Fate and the Random Event

One week ago, 239 people boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Kuala Lumpur, expecting to land in Beijing a few hours later. The plane vanished and has still not been found. Vanishing from the world’s radar screen practically never happens.

A woman vacationing in Florida is killed by a giant stingray that leaped out of the water and struck her as she sunbathed on the deck of a boat. Stingrays practically never do that.

In the same week, a tourist visiting a friend in Manhattan was sleeping late when he was killed by a construction crane which toppled and crushed the friend’s townhouse. Cranes rarely topple.

Freak events always catch us off guard. We can’t even picture the weird things that can happen to us. The ones we can imagine, we try not to think about.

Last week, the invoice for my long-term care insurance arrived. It’s a payment I’d rather not make.  For that money,I could take a cruise or other trip, landscape the front yard or redecorate the living room. Why should I pay this premium when I feel good? Do I even want to hang around if I can’t do things for myself? Wouldn’t the money be better spent investing in Amazon or Apple stock? And on, and on…..

My husband died in a freak accident. So did the daughters of two of my dearest friends. No one who suffered a traumatic loss because of a random event ever feels truly safe again.

Most of the people I know don’t have long-term care insurance. They’re protected by the same illusions I used to wrap myself in.  Perhaps the difference between us is that they haven’t been on the loss side of a sudden freak event.  They’re not stalked by the feeling that disability or death can rob them of someone they love in an instant.

Temperament still inclines me towards optimism. In an ideal world, I’ll be vibrant and vital until my late nineties, then die quickly without pain or fuss.  In the meantime, I’ll just pay the premium.