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Green with it. Tribute to a real pro.

by Once

A little over twenty four hours ago, a woman I used to work with was killed in an automobile accident. She was a professional driver, and was driving a small bus, airport shuttle size, with three passengers aboard when a pickup truck headed in the opposite direction crossed into her lane.  The highway she was on has a high speed limit, 55 mph. She was killed instantly, as was the driver of the truck. A passenger in the truck was critically injured, and is in a coma. The passengers aboard the bus all were briefly  hospitalized with minor injuries.  “They” say when two vehicles collide head on, the force of the impact is equivalent to twice the speed of one of the vehicles, which is to say both vehicles experienced forces equivalent to slamming into a solid object at roughly 100 mph. Yikes.  The front of her bus looked like a bomb went off in it. It’s almost unrecognizable…

I’m not sad, mostly…I’m angry…while the investigation is young, it is suspected the driver of the pickup was distracted by her  phone.  No surprise.

Rachel and I were far from close. She trained me on the particulars of certain aspects of our job, and I got to know her as a friendly, humorous woman searching for love and fulfillment, as are we all. I learned the term “Dutch oven” from her, and almost drove off the road laughing the day she explained it to me. (I was driving a new bus route with her sitting near me as she explained the route to me.)  She had six cats, no children, and at some point in the last two years, got married.  She smoked, and hated it. She tried hypnosis therapy twice to quit and was succesful for long periods, but ultimately started smoking again.  She went so far out of her way to help me learn the details of a new job assignment in 2017 after our manager threw me to the wolves and told me, verbatim, “You’ll just have to do the best you can”, offering no help to me whatsoever. Rachel adjusted HER work schedule that day to help me, something that I know was an inconvenience to her.

Yeah. Ok, maybe I’m a bit sad, but have yet to shed a tear…because I’m happy for her.  I mean, in the space of probably less than two seconds, she…well. Think about it…maybe she noticed a truck heading for her, maybe she was able to put her foot on the brake pedal while her brain screamed for the release of adrenaline, maybe her last sensation was of a force so unspeakably powerful as steel and glass exploded around her, and then…what?

Release, man, pure and simple. “One thousand one, one thousand two…” Whoa. God almighty. How quickly life happens, how quickly life can end. Release.  She’s turned in her membership card, she’s completed her tour of duty on our floating sewer. She did her time.

Whatever Rachel has become, she is no longer here. She wasn’t forced to end her own life, although it crossed her mind at times. She told me this during our time together on the job, feeling comfortable enough with me to reveal parts of her soul. She was abused as a child and by an ex-lover, and had her share of trials and tribulations,  and chose to share these details with me.  I met passengers who knew her and disliked her because she demanded order and civility aboard any bus she drove. She didn’t tolerate bad behavior on her buses, and because she wanted to create a comfortable environment for all the passengers on any given bus ride, the drama queens that tend to make riding public transportation a pain for those who want nothing more than an uneventful ride despised her.  If someone was bothering you aboard one of Rachel’s buses and you complained to her, she took care of it, and that was that. She didn’t dally. She came to your assistance. Those passengers who disliked her are assholes to begin with. She served as a fleet dispatcher for a while, anchoring the two way radio desk and dealing with a fleet of never less than fifty drivers calling in with various issues – an incredibly stressful job, and I’ll never forget the day she fought back tears of pain over the radio as she dealt with excruciating back pain brought on by disc problems. It was amazing she even made it into work that day.

So yeah. Rachel is gone.

My point with all this is something along the lines of this…if there’s a “next thing” after we die, Rachel is experiencing it.  Streets paved with gold under cloudless skies in a world of pure love, horned demons chasing her through canyons dripping with molten lava under dark smoke filled skies in a world of flames and anguish, maybe she’s zipping through wormholes and celestial cyclones as she learns the secrets we crave to learn, or maybe there’s nothing…no awareness of memories of earth’s difficulties, no satisfaction in having done her time here, now freed from these trying terrestrial ties.  My heart goes out to her husband, her family, her friends, her cats.  Undoubtedly she was loved. She was a professional and a decent woman.

And my envy of her is of a specific color. Ohhhhhh man oh man oh boy oh man oh boy. I’m green with it. I want this. I want this for me.

Rest, Rachel, and don’t take any of God’s crap. Throw the little ***** off your bus.



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LoveDogs 2/5/2021 - 12:06 pm

What would happen to your cats if it was you that died??

Once 2/5/2021 - 6:42 pm

Hi Lovedogs. I live alone and have a folder in plain sight in my kitchen. On the cover it reads “IF I’M DEAD.” Inside is information on who to call if I assume room temperature in this kind of situation. I have three friends who have agreed to take custody of them until they can be taken to the shelter I used to work at, where they can be put up for adoption. One of these friends has told me she would actually keep them both as her new pets. I’m fortunate to know these people. I also have a bright red card in my wallet with the same info on it.

system 2/5/2021 - 12:53 pm

Rest easy.

Once 2/5/2021 - 6:43 pm


thebends 2/5/2021 - 2:17 pm

Envy of the dead, definitely I get it. Wouldn’t it be hypocritical if we were sad for people who die quickly? An instant death is the prize, so we should be happy for anyone who gets it, while hoping we might be the next lucky winner.

She sounds like a cool person – cool to those who get to know her, not cool to jerks. And it’s a shame whenever a cool person leaves. But to feel sad would be selfish, right?

I don’t know why, but her story and your tribute to her made me think of Jim Henson. I heard when he died he left strict instructions that no one was allowed to wear black at his funeral and it should be a big party, a celebration. Wouldn’t it be great if our culture was always like that. Respectfully honoring the dead without tears. And yes maybe a bit green with envy. Just don’t wear black 😉

Once 2/5/2021 - 6:49 pm

We’re so conditioned for automatic sadness, which is normal I suppose…but yeah, how fortunate can one be, as morbid as it may sound, to go that quickly? Irish “wakes” tend to be a custom where the persons life is celebrated in a party like atmosphere, no crying or gloominess. Sounds like a healthier alternative to more traditional rites of passage. I had an uncle who couldn’t stop cracking jokes during my mom’s funeral years back, and when it was all done, everyone agreed that he did a lot to buoy everyones spirits!

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