns, or scopes, or reloading tools. The column I originally wrote for this Sunday will come later. In fact, this missive is about something that, for me, is incredibly hard to describe, either with words or with images. It is about loss.
First off this morning, the battery in my car was dead. My fault, last week I left an accessory on. Of course, I had a medical appointment that I now was probably going to be late for. This winter the roads seem to have been more treacherous than normal and the winds seem to be stronger and more common than I can remember. Today was no exception.
As I approached the city where the specialist I had the appointment with practices, I attempted to change lanes and pass a semi-truck. An unfortunate situation arose and to avoid an accident I had to make a sudden, but signaled lane change. Well, a fellow in the other lane evidently took offense at my attempt to avoid an accident and my unintentionally cutting him off. Rather than brake, he accelerated and nearly ran his car into mine, and mine into the semi. Then while we were stopped at a red light with his car behind mine, he offered me several one finger salutes and numerous, very foul invectives. I erred, but it was not intentional and having this foul-mouthed jerk tailgate my car on very icy roads for a couple of miles didn’t add to the already lousy start to my day.
I arrived at the doc’s office two minutes early only to find I was 3rd in line. My appointment was to last at most only 20 minutes. After waiting 45 minutes, I underwent the preliminary exam administered by the nurse and then after waiting another 20 minutes, the doctor came in, asked a few questions, and performed the necessary examination. Time at the clinic, nearly 1 ½ hours, time with the doctor, 4 minutes.
So now I was off to other business appointments and the completion of a 350 mile drive. About 2 PM, I decided that a quick stop at a fast-food restaurant was in order. After telling the clerk three times that I wanted a cheese burger with mustard and pickles, I received a hamburger with lettuce, tomato, no cheese, and some mystery sauce. So much for lunch.
While traveling to my destination, I heard on the radio, the news of another mass casualty shooting at a Florida school. My first reaction, like so many times in the past, was a sense, actually a feeling of numbness, then a sickening dread that tonight parents, far, far away, will suffer unimaginable and unending grief. Their children are gone; taken from them by an evil doer, and taken from them for reasons none of us can explain.
I now sit in a hotel room with only one light that works, a heater that sounds like a jet engine, and neighbors who I think are building a gazebo. It seems a fitting way to end a day that has brought me nothing but aggravation. But my day of aggravation pales in its triviality and insignificance when compared to what has happened to those Florida families. The loss of their loved ones cannot be explained, as I stated earlier, either with words or images.
Already the pols and pundits are offering copious amounts of demagoguery. I’ll address their crap at a later date; but for now, I’ll cope with the numbness I feel by hoping and praying that some solace comes to those who have suffered these unthinkable losses.
My day started with an “I love you” message from my wife. It came in the form of a simple, yet sweet Valentine’s card. Right now for me, the thought of that card and its message has helped bring this very sad day to a very welcome conclusion.
To all, please, please, be safe.