As you may know, about two and a half years ago, my son and I were driving home from Glasgow to Fort William late one night when we crashed into a black cow standing in the middle of the road.
The whole front of the car was obliterated, and according to the police who investigated the accident, had the cow been a step further to the left, it would have landed on the roof and almost certainly killed us both instantly.
As experiences go, I don’t recommend it.
Anyway, that night, we’d been down in Glasgow to see a gig by Nick Offerman, one of the stars of the US sitcom, Parks & Recreation, which my son and I are both big fans of.
Nick closed the show with a big singalong version of ‘5000 Candles in the Wind,’ a song that has become synonymous with the show.
90 minutes later, we were standing by the remains of the car, shaken but – somehow – unhurt. This, in case you haven’t seen it when I shared it on social media, is how the car looked.
Now, fast forward to last week. My wife, daughter, and I were driving back from Glasgow along the same road. Music was playing on Spotify – a random selection from a playlist of about 1000 songs.
I always slow down at the point where we hit the cow, partly to pay respects to whatever mystical force kept us alive that day, and partly because I’m worried there’ll be another fucking huge cow standing in the middle of the road.
As I slowed down last week, one song came to an end, and the next track began. I recognised the opening chords right away.
5000 Candles in the Wind.
From Parks & Recreation.
The one song I always associate with exactly that spot.
My wife and daughter both know what happened there, obviously, and they agreed that it was a bit weird, but didn’t seem that shocked by it.
It genuinely shook me, though. It was obvious just a coincidence, but it took me right back to that night, to what had happened, and how close my son and I had come to a horrible, bovine-based death.
I drove the rest of the way home more slowly. I don’t drive fast, anyway, but having been reminded of just how quickly things can go spectacularly wrong on the road, I drove with more caution than I usually would.
We got home. I dropped my wife and daughter at the house, then set off to pick up our dog and cat from the kennels where they’d been staying for a few days.
The weird timing of the song coming on at that spot continued to rattle me, though. Once again, I drove much slower and more carefully than I usually would.
Which was why, when I rounded a bend on the single track road leading to the kennels, I was able to stop before I hit this:
A BIG BLACK COW! ON THE ROAD! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES OF THAT HAPPENING?!
Had I been going faster along that road, I’d almost certainly not have had time to stop after rounding the bend and seeing that big brute blocking the way.
Did that music playing at that moment save me from an accident?
Or, can we go further than that? Did hitting that cow two and a half years ago save me from hitting this one?!
Or – and I think is the biggest takeaway from all this – are cows trying to kill me? Have I done something to annoy their species as a whole?
Time, I suppose, will tell…
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