Catastrophic Catastrophe

This is part of Linda Hill’s Stream of consciousness challenge, the prompt is cat. Please follow the link to join in on the fun!

Catastrophic catastrophe, or just plain life changes? We don’t always know what is around the bend in the road of life. We simply continue to maneuver our vehicles and hope that they are in good working order so we can avoid any unfortunate bumps or potholes in the road.

Imagine driving at night. I don’t personally like to drive at night because I can’t see very well. Usually I use the high-beams and can see fairly well, an advantage of living in a rural area. However, if I end up following someone I have to turn off the high-beams and then I am at the mercy of the driver in front of me. I keep my eyes on their brake lights and hope they don’t hit a deer.

Don’t even mention on-coming traffic. That is the worst experience. When those bright lights coming in my direction blind me, I feel very vulnerable. Keep it between the lines, I tell myself and the other driver. Night driving is a difficult thing because you cannot tell what is in front of you beyond where the lights reach. There could be monsters out there, or there could just be deer. Either way, if it jumps across the road at the exact moment I am passing, I am going to be upset. Fortunately there aren’t many walkers on the road because hitting a person would be worse than a deer or a monster.

I have driven in West Virginia and rural Pennsylvania. Let me tell you something, those roads are horrible. In Pennsylvania the roads tend to be two lane with many twists and turns. I have not seen deer or monsters or even walkers on these roads. What I have seen are those horse and buggies that travel at alarmingly slow rates. Now at night they are very difficult to see because they don’t have lights, they have reflectors. I don’t drive in PA at night.

West Virginia is worse. They have two lane highways with many twists and turns just like PA, but they have the added danger of mountains. Seriously! Those mountains are terrifying.

I am reminded of my college days when a roommate complained about people driving on highways and encountering Jersey walls (those barriers put up to close off a lane or divide the highway). My roommate would say, “People always slow down too much. It isn’t as if the barriers are going to jump out at you. Just drive, people!”

Well, I know the mountain is not going to jump out at me. I know my car is not going to just say, “hey, I feel like flying off the edge,” and pull me into the depths of nothingness. Still, I am going to slow down when driving those roads, especially at night or if there is that horrible stuff called snow coming from the heavens.

I avoid the things that stress me. Unless it is unavoidable, I do not drive in rural Pennsylvania, I do not drive in West Virginia, and I do not drive at night. This keeps me safe.

Now, think of your body as your vehicle. You can keep it well maintained by eating properly, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, seeing a doctor yearly for a checkup and, yeah, you know the drill. Your body is a well-oiled machine because you take really good care of it and you avoid the curvy dark roads in life.

Only you can’t avoid the curvy, dark roads because, unless you know a secret I don’t, you have no way of seeing what is ahead of you in a day, week, year…. If you do have a magic touch to know what lies ahead I think you could be quite wealthy. Sell it, I want it!

I have been writing about Alzheimer’s disease and how it affects people. It is a major bump in the road. It is a landslide, a tidal wave, and major catastrophic catastrophe that causes the roadway to completely disappear. Then you are stuck in the mud or floating away uncontrollably on a tide of water desperately seeking shelter.

Only with Alzheimer’s (and I suspect many diseases) there is no warm inn at the end of the journey. There are no heroes coming to pull you out of your vehicle ready to wrap you in a warm blanket and tell you the Red Cross will provide you with a warm meal. There is only today and this moment and this ride which is either fast moving or slow going.

However, it is not really the most catastrophic catastrophe. It really isn’t. It is an opportunity to take each moment and treasure the company you keep.

That’s what we did, or at least we tried to do. We tried to spend every minute we could being engaged with my father. We sang songs together, we read books together, we shared meals together, and we talked, laughed, and cried together.

No matter what events in your life make you feel as though you are in a catastrophic catastrophe, I hope you are able to maintain your focus on enjoying the moment. We really don’t get as many as we’d like.

Now, about that magic something that can enable us to see the future – keep it! I just realized I can get a test to check the likelihood of my getting Alzheimer’s disease. I could know definitively. Knowing would be great if I could guarantee that it would prove I won’t get it. But I can’t guarantee that. No thank you. I’d rather drive blindly into the night than worry about what might be.

Happy Saturday to you all!

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I am a dreamer who loves to explore the world through words. I hope to inspire others to live in peace and be their best selves. I also have an affinity for flamingos, gnomes, and all things magical. They live happily in my gardens.

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18 comments on “Catastrophic Catastrophe
  1. I can relate to what you are saying about driving at night. And on a mountain road, that would be nerve wracking. I like the way you tied it in to Alzheimer’s. I would not want to know if I was inheriting it either because I can see getting depressed. Or you could spend your time worrying about that and get hit by a truck before it ever happens. Nobody knows what the future will bring and might as well keep positive. I think that is what you are saying as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dalecooper57 says:

    Wouldn’t a catastrophic catastrophe be a success?
    Coincidentally, my catalogue of cat-related catharsis this week involved night driving.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Suzanne says:

    I agree with you about driving at night – I feel exactly the same way. My father had dementia – it is terrible to see people going helter skelter down hill. I agree with you about not worrying about whether I might get it too. I hope not – with all my heart but worrying won’t help. Have you seen the latest research – apparently doing crosswords etc. (like the experts used to say helped) doesn’t do any good at all. What seems to helping is staying physically active and getting out and about doing new things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not seen that research but it does not surprise me. My dad did crosswords until he died (ok really I did them for him near the end, but still) it might have helped but it wasn’t the cure. I am trying to be more physically active. It certainly won’t hurt. Thanks for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Suzanne says:

        Dad did crosswords too but in the end they became yet another thing that stressed him out. Other research I have read says to learn new mental skills that set up new neural pathways – learning a new language is the example they give but learning new internet skills helps too.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan Antion says:

    I can relate to this very well. My wife doesn’t drive at night, for the reasons you mention plus the effect of a vision issue she has. I gre up in western PA and I went to college in West Virginia. I am very familiar with the roads you speak of. New England has some interesting roads (and some horrible drivers) but nothing like that part of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been told I went to Niagara Falls when I was 3, have a vague memory of standing over the side of it and leaning on a railing, so my following statement is probably inaccurate . I have not been to New England, but your blog makes me want to visit. When I am rich and famous, I will pay someone to drive me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. joey says:

    I almost died on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, or someplace near it, in the mountains, on a dark and rainy night. I have not recovered emotionally, and it’s been 9? 10? years.
    I seriously hate to drive at night, for all the reasons you mentioned. It’s to the point where now, I will not choose to run errands after nightfall, which sucks, because it’s dark so early now.
    You may have inspired me to finally write about it. Reading this was painful. I know your fears.
    I enjoyed your metaphors.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. […] driving in the rain at night, but I questioned whether I’d ever write about it publicly. Manee wrote a post that triggered my wretched anxiety about it, and with her encouragement, I’ve […]

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  7. LindaGHill says:

    You really don’t know what’s coming, do you? Just have to hope the monsters and deer (especially the ones with sharp antlers) stay on their own road and off yours. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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