THE INCONVENIENCE OF SUDDEN DEATH

BY STEVE DUNN

My wife and I were driving home from a doctor’s appointment. I had developed a painful rash in some very private places and was hoping to pick up the prescription for its treatment as soon as we got to our home, about on hour from the doctor’s office. I also suffer from restless legs and they were already torturing me.

Then we saw it, the slowed and slowing traffic on I-81 south as we arrived on the north side of Carlisle. I had seen it before, and it was clear that soon after the oncoming exit was a parking lot in the making. I had been through this before so we exited the interstate so we could follow the highway that ran through the town’s center (and parallel to the interstate). It might take 20-25 minutes to cover the eight miles but it would be better than the progress (or lack of it) on an interstate shutdown by an accident.

Then we hit it. The gridlock in the city itself, multiplied by many exits from the stricken interstate depositing traffic into the city. Even with traffic cops at every intersection, the city’s interior street became crazy–and hot–and aggravating. It took us more than 90 minutes to make that eight mile journey. Emerging on the other side (south side) hoping to return to the interstate, we saw more vehicles seeking to escape and the state route we were on heading south, bumper to bumper northbound. In the end, the whole trip of 22 miles took three hours.

Twitter and Facebook, not to mention texts and cell phones were alive with the inconvenience created by this situation. I confess, I was among those verbalizing my frustration. It was a wall of vitriol.

Only a handful of people bothered to ask about what was going on upon the interstate, just a couple of miles removed. While we were griping and moaning, two persons–a truck driver and the driver of the SUV that had crossed the median and hit the trucker head-on–died.

We don’t know yet what caused the driver to cross into the northbound traffic. Some have suggesyed a high speed that caused the SUV to go out of control. It doesn’t matter. Now to people are dead. At least two families are in shock and grieving of this sudden death.

Thousands of us were inconvenienced.

In our self-centered world, I suspect the latter fact is considered the greater sin. I for one, have asked God’s forgiveness for my pique and offered a prayer of condolence for the dead. To not do this latter would have been the greater sin.

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