When I left my apartment for a pleasant afternoon stroll, my plan was simply to call my mother and grandmother to wish them a happy pink bat day. I've been paying just enough attention to baseball to know that my Mets will be swinging the pink bats from first place today, in support of breast cancer research and awareness. My mom and grandmother are most of what's left of my family, as many have died from cancer, old age, and whatnot. So the news that one of the nicest people in the entire world, who happened to be my cousin, passed away at three this morning, was neither welcome nor surprising.
But this news didn't preclude having an otherwise pleasant conversation. So I chatted with my mom about tennis, and music, and baseball, and autism. Our rambling conversation was interrupted by a screaming little boy. A strong breeze had blown his hat into the middle of the street. I raced across the street to scoop up his hat to discourage him from running into oncoming traffic. I guess I set a poor example, but at least no one got hit by a car. The boy's father scolded him for yelling instead of saying something coherent, like "Dad, I lost my hat, would you get it for me?" The kid was like four, so the mere fact that the kid didn't actually run out into the intersection himself seemed like a big plus.
I kept walking and talking, making a full circuit around my building. I was about to get off the phone and go inside my building when I heard more screaming. Something made of blue glass had shattered and spread over a forty foot area. Two women checked their dogs' feet for splinters in their paws. A third woman was raving about how the glass object had missed her head by millimeters. I looked up to see a window open further than its usual range (you need a key to open the windows in my building). It appeared that the vase had come from the twenty-fifth floor.
Building security seemed disinterested, but the maintenance department was efficient in their response. The woman whose head was nearly bashed in was naturally quite upset. She called the police and was demanding action from maintenance or security. I told them what I had seen and they found the apartment the glass had fallen from. Presumably it was an accident, but that's just speculation on my part. What I am certain about is the uncertainty of life, particularly regarding its duration. Kids get hit by cars, adults get cracked in the head with flower pots, and older people get sick and die. But sometimes they don't.