Don't worry, this isn't a throwback to MC Hammer's hit, U Can't Touch This.
This is about my brush with death yesterday. And it still feels unreal, after having had almost a full day of viewing it from the perspective of the immediate past.
I suppose it's because the manner and the time it took for the entire event to be consummated was over in mere seconds.
Having conducted a private class for a client, I decided to walk over to the bank three buildings away from where I was. Lugging around that enormous mat I used for work was only slightly neutralized by the use of comfortable sandals. As we were in an area that was well-established, with more projects "in development" (I didn't there there would be any more parcels of land to do so, but never underestimate determined real estate companies), one of the buildings I had to pass by was in such a "developmental" stage.
I remember making a mental note of avoiding the immediate "work area" on the sidewalk where the construction workers were mixing water with cement. I am an honorary member of the Order of the Sprain, and my ankle wobbly stands as a testament to the amount of excruciating pains I have had to endure over the years as a result of the excessive pronation it seems to enjoy (?) like a heat seeking projectile. Seeing any uneven surface makes me instantly wary of an impending sprain. (Which is also the reason I have never been bitten by the running bug that has all but swept the metro, nor will I be mountain climbing anytime soon - two activities that enjoy terrain that is both rugged and rustic.)
Having sidestepped the cement obstacle, I now came to a narrow path that was framed by a large acacia tree on the left, and a ladder leading up to the constructed building on the right. I remember looking up to the building and seeing the makeshift "roof", a safety precaution in case objects might fall on unsuspecting pedestrians.
As I was passing at the point right in between the tree and the ladder, I then heard - and felt - a thundering BOOG!
I'm sure my stunned state was in milliseconds, but it felt like an underwater scene as I saw what caused the sound.
A large, worn-out hammer fell on the concrete sidewalk, not more than 2 inches from my right foot.
I looked up, and saw that it came from the worker at the top of the ladder propped against the building, under the "safety roof". He had on a shirt that was wrapped around his face, so all I could see were his eyes.
Eyes that refused to acknowledge what had just happened. He merely shrugged - if it had been his voice, that shrug was clear and audible, no mistake - then he refused to go down to get the hammer and just stayed at the top, pretending to be occupied with something-or-other.
I had an intense desire to pull the ladder towards the road. I thought ahead of the evidence of his splattered body in a well-known street and I decided against it.
The security guard in the next building (beside the bank I was going to) witnessed the whole thing, and was just as amazed that the worker didn't bother apologizing. He hollered to the idiot in my stead: "Hoy! Dahan dahan ka sa mga kagamitan mo! Makakapatay ka ng tao kapag tumama yang martilyo sa ulo ng mga dumadaan!"
I think I was in a trance while depositing in the bank right after.
The rest of the day passed by in a blur. I knew I ran a million errands, I weaved through insane traffic conditions, motorcycles sideswiped side mirrors as if they were pinball levers, things the rest of the day went lousy because I was able to only have lunch at around 4PM.
And I still had a silly grin on my face, sans my usual bitching and moaning.
It really is a matter of perspective.
If I had a piece of metallic equipment wedged in my cranium, there would be nothing left for me to bitch and moan about.
People, that is The Hammer Principle.
(And a few hours later, I heard of Hitchens passing away. Which made The Hammer Principle resonate even more.)