Saturday, January 11, 2014

How Many Brushes with Death Have You Had?

I started reading Life After Life by Kate but got sidetracked and didn't finish it before it was due. The premise of the book is about this girl who keeps dying over and over again, trying to get her life correct. At least, that's what I gathered from the fifty pages I read, where she died being born, and then lived barely, and then grew to be like four years old and then drowned in the ocean, and then came back to life again. Truthfully, the premise gave me some anxiety in reading, because I kept waiting for her next death. It made me think about near misses that I've had in my life--not many, maybe just one. But what about all of the brushes with Grim Reaper you don't even realize are happening, such as every time I drive to and from work and some jerk contemplates taking me out with his SUV.

The one I know about is the time I was driving home late after a show I was in (it was actually one of those mystery dinner things where you mingle with the guests but are also performing this improv version of a murder--I can't recall much more about it except I wore a sparkly dress and got to slap the guy who was the director as part of my actions). Anyway, the show ran late, and I was driving home on the one of those dark Florida causeways at like 2 in the morning and this car kept tailgating me and acting crazy. Like, the car would speed past me and then be weaving all over the road, and the slow down again until I had to pass, and then it would cut me off again. This happened like three times, until they got so close that I could see the paint on the other car door, and I had to swerve to the shoulder of the road, nearly running off it and park there for a while, waiting for my heart rate to slow and for the crazy (drunk, obviously) drivers to have gotten far enough away. I fully expected to see the car flipped on the road in front of me.

That's the only driving mishap I recall, but then there was the time when I was a little girl and my parents were in a hotel bar and I lingered outside near the candy machine, and some long-haired guy struck up a conversation with me, telling me he'd never had a little girl and always wanted one. He asked me if I wanted any candy, and I said yes (who wouldn't??). He had to leave to get change and I went into the bar and told my parents. I was about five or six. The woman who was with them came out with me and pretended to be drinking from the water fountain, and when the guy came back to buy me candy, she laid into him, telling him to leave me alone. He said something like, I'm a Vietnam vet! I'm not doing anything. He pressed the candy button and a Snickers bar tumbled out, but the woman made me leave before I could get it, which was my biggest regret. So, I guess I could've been abducted.

No near drowning experiences, no shark attacks, no serious car wrecks (Dan had one as a teen where he flipped his car and his girlfriend at the time almost died and had to have plastic surgery), no fires in the middle of the night, no slipping on the subway tracks, no gunshot wounds to the head, no wild bear attacks while camping (especially given the fact that I've never gone camping). And then that actual moment is out there waiting; and I feel like Woody Allen about it: “I'm not afraid of death; I just don't want to be there when it happens.” 

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