The Scott Shaw Blog

Be Positive

One Minute Later and a Kind Word is Always Better Than a Growl

If you think about the random/flash traumatic events that take place in your life, there is one thing that becomes very clear, if only you had left home one minute later then everything would have been different and you probably would not be living what you were forced to live. Those car accidents, if you had left home one minute later, you would not have been where you were and the two cars would not have collided. Those negative chance encounters with people, if you had left home one minute later, the two of you would never have crossed paths.

Of course, this goes towards positive events, as well. Had you not left when you left then that positive whatever would not have occurred. If you had left home one minute later then you would not have witnessed that beautiful butterfly, bumped into an old friend, watched some act of giving kindness of one person helping another, or met that special person who came into your life. But, you did leave when you left, and it did occur. So, negative or positive, much of your life comes to be defined by the moment that you choose to do anything and had you waited one minute more then that life event would not have occurred.

Much of, in fact the most of, my life was defined by this fact. And, I guess, this is where my understanding of this understanding first came into play.

As some of you know, I had a very serious motorcycle accident when I was twenty-one. It was a Sunday. I was actually in the process of moving from one apartment to another one in a nearby building but, as I tended to do, I got on my motorcycle and was headed to my mother’s apartment in Hollywood to have Sunday dinner. BAM a car didn’t see me, hit me, sent me flying through the air, fracturing my skull in numerous places, and broke, cut, tore, and messed up a whole lot of other areas of my body. They, the doctors, barely saved my life. But, I was never really the same. All this was all based upon when I left home. Had I left one minute later, the car would not have hit me. And, that was not the only time some car hit me on my motorcycle over the years. But, for sure, that was the most life changing.

This same, one minute later philosophy, came into play in my life last week. As I alluded to in this blog a few days ago, someone totaled my car. What happened is that I had come upon the first movie I had ever written. Yes, written… You know, Zen Filmmaking not using scripts and all… But, it was the first movie I wrote, directed, and acted in. I have not seen that film in over thirty years. So, I was heading over to a transfer house to move it to a formate that is viewable by today’s standards. If it’s any good I’ll put it up on YouTube. Anyway, there was this big traffic jam due to the fact that there was road construction up ahead. Like I say, you just can’t get anywhere in L.A. anymore. I was sitting there stuck. This junky old pickup truck decided to jump the traffic line. He goes down the wrong side of the street heading for the open median to pass up the line of stuck cars. But, in doing so, he clips my car. SMASH, you know that terrible sound of metal on metal. He doesn't stop. He drives on. Fuck Me!

It wasn’t that he hit me so hard but what happened was due to the angle of the impact, he literally ripped out my front wheel from its whatever. And, this being a front wheel drive car, it’s gone…

It’s sad, I really loved that car. Yeah, it’s like eleven years old. But, it was in really good shape and ran really well. It was very reliable. Except for the fact that it probably needed a good vacuuming, as I tend to eat an Everything Bagel from Starbucks several mornings of the week… But, other than that… But now, it’s gone. Sure, the insurance company will give me some money for it but, you know how it goes, it’s never enough to actually replace the car. Plus, I have to deal with all the dealing with—tying to find another car and all that. All based upon the fact, that had I just left home one minute later everything would have been different. The crash would not have happened. Maybe that guy would have hit someone else but it would not have been me.

So, there I was, standing in the sun, waiting for a AAA tow truck. Of course, AAA messed up the call and I had to wait for an hour longer than they promised. What else is new???

Anyway, while most of the people were giving me a scowl as my car sat there in the lane blocking traffic. There was nothing I could do people! The car wouldn’t move. But, this one guy, as he was passing by… He was one of those clean cut, nice guys. If I were to play in the world of stereotypes, I would call him, “A good Christian man.” Anyway, he rolls down his window and exclaims, “Are you okay? Is there anything I can do to help?” I told him what happened. “I’m so sorry to hear that. Are you sure I can’t help?” “Nope, just waiting for AAA. But, thanks!”

So, there’s the other side of all this… Yes, all things happen defined by where you place yourself in life—when you decided to walk out of the door, but then there is what happens in the after effect—what you do with what you can do.

You can meet your trials and your tribulations with anger and frustration or you can accept that it was all based upon what it was based upon. But, more than all that, when you see someone else’s something, defined by when they walked out the door, (one minute too soon or one minute too late), you can try to understand their dilemma and lend a smile and/or a helping hand. Truly, it really makes everyone ’s everything just a little bit better.

No matter what happens to you, bad or good, it all ultimately becomes defined by how you react to it. No matter what happens to the everyone else, whether you know them or not, it is all defined by how you react to them. You can get pissed that someone ran into the car, so the car and the person are standing there lost in the abyss, waiting for the AAA tow truck. Or, you can smile, offer a helping hand, and try to make their anything/everything just a little bit better.

Life is defined by the minute that you walked out of your door. Then comes your decision how to handle that experience. So, what are you going to do when you should have left one minute later?