Saturday, August 21, 2010

En Route to my Final Destination

"What are you doing tonight?" one of my co-workers asked me as our shift wound down.
"I'm going to Yonkers for train photos," I replied, "So if I'm not in on Monday I'm either arrested or dead."

I thought I was joking.

Here's the thing: there's at least a small supernatural aura or something connected to my family. My Mom has had two or three premonitions come true, I'm pretty certain I had a brief subliminal conversation with my then wife's dead uncle (who passed 20 years before she was born), and there's been other instances in which I've hated to have been right. Little did I know at 3pm how close I'd be to both of those terrible outcomes.

Things were going well, my friend offered to drive (in contrast to our scrapped attempt the previous week) and we indeed recorded the images we set out to photograph. Even we he'd forgotten his portable one-way radio on the station platform in Ardsley it was still where he'd left it upon our return 30 minutes later. That's where our story begins.

Now, I've only been working in public safety for one month and I'm not even on the street. I'm inside at a desk, but hearing about questionable people, and having lived in a larger city for eleven months I recognized this individual was of questionable stature, and he was milling about the entryway to the station platform. As I approached he kept his hand in front of my face and began verbalizing something. I immediately disarmed the situation with a stern "No" and avoided eye contact, mounted the steps and retrieved my friend's electronic device in the time it took said friend to round his compact car and say "how are you," to the questionable character. Since one of the trains we wanted to photograph was approaching we stayed at Ardsley -- a hamlet of Irvington.

Low and behold, an Irvington patrol officer pulls into the train station parking lot. We're driving an out of state vehicle and parked in a permit required resident's only parking lot. Uh oh.

BUT, the questionable male milling about is the policeman's top priority as he's likely been troubling the previous commuters passing through. My friend and I can overhear the conversation between unwanted and officer and the unwanted gives the officer a story about waiting for the next train to head home -- which he's lied about twice up to that point - and the unwanted comes on the platform to join us, followed not long after by the officer.

Well, you had to be there to get the full understanding, but my friend engaged the officer about why we were there ourselves and though he could have done without it, the officer got a brief working knowledge about the local freight operations!! Okay, so said our goodnights after the freight train passed and using some judicial editing and leaving out the stuff that happens next for a future blog entry, we're on our way home after a long but fun (and briefly dicey) night of train photography.

Since my friend was driving, and neither highway nor parkway home are the most user friendly I suggested since he was driving he should go with his gut as per which road we should travel.

This was one of those "if only I'd" moments. "If only we'd left for home earlier than we did" or "If only we'd taken 95 instead of 15"...

There wouldn't have been an airborne car headed right at us at 2:15 in the morning.

I was in the midst of explaining how major freight railroading would never return to Connecticut when my friend yelped as a car came flying through the air from the southbound lanes, clipped the center median guardrail and gave my friend's car a glancing blow as we swerved across two lanes to avoid it. THANKFULLY my friend did a great job of keeping the compact under control, but what a scary thing to see!!

And what a way to be reminded of one's mortality. These close calls are becoming more frequent I'm afraid. February 2009 I was the passenger in a vehicle which did a 720 degree spin (That's nearly two full rotations) on the way down a hill slicked with black ice. It took me eleven months to not get shivers driving through there. July 3, 2010, a condo fire destroyed the building immediately next to mine in the complex, I still sometimes have trouble falling asleep in the dark seven weeks later. At the quarry four days before my last day there a loader operator chose to get too close to my truck and miraculously didn't hit it, but had my co-worker put his arm out of the window, or had he gotten out of the truck he would have been clobbered. Now this incident.

I've watched the first two Final Destination movies, and though I know it's Hollywood fiction, there's definitely an element of truth in it. I've believed from a long time before those films that a person dies when it's their time -- and I have also wondered about when it was MY time to go. Sometimes scared of it, sometimes able to accept it but ultimately, that's one of life's and God's biggest mysteries and until the end; after I'm deceased and in the coffin, I don't think I want to know when my last breath is. Honestly, I don't even want to think about it, ignorance is bliss, but that too is an irresponsible way to go about life.

It always seems too that the bad things always compound on top of each other (not just always come in threes -- but that can apply too) and I tend to feel that evil is just a centimeter away when I'm overly stressed by life's responsibilities which makes getting back up on then proverbial horse which threw me that much more difficult and I just want to hide, which begins to bring about agoraphobia. I'm not sure how much more my poor heart can take.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I've Got More Facets Than A Gemstone

C'est vrai. It's true. After all I'm a writing, photographing, musical, train guy with a yearn for adventuring once again. Usually my wanderlust will come about when the stresses of life begin to oppress me. Tonight, it seems more akin to the old saying "idle hands make the devil's work".

Life is good overall, which is something I haven't felt for at least five years. Three weeks at my new employment have me feeling settled in and the more I develop my work abilities (I'm developing a new set of skills at an entirely new career than railroading) the more confident I am that I will in fact succeed, of course there's a long way to go still, but my new employers already knew such and in fact have been pleased with how I skewed the bell curve.

Back to my original thought though. After four somewhat grueling days on duty I have a pair of days off. The first I basically wasted by taking it easy despite having home chores in desperate need of getting done, but the tingle to experience re-ignited today, and with such personal freedom at my disposal, and so many places to visit and things to be experienced I just can't decide where to go. But, as Whisperin' Bill Anderson sang "I get the fever"