Monday, March 19, 2012

167th Week Update - Miles Neighborhood Food Collection Project

Hi Folks,
A Fatalist with Options

What a difference 0.076 seconds makes. This is the time it took
to travel 4 feet at 35 MPH where the Jeep was destined to spin
around violently instead of being T-boned.
At about 2:30 am last Saturday, an extremely drunk, 23-year old man named Jeffrey crashed into my dear friend, Maen Mdanat, owner of the Axis Food Mart.

If Maen had driven a tiny bit slower before he came to the intersection near Fry’s on First Avenue or hit the breaks when the drunk ran into his vehicle or tried to steer out of trouble, he would have died.

In many of our casual conversations, Maen and I often talk about how, no matter how we struggle to do the right thing, the fates just don’t seem to be paying much attention.

On one occasion standing outside his store while he smoked a cigarette, I told him a joke about Farmer Jones who built up his family and farm three times just to have everything destroyed repeatedly. After the last disaster, Farmer Jones fell to his knees out in the field and said, “Lord, what am I doing wrong?” The sky darkened and a booming voice came out of the heavens, “Farmer Jones, there is just something about you that pisses me off.”

We got a good laugh but agreed that even if our life stories are already written, we just aren’t going to stop trying.

Even with all of his special forces training, Maen was completely blind-sided by that drunk. He saw nothing because his field of vision was already passed that side street when the car shot out of the dark at more than 45 miles per hour and slammed into his gas tank and rear tire.

His Jeep spun to the right in three complete circles eventually severing a wooden utility pool in half that came to rest arched over his car like a Teepee, sparks flying everywhere. In all of that chaos Maen did have time to think.

After the police and tow truck arrived, the driver of the tow truck asked Maen how come he did not flip. In many SUV accidents, the car flips making matters worse.

The moment Maen started to spin he just let the Jeep go, lifting his feet in case the engine block would come flying through the firewall. Then he crossed his arms and grabbed his shoulders because he did not want the air bags to knock the wind out of him as happened in another accident years ago.

What did happen is Maen fractured three consecutive vertebras but there are no bone fragments, only hairline breaks. This is good news but there is still a huge amount of pain and he is restricted to lifting just five pounds. This is some comedown for a man who tussles with 200-pound kegs of beer the better part of a day.

The drunk villain in this story wasn’t hurt, of course, but he is being charged with Super Extreme DUI (BAC .200 or higher). Jeffrey was so drunk he could not stand up and had to be carried by the police to the cruiser when he was arrested. The icing on the cake is he also did not have an insurance card in his car.

Other not so good news is once you have an attorney in an accident case, doctors don’t want to treat you. So Maen’s lawyer had to recommend an Orthopedic specialist but first he must visit a chiropractor. What’s that all about?

Within 12 hours of this horrific accident and emergency room visit, he was back at work. Saturday is one of his biggest days of the week and he has to be there.

All of our stories may be told the moment we are born, but in Maen’s case—and we might look to him for inspiration—nothing is really over if you pause to think when life goes terribly wrong.

It Happened Again
Maybe its rained three or four times on Sunday when I collected our food. And each time I start out getting drenched and then by the time I get to Lorraine Aguilar’s home, the rain abates and the sun slowly slides out from behind the clouds. This Sunday was no different.

Of course, I appreciate Mother Nature’s consideration but it makes me wonder. Do the 400 or so nativity scenes in Lorraine’s house have anything to do with helping me feed the hungry in comfort? Not sure, but I’ll bring up the phenomena again the next time it rains on Sunday.

We collected a total of 178 lbs. of food. The money we donated amounted to $37.50, a $25.00 check and $12.50 in cash.

See you Sunday,


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