Seven years ago on November 18th, 2008, I stopped to fill up Sharka’s tank. Gas was below $2, which was a first in many years. Sharka posed in front of the sign and I snapped a pic.
The next morning, this happened. It was a bad day for the little striped car.
Seven years ago. Seems like longer. Seems like a lifetime.
In many ways, Sharka’s destruction was the best day of my life. It didn’t feel great at the time, but it proved to be something I needed very badly. I came close – not that close, but a little bit close – to death. If not for a bit of the right type of foam on my rollbar, I’d not be typing this. I’d be fertilizer or a veggie-rev. $20 in padding let me walk away. And thanks to that rollbar, the truck that hit me didn’t come into the cabin.
I discovered a lot about myself that day.
I discovered I really loved life and wanted to live it. That’s what I got out of taking that huge freeway hit. It wasn’t that I was suicidal before the hit or anything. I just… didn’t LOVE life. I felt very blah about everything. I had things I enjoyed, but I was just going through the motions. I was sleepwalking my life away.
I wasn’t living each day to the best of my ability. I wasn’t living.
Sharka’s destruction and my small brush with mortality brought life into focus. The important things in life were immediately brought to the front of my mind. I grabbed them and didn’t let go. The things that were not so important fell to the side.
I transformed that day.
I think about that photo in front of the gas station sign fairly often and the day that followed it. Every time gas falls below two bucks, I think about posing again and recreating it. That original shot has developed into a bit of a stigma in my mind… I’ll not lie – I’ve been more than a little afraid of retaking it.
Pure terror really.
Mostly just irrational fear that Sharka would go away again if I recreated the shot… That I’d have to rebuild again.
So much work. So much time.
But… You know what? So what.
If it happens again, I’ll fix him up again. Sharka is my soul in physical form. A rolling, four wheeled part of myself. I’ll build him again. I’ll rebuild as many times as I need to.
When I snapped the photo this evening, I felt free.
Bring it on Tomorrow.