A Fate Worse Than Death

It is night in Greenport. I’m at LB’s at the desk in the front room, by the windows. I don’t feel well, but I am on deadline, so I’m working anyway. Suddenly I hear the sound of bicycle tires on the road, and a man and woman, arguing while they ride.

“I’m not going to stop at stop signs,” he says. This is behind closed blinds, so I can’t see them. They are somewhere between forty and fifty years old, I’d say, from the weight in their voices.

“You have to,” she says. She is annoyed. (So is he.) “You could be killed. Or worse: You could be maimed.”

I have just finished reading Atul Gawande’s piece in the current New Yorker, about end-of-life care. (Anything that man writes is worth reading.) This piece basically says, People can live longer and have better deaths if they choose hospice care rather than medical intervention when they have a terminal illness. Most people don’t know this. Killed might be better than maimed.

That’s all. And the fact that it’s nice to live in a place where you can hear the sound of bicycle tires as they pass in the night.

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