We don't go to galas often. Hell, we never go to galas. But when The Hubs scored some tix to a PFLAG Straight for Equality gala in Times Square this past Saturday night, I was fired up. Sure, it appealed because I author a blog for gays and their BFFs (called A Hag Supreme), and I'd written the very first piece about Straight for Equality forThe Advocate a few years ago. In writing that piece, I became great buds with the amazing gal who was integral in spearheading this entire shindiggie, and I couldn't wait to meet her (and see Liza Minnelli!) in 3D. So we blew the dust off some finery, said adios to our kids and sitter and flew out the door in anticipation of a hot evening on the town.
At around 6:30, we were about to turn onto Shubert Alley and pull into the Marriott Marquis (where the gala was held) when we were cut off by galloping mounties and fire trucks screeching through the traffic, blocking the lane we were to turn into. Hubs had the wherewithal to switch lanes, and there we sat, smack in the midst of Times Square traffic. Suddenly we heard a bang, and throngs of tourists flew past our and car into the halted traffic in panic!
Since I witnessed the events of 9/11 with my own eyeballs, my heart skipped a few dozen beats. But this is New York City. Water mains break and cars backfire. When the mounties started waving us on through the red light and the tourists started doubling back to capture whatever was happening with their camera phones, we figured all was kosher. So we parked our car and continued on with our fun ... without a clue that part of the hotel we were partying in -- as well as the surrounding area -- was being evacuated!
The next morning, Hubs took me aside to inform me about the disaster we'd narrowly avoided. My thoughts immediately turned to our children --- so young, beautiful, vulnerable and delightfully clueless about the danger we'd escaped. What if we'd never made it home to them? With a golf ball lodged in my throat, I ran to them and Hubs and held them tight, praying that we could stop time and spend the next five eternities cuddling peacefully in each other's arms.
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In gratitude, I could just make out with the alert vendor who spotted the smoking SUV, and those courageous mounties who came to the rescue. Because of their bravery, Hubs and I were able to return safely home to our children.
This kind of thing has happened to so many of us at some juncture or another. Whether you've spun out on a highway or unknowingly strolled past a ticking car bomb, near-misses occur each and every day in our lives, reminding us that each moment we draw breath is something tremendous to be grateful for.