What is the significance of one death when the world loses 155,000 people each day? People die all the time. I see these roadside memorials along the highway. They are called descansos. Sometimes they are small, sometimes they are enormous. They all mark a place where someone lost their life.
I don't know Xavier Arriaga, but I know how me died.
LA MIRADA, Calif. - A man who was working near train tracks at a La Mirada intersection was struck and killed by an Amtrak train Wednesday while trying to move a piece of equipment out of the train's path, officials said.
I saw this descansos as I drove home from an early morning disc gold game at La Mirada park. The level crossing here is nasty. Drivers slow down to a near stop when crossing. I came to stop in front of this memorial while waiting to cross the tracks. A large black crow flew up from near the candles. It gave me a chill.
I went back later in the day to take a picture and learn more about the man who died. If it were important enough for his friends and family to memorialize the place of his death, the least I could do is find out how he died.
I think on a subliminal level I suspected a train. You see, I am sure that when I die it will because a train nailed me. I've had this morbid fear of level crossing all my life. Arriaga's death by train simply reinforces my deeply held neurosis.
R.I.P. Xavier Arriaga.