Valdez, Part Deux

Valdez, Part Une: February 2017. It was alright.

Valdez, Part Deux: May, 2017. It was way better.

I took another quick trip in and out of Valdez for work. Flights only run in and out twice a day and I waited to book my flight until the last minute, so I ended up staying a night and flying out first thing in the morning. It was perfect – a busy morning and early afternoon of work, and the rest of the day to soak up the sun around Prince William Sound. And as it was Cinco de Mayo, I went over to the Fat Mermaid for margarita… or several.

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Heart Run Humility

A colleague invited me to join her family’s team and run in the Alaska Heart Run on April 22. I was flattered, excited – me? You remembered, I like running! It felt great to wake up early and run well.

However, in the scheme of things, the invitation had nothing to do with me liking to run, and everything to do with surrounding and celebrating a dynamic survivor of a heart issue continue to live her best life.

Sharon’s son wrote this beautiful essay, telling the story of her heart failure and what happened after. Check it out:

“She brought me bacon this morning,” was the first thing I remember my sister saying, tears welling in her eyes. It was a simple recollection, as if to say, “she was fine a minute ago. What happened?” I came to realize that these are the things we say in tragic moments. We say them because they’re manageable. We can understand bacon being brought to us; we cannot understand something like mom – a picture of health – randomly dropping dead.”

Stop the madness.

My mom called me the day other day, and when I answered the phone she started sobbing. She said she just needed to hear my voice, and how worried she was about me and Adam, bicycling and being in harm’s way.

I knew what prompted the call as soon as she said ‘bicycling’. In the final days of April, a local cyclist was hit by a midsize SUV crossing an intersection in midtown Anchorage. Serendipitously, a local news car was driving by with their dash cam on and caught the entire thing. My mom saw the article and the video (note – not for the faint of heart) and in her own words, ‘it took my breath away’.

I am sick and tired of headlines, articles, stories, news flashes about cyclists and pedestrians being struck by cars in intersections. It’s ridiculous that in 2017, when cars and drivers should be getting smarter, instead people appear to be even lazier. It’s infuriating that the supporting article from KTUU is filled with tips for cyclists to make themselves safer. This is bullshit (if you’re reading this, Grandpa – sorry for swearing – I took out all the other bad words).

Where are the articles with suggestions for driversLike, stopping before the white lines of the intersection? And looking both ways before pulling forward? Perhaps just waiting patiently for the light to change?

The frightening reality of driving is that it allows us to feel invincible, isolated, disconnected from our surroundings, and like we’re the center of the universe. No one else could possibly be as hurried, no other task as urgent as what you, the driver, need to accomplish. Adam and I have to actively practice safe driving skills. I catch myself coming up to intersections too quickly, or pulling through without a second glance and I have to stop myself, and imagine how upset I would be if I was riding through and witnessed those poor driving habits. And even worse, what if someone was hurt on account of my actions? What if Adam or I were hurt by someone else’s shitty driving or one moment of lapsed judgement?

I don’t know today how that bicyclist or driver turned out. I know that Anchorage has a ways to go in creating safer roads for all.