Friday, August 15, 2014


Wind, duration, and intensity of northern New Mexico thunderstorms make driving in downtown Gallup just a bit dicey.

People forget how to to drive and careen into each other with alarming frequency.

It happened to me a couple of weeks ago.

The collision was unremarkable and no one was hurt. My truck, however, was disabled, maybe permanently. As I surveyed the damage, I searched for the right verb to capture the type of collision. It wasn't a "head-on," or a "side-swipe," or "rear-end," or a "fender-bender," (all good words with lively sounds). It came to me after a few moments: "t-bone." I had been "t-boned."

I was swept away with sadness looking at my injured companion after I found the word. But that's another story.

How and why the other driver and I came together is one of those mysteries. Why the intersection of Coal and Fifth? Why this day? This time?

Like a billiard game or pinball or any scene in motion, contact resets life's trajectory.

Mine, for example, had to be reset to accommodate the lack of motorized transportation. I could not return to work in Tucson on schedule or haul supplies for the house project.

I had to adapt to this revised cast of possibilities.

My extended stay made some things possible that would not have been possible otherwise.

I got to rest and do some art and hang with friends. 

As chance would have it, I returned to the intersection a few days later. My friend, who was driving, thought it would be good to check out a local bar, that a trip to town might cheer me up after losing my truck. He did not know where my accident had happened, what kind of collision it was, or any of the details. Nor did he know that I very seldom eat meat or go to bars.

He just thought it would be fun to show me some of the sights in Gallup after a mountain bike ride.

I was surprised when he parked right at the fateful intersection.

I said nothing about it as we walked over the Coal Street Pub. He wanted to treat for lunch. I would buy the beer and gas for the trip. Since he was treating, he got to pick the food, which he said was a local, Gallup specialty.

As an omnivore who just likes to eat, I was game for anything.

We ordered our beers, Marble Red Ales and talked about how strange life is sometimes, that there are inexplicable coincidences, like seeing a neighbor across the street in a European town thousands of miles from home, or finding just the right book in a library when you stop to browse the shelves.

I confessed that since the accident, I had been finding things that I had been looking for in odd places and strange times. For example, I needed a news clipping for a piece I was writing, and could not find it until I was cleaning windows and saw some paper between the panes. I pulled it out, and it was the article.

How did it get there?

No idea. 

All well and good, I thought. It's just random chance, and we are random billiard balls careening off in a random life.

Right on cue the food came. It was the special of the day: t-bone. Rare.


  1. Question raising, many layered and intricately woven. It strikes deep.

  2. Good story, Erec; but sorry about your truck!

  3. Oh, just noticed the date on this. I hadn't seen it before, thought it was a current story. Nevertheless, glad to be able to read it!