Train Wrecks

Train Wreaks

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We say we don’t love them, but honestly, we really do. When we hear about one if we are nearby we rush out to see the destruction, if not we tune in to watch on our television, our social media is filled with the sad news of body counts and fault. We can’t detach ourselves from the constant stream of tragedy.

We hate traffic, until we roll-up on the five-car accident on the side of the road. We cannot help ourselves, just like the three hundred drivers before us we crane our necks, slowing down to see what we can see. Is there a body? Are they using the Jaws of Life to crack open that $50,000 car?

When I was eight years old I went to school on a Military base in Munich Germany, to get there I took a bus from Pullach, which was about a 40-minute ride. One snowy, slushy morning with some 40 children in the bus, we slowed down and were directed around a police cordon. Suddenly the bus matron told all the children on the right side of the bus to look the other direction (not out of the window). Of course, we all ignored her and pressed our faces onto that frosty window, climbing over each other to get a better view at whatever we were not supposed to see. There it was, gory and terrible. A car had hit a man riding a bicycle, decapitating him. Apparently, in Germany in 1964, they didn’t believe in covering things up until necessary; I have never forgotten that sight.

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The light at the end of the tunnel is most likely the train. Have you heard this before? I certainly have, I have thought it and even said it about more than one thing in my life, from my job to my marriage. There simply are times when things seem out of control, we feel as if we are in free fall and the emergency ripcord is just out of reach. I have been feeling this way often lately, more often than I care to admit frankly.

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What is it that drives our feelings of inadequacy and fear of loss, fear of failure? Do we watch everything around us, the ‘picture perfect’ people, the stars of reality, movies and television fail, their lives spinning out of control and fear our own cannot help but follow suit. Surely, without their resources, without their access how could our own lives not slide into that black hole sucking our energy,draining our emotional fortune? Is this really it? Is this why so many of us feel so inadequate when we look in the mirror, when we shop or just on those days when the sky is grey and the rain falls.

Perhaps the reason we are so quick to laugh and point out the failure of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s marriage is the years they were successful and loving didn’t validate our personal views. Nothing during their marriage was met with public acceptance, nothing considered ‘normal’. Always there was a joke to be had their age difference, their public affection, their life in Tweets. With the meltdown of their marriage in a very public way, just like driving by that 5-car pileup we made jokes, pointed our fingers in their direction and laughed, never once thinking how much pain they might be in, only that for once it wasn’t us; not our marriage.

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These past six-weeks I have been a bit blue, no real reason for my internal color scheme just the shading of the season I guess. The world seems to be taking such a turn for the worse, the gears of my mind work overtime to make sense of what doesn’t make any sense at all. The only way I am able to make any sense of what I am feeling lately is to try to take on the bigger picture, to depersonalize and put my pragmatism in front. Try to find the ripcord and get myself out of free fall.


  1. This sounds like a matter of broken frame…or at least cracked. This could the time to move the frame, even if still cracked, to focus on a more manageable piece of the picture. I know that is difficult.

    Even raking the sand to make it appear more even and stable may not be the answer. In the meantime, I have a great trampoline to bounce ideas.

    As to society’s utter and complete lack of empathy or sympathy, I believe the callousness is a twisted manner of self-preservation. By rubbernecking at others’ misfortunes, we deflect the negativity, enabling us to revel in our own mediocrity as a successful alternative.


    • Bounce….Bounce

      I know. I tend though to pick up on the lack of social empathy and absorb it. That absorption seems to ripple through other parts of my life, thus Blue.

  2. What a wonder piece of writing. I especially love the way you summed up your way of dealing in the last paragraph. Beautiful.

    • Thank you Lorre. This is such a social crime, one of neglect and indifference on all of our part. I hope we can all start to look at these children differently and start to ask why.

  3. I read this post yesterday, and couldn’t quite figure out how best to comment. After reading today’s post, I can see even more of where you’re coming from.

    Basically I think that a practice of civility combined with holding on tight to what is do-able.

    • I think there are a number of things crawling out from under various places right now. I like a good rumble now and then, but I think I am a bit tired. Worn to the bone even. The world is putting cracks in my heart.

      • Then take a break from it — or take it down a notch, to where you’re more comfortable. Especially on politics, because the time to choose, the time when folks will be making up their minds comes later (to the extent that they haven’t already made up their minds!)

        Taking a walk and listening to birds always works wonders for me short term, too!

  4. I was feeling that way, too. Then I unsubscribed to the three people on my FB page who had a constant ticker tape of hatred running, and miraculously the world became a better place.

  5. Sometimes you have to jump off of a cliff to face your fears of falling… Great hub!

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