Sorry for the double post. Kinda. It’s my thread, I’ll do what I want.
I wanted to make this two becasue this bit doesn’t really have to do with bikes and might get kinda weird. Don’t say I din’t warn you.
My drive to the the bike park is basically 3 hours from my door to the campground. It’s 155 miles or so, in the last 3 or 4 miles of winding mountain roads, there’s construction. They’re widening the road as much as they can, bench cutting and shoring up slopes and all that, they’ve been working on it all summer. As such, that bit of road is down to one lane and they run a pilot car back and forth with traffic in each direction on the one lane. While the traffic is coming at you, you wait. Sometimes you wait more than others.
One of the later trips, I happened to be the second guy in line waiting. Not great because they usually won’t take you through until there are 12-15 cars waiting, so if you’re number 2, you could be there for 20-25 minutes waiting for more cars. I’ve barely come to a stop and the drivers door of the truck in front of me pops open and this guy hops out and starts walking toward me.
Certain that I’m about to get an ear-full of crazy, I put on my best “people greeting smile” and prepare…
This guy walks up and explains that we’re gonna be waiting, and starts telling me about his 40 acres down the way and the he’s a writer and a philosopher and all this, and have you ever talked to someone that had so much confidence that everything that they said sounded completely reasonable? Not bluster or bragging, but a surety in what they were saying that you could almost feel?
Anyway, this guy has that. I’m just intrigued listening to him talk.
Pretty soon he’s telling me that he started having pain when he bent over to pick stuff up. He’s eigthy-something, so he goes to the doc. Doc tells him “Buck, you’ve got cancer in everything from the waist down, it’s in your bones. You’ve got months” So, as we’re there talking he’s working on getting his family out to see him because he’s chosen to use the end of life option we have here and would be receiving medical assistance with dying.
I’m sure I said something along the lines of how sorry I was but how much I respected his decision, and I’m paraphrasing here, but he said something along the lines of,
On the cosmic timeline human consciousness has only existed for a billionth of a second, so that’s all I need. I’ve had so many years and met so many people and several future versions of myself, one of which is obviously you, that I don’t need any more, just one billionth of one second.
There was more, but that part really stuck out to me. I know, it sounds insane but sitting there at that moment, I could have honestly believed I was having some kinda “ghost of christmas yet to come” kinda moment. He mentions having to move the date up because he really wasn’t sure he was going to last until the first week of October. Turns out, the day he was “drinking the Kool-aid” (his words) was my birthday and about 6 days from when we were having this conversation.
This is now weird. As I’m trying to figure out just what exactly is going on, the pilot car shows up, this guy goes “well, time to go” walks back to his truck, hops in and just drives away.
It was just such a weird, surreal experience, that guy with the hat and the clouds and everything and I just can not stop thinking that if i had left my house 1 minute later, stopped to piss somewhere else, not passed that car, driven 1 mph slower, I wouldn’t have had it.
Read this in your best stoned hippy voice “Shit’s, like, crazy man.” Anyhoo, that’s just been stuck in my head, and I just had to share it.
RIP Buck, I’m glad I got the chance to meet you.