The Fine Line
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My brake line broke one Saturday in early September while I was merging onto a busy highway on my way home from the beach. This can be a frightening experience, though I was less panicked than I was the first time it happened.

Immediately the conversation with my cousin, Austin, who fixed my brakes the first time, played through my head.

"I replaced the line on one side, but the other side is kind of rusted. You'll need to get it replaced soon. That means this can happen again, so don't forget," he warned.

"How long can I wait?" I asked.

Oh, how I love to procrastinate. Naturally, he laughed. I was acting just like those annoying people who call me at work and ask how long my boss will be on the phone.

I didn't actually forget about the brakes, but other stuff came up. Broken brakes in the middle of the weekend aren't much fun, but my beloved car and I were blessed and made it home unscathed. After all, when brakes go bad, there is always a good chance of injury. My cup was half full.

I awoke the next morning to a perfectly clear sky and a serenade of cicadae. My little June bug friends came late this year and they seemed to be preserving the summer with their song. The cicadae always sing on perfect beach days, and summer becomes far more precious in early September. I wanted nothing more than to build a comfy sand bed, bury my toes in the powdery sand, swim with hermit crabs and baby bass, and soak up the last of the summer sun.

Perhaps if I was very careful I could drive to the beach. I would drive slowly. It wasn't as if the brakes were completely broken. You just had to hit them 50% sooner than you normally would to stop in time.

Driving to the beach with broken brakes probably wouldn't be a very good idea. Why, I could be hurt, maimed or even killed. Or I could injure my fellow man. That would be very bad indeed.

The song of the cicadae reached a magnificent crescendo.

How could I not go to the beach?

Maybe I could call cousin Austin and ask him if I'd make it any worse if I drove carefully to the beach. I picked up the phone, started to dial, and then hung up as I imagined how the conversation would unfold. I was certain that Austin would advise me not to drive my car in that condition. He would probably think me a fool for even asking, and he'd be right.

I told myself I would make breakfast, drink coffee, work out, and think about it. I secretly knew there was nothing to think about, but sometimes it helps to play these little mind games with myself. For when it comes to things I really love, I often find myself walking a fine line between responsibility and foolishness.

Austin had my car fixed on Monday. When I went to pick it up after work, he told me it would need a new tire. I refrained from asking how long the worn tire would be good for. It's always good to know when a tire is on its last treads, but surely it would survive a few more trips to the beach first.

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