I am not a fan of reality television. I want my entertainment to take me out of reality not put me back in it, especially if what the networks are touting as "reality" is in any way authentic.
Desperate Housewives paved the way for The Real Housewives of *insert city of choice*. Honestly, I don't want to be a real housewife in any city, and I certainly don't want to be a desperate one, so I bypassed this phenomena.
The OC forced Orange County residents to create Laguna Beach: the Real OC in order to clear up any false representation. And thank God, because an accurate depiction of privileged teenagers in Southern California is a huge part of the American identity.
Big Love drove viewers to The Real Big Love (men wondering if they can actually get away with having multiple wives; women wondering if there are actually women crazy enough to be one of multiple wives). I'm waiting for the series where a woman has multiple husbands. And birth control.
But, as karma always finds a way to kick me in the ass, it seems that I am adding to the trend of reality shows based on successful television series (or the fictional series was originally based on what later became a reality show--it's probably a does-art-imitate-life-or-does-life-imitate-art conundrum).
The series that my life mimics? The Final Destination movie series. I think I'll call it Holly Almost Died--Three times.
I considered making this a part of the "A Little Fact; a Little Fiction" series (I actually almost died 2 1/2 times and was going to exaggerate one of them and see if anyone could distinguish the fact from fiction) but I think show-casing my skills in horror and crime would better utilize my writing talent (and maybe draw attention away from my lack of coordination, because that's just not sexy).
Before I get into how I almost died three times on Tuesday, March 29, I must refer back to the blog post from February 22, "To Quote My Grandmother: 'Why Are Teenagers So Stupid?'" and the case of the missing doorstop, bungee cord, and salad bowl. (If you haven't read it, stop now, read the post, and then come back).
I figured the cause of the theft of the seemingly random items was the result of a teenage prank, but now I realize it was an act of heroism. Some altruistic student must have had a premonition of my death, which I have deduced has something to do with me falling off the ramp right outside my classroom door, and so took the means of easy egress from R102 in order to save my life. That extra few minutes it took me to look for the missing doorstops and then throw a fit once I realized them gone held me back from death's fateful grip.
And just recently, the theft of another bungee cord only confirms my belief.
And the salad bowl? I was probably destined to die at lunch time. The taking of it was meant to be a clue: lunchtime is a precarious time for me.
But, Death has found me.
The first time was on that nefarious Tuesday morning. After informing my student teacher that I would be heading down the hill to do some xeroxing, I sailed out the door (held open by the aforementioned, recently-stolen bungee cord) made a sharp right turn, caught my shoe between two sheets of aluminum that form the ramp, and launched forward, arms outstretched like Superman in flight.
I screamed. The two students heading toward my room screamed as well.
The corner of the railing that bordered the neighboring classroom's ramp lie directly in my path. I glanced down, saw the ramp passing away under me, wondering why gravity hasn't played her role. Why was I still seemingly in flight?
Cocking my head to the left, I pulled my hands back to shield my face from whatever it was destined to hit: the pavement or railing.
Crunch. Motion to stillness. Heat saturated the right side of my face, but there was no pain. In fact, I seemed to be standing. Not really standing, but upright, the tops of my feet resting on the pavement. I dragged my feet forward and planted them firmly on the ground. I was slightly bent forward at the waist, shoulders sagging.
Students were shouting: "Oh my God, Ms. Vance!"
Head still cocked to the left, I had a full view of the basketball courts that lined the row of portable classrooms. I tried to turn my head but couldn't; I tried to take a step backward but couldn't. Reaching a hand up, I felt the cold metal of the ramp's railing and my fingers followed it until ended at my forehead.
In my forehead.
Suddenly, I was face-down on the blacktop, staring at crumpled up Cheetos bags and empty Gatorade bottles littering the ground beneath my neighbor's ramp.
Jumping to my feet, I brushed the gravel and dirt off of my pants. A couple of students clamoured around me, asking it I was okay.
I glanced at the corner of the rail that for a horrifying moment I believed had pierced my skull. Laughing, I waved off my inability to answer on embarrassment and continued on my way.
But Death had not been satisfied.
Later that day, I was leafing through all of my curriculum files, searching for supplemental materials for my student teacher. The top two drawers, packed so tightly that I couldn't avoid slicing a cuticle or two as I squeezed my fingers between the manila folders, weighed more than the bottom two, which held my only purse and some portfolios of students' work. I opened the top drawer, couldn't find what I wanted; I opened the second drawer . . .
The entire file cabinet tilted forward. My student teacher leaped up, her palms slapping against its side in an attempt to rock it back, but it slipped from her hold. I squatted in order to catch the file cabinet against my shoulder and then use my legs to push it back up, but instead a crack signaled a breaking bone and my shoulder dropped abnormally low. Pain streaked up my neck; the corresponding arm hanging limp. My feet slipped out from under me and as I struck the cold floor, the file cabinet pinned me down.
I lay there, attuned to the sparks of pain and throbs of panic. I heard my student saying, "Hold on, Holly." She managed to get a hold of it lift it up slightly so that I could worm out from beneath, but then I heard a sharp cry pop from her mouth and the file cabinet settled down on me again, this time more heavily. It was as if someone had climbed on top of it.
Its weight pressed down on my bones until a chorus of cracks and splinters of pain precluded the shattering of bone. My body seemed to deflate; my bones seemed to gather into a prickly mass beneath the tent of my skin.
I was standing again, my feet firmly planted on the ground, my hands braced against the file cabinet as I rocked it back into place. My student teacher was laughing, saying, "Whoa, you almost pulled that thing down on you."
Blinking, I wobbled over to my desk chair and sat down. What is going on?
Swiveling my chair around to face my computer, I scooted forward, but only managed to move my butt forward, leaving the chair behind. As I dropped off the edge of the chair, I saw the keyboard of my computer rushing toward my face . . .