Bilbo Was Right

It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.

– Bilbo Baggins

I had been debating whether or not to go for a run tonight and when you reach that point—the point of doubt—you really should pack it in and save whatever you can’t decide on for some other time or simply walk away from it.

That’s exactly what I should have done. But instead, I took a chance and at about 9:20pm I discovered what a bad decision it was.

For it was at around that time when I was jogging on the sidewalk with Arliss and we were nearly run over by a guy in a Ford Expedition who was in his vehicle, started it up, and just pulled out on us without even looking. The entire time he was in reverse I was yelling “Hey…hey…” then finally a loud “HEY!” to stop him.

At the last blurt, Arliss was nearly under the guy’s rear passenger tire and I had to pull him back with all the force I could which, with the adrenaline pumping, was enough to save him. The driver didn’t even notice the two of us until he was halfway down the driveway when he finally decided to look to his right and see the incredulous look on my face—the look of complete and utter shock on his.

After he stopped and Arliss and I made our way around the front of his vehicle, I heard him say (over the sound of my earbuds playing music at a low level) “I’m sorry, buddy…I’m sorry.” I waved him on and kept going but not before I said, “It’s fine. We’re good. Just hang up and pay attention.”

Did I forget to mention that he was on his phone the whole time? I thought I should throw that in for good measure.

Moving on was all there was to do so we continued to trudge along. I mean, what were my alternatives? Sit there and cry over not getting run over? Or was I going to argue with and scream at him at this time of night (or in general)? Lord knows I could have, like the time I was in the left turn lane on my bike and being honked at by the woman behind who, when the light changed, swooped around me and cut me off so she could get to the gas station.

For the sake of not giving cyclists and runners a bad reputation (although they both have one with drivers), I kept it all inside of me in both instances despite knowing the reality of what had just happened—the possibility of being flattened into pancakes by impatient or in this case, inattentive drivers. Although I may come off brash at times, I’m extremely cool under pressure. Just ask Ann. She has no idea how I do it and chances are you wouldn’t be able to, either.

As Arliss and I continued our jog, the guy pulled up beside us and started apologizing again. I glanced over, waved, and said, “Really, we’re fine. We’re alive. It’s cool.” I heard him say something else but judging from the tone, it wasn’t a condescending remark. He may have been on his phone while this happened but I truly believe that based on the sincerity and frequency of his apologies, the guy felt a bit of guilt deep down inside of him. This would be the only reason he made it around the corner and headed back home, perhaps to collect his thoughts over what just happened. Maybe he just forgot something or perhaps he honestly felt that bad about what had just happened because as we went on our merry way, I didn’t see him leave his house again.

Life goes on, Indy. With that out of my system, Arliss was still dragging me down the street when we made it to the intersection. I slowed down and stepped off the curb when unexpectedly…


…I took a tumble. The lump of skin on the left is my right elbow and that’s my right knee to the right of it.

I know this curb. It’s higher than most of the others in the neighborhood. I always slow down there and make sure I step carefully onto the street. But wouldn’t you know it, on a night like tonight, I ate it.

Again, like the other incident I dealt with tonight, I can only move forward and not think about it. And frankly, sometimes you need a little pain to let you know you’re alive.

For what it’s worth and based on his reaction, I’m not mad at the driver although he should have been a little more attentive by a) looking in all directions before pulling out and b) not being on his phone. If anything, I’m more mad at myself for tripping over my own damn feet. And my listening to music was not an issue because I clearly heard and saw him pull out on us and narrowly escape injury. It was an incident with one person and nobody was hurt. If it happens again then it’s a pattern, at which point I may have to consider saying something a bit more stern.

In the end, Arliss and I ended up only running a little over 2 miles tonight which is definitely short of our usual distance of 5k. None the worse for wear, we made it home in two (man and dog) pieces.

Bilbo Baggins, my hat is off to you. I will not leave the Shire tomorrow night.