Have you ever looked back at an event or series of events in your life and realized how horribly wrong it could have gone?
Earlier today, I watched a short film about texting and driving. Werner Herzog’s “From One Second to the Next” was influential, chilling and effective. Even though I know it shouldn’t be done, I do it anyway. I tell myself that I’ll do it only while I’m at a red light, but I also do it when I’m moving. I tell myself that it’s not wrong to text people if I’m on my way but running late, or to say thanks. I rationalize my actions by thinking that I’m a great driver; I clearly assume that I’m exempt from the law and that it will never catch up to me, but one second can change the rest of your life. And someone else’s. And their family, their friends, my family and my friends.
I watched people talk about the people they lost; I watched others talk about the people they killed. My life isn’t perfect and I wouldn’t say it could ever have been considered a charmed life. It’s seen a lot of screw ups, a lot of course correcting, a lot of regret and a lot of stuff people probably wouldn’t expect of me. I’d like to think that a lot of that stuff is in the rear view mirror, but when something I do on a daily basis has the potential to take a life — maybe more — and turn other lives upside down like nothing before ever has, it’s like I haven’t learned anything.
It’s like I’m tempting fate, and maybe — just maybe — when I’m in a jail cell after having killed someone because I was texting while driving will things sink in. I will be wishing for my uncharmed life that I would only then consider charmed.
Nice to know that 36 years of life have imparted so much wisdom. But better late than never, I suppose.
If everything happens for a reason, it is nothing short of heartbreaking that lives were taken, that a film was made and that its message is only now sinking in. But it won’t be in vain — at least for me.
Tonight I am not thankful that people were killed and that lives were permanently altered as a result of texting while driving, but I am thankful for the awareness and resolution the film has given me to change my bad habit.