the blogfiction meta-post. But for tonight, we'll partake in something a touch more deadly.
You see, tonight, we'll be talking about Life and Death. In particular, the cusp between life and death, that risky place on the knife's edge where you could fall either way.
Tonight, we'll be talking about near-death experiences. Although I suppose you could almost say in those moments, that you're near-life as well. It could go either way, in that point in time.
For your enjoyment, I thought I could list some of my near-death experiences. I may not be that old, but I've had my fair share of scrapes with mortality. Now, I've never had my heart stop beating; I've never had to be resuscitated & I've only ever been in a hospital as a visitor or a newborn. I'm not going to claim that I've seen my life flash before my eyes or seen the light. I'm not unlucky enough to have been dying five times, but these aren't Dying experiences which I've returned from, these are mere near-death experiences. Moments whereby, if I'd taken just one bad move, I wouldn't have lived to tell the tale. In order from the least to the most risky incident, this is . . .
The Absurd Word Nerd's Top 5 Personal Near-Death Experiences
5. Trampoline Accident
Admittedly, this is the weakest entrant on this list, but I feel it deserves its place for its bloodiness. At my cousin's house, they had a trampoline. Now, if you've ever been a child growing up in the 80s or 90s, then you would recognize the inherent dangers of a trampoline. Not only does it send children flying up in the air higher than their body could handle if they fell onto solid ground; but moreso, it's made of a rigid, steel alloy; the netting is held in place by industrial-strength springs that bite into anything that gets caught between the coils when they snap closed (they were covered with safety pads, but every trampoline seemed to abandon those pads after about a dozen uses) & to make it worse, the nets weren't that strong to begin with, and were at risk of tearing, especially after a few years of use when the fibres become more brittle.
I don't mean to be alarmist, and kids really ought to get some cuts and bruises while they're young, so that they don't become wimps in their later years. But you can't deny that these things are an accident waiting to happen. And for me, one accident did which left me spitting blood . . .
The Experience: I had jumped into the air towards the edge of the trampoline, I was preparing to step off, so I was near the springs and the metal frame. I landed with one foot on the metal frame, but I wasn't prepared for the sudden loss of momentum, and as my right foot landed on the soft netting and sank down, my left leg stayed still. I crumpled with the shock, instinctively, but that meant that as my knee bent up, my head came down and I cracked my chin on my kneecap. I bit down on my lip, teeth dug into flesh and my brain was jolted within my skull.
Aftermath: I fell backwards into a sitting position by the springs, I had a slight headache, my knee was a bit sore, but more than anything, my lip hurt. I looked at the ground and spat. Thick, bright red blood and spit fell stringily onto the ground. Luckily my mother and aunt are nurses, they checked on me, and I had indeed bitten into my lip, and it was a nasty cut, but they helped clean it and I spent most of the afternoon with my bottom lip turned out, so that it could heal without getting spit all over it.
Somewhat ironically, if I had been paying closer attention, I might have died. If I had been looking down at my feet instead of over at my family, instead of my chin hitting my knee, it could have easily been my nose. And with that force, might have driven my cracked septum up into my brain. Alright, I admit, this isn't much of a near-death experience. But it did rattle me around and I was spitting blood for five minutes, If that doesn't please you, perhaps the next four will.
4. Bicycle Crash
When I was much younger, like grade three, the school I went to was on on this hill. Where we lived, at our house, we would walk home by going down the hill, then along the road, then up our street. It wasn't that far, but for some reason my oldest brother rode his bike. Maybe he had more homework to do and had to get home earlier, I dunno, it doesn't matter. What matters is that I used to just walk. But one day (or maybe it was a few days, I dunno), my brother thought he could be nice and give us a ride down the hill, instead of have my other brother and I walk. I think maybe he was doing it for fun. Either way, it sounded alright to us. So, my other brother hopped on and they rolled down the hill. Looked like fun as they just whisked by. Then my older brother rode back up and told me to hop on. Now, I can't remember how I got on the bike and I don't really remember what it felt like to ride down the hill; not because of cranial trauma, it was just a long time ago. But I do remember feeling confused.
The Experience: We sped down the hill and then we hit something. Well, not really something; I wish I could say we hit a pot hole or a dead possum in the road. Hell, I wish I could say we hit a car, but we didn't hit a car we hit a young schoolkid. Then I was thrown from the bike and I must have flipped in the air and rolled because I hit the top of my head on the ground, and the next thing I remember I was sitting on the road, legs splayed out in front of me as though I'd just sat down. I looked around and the other kid was crying, and I was just surprised.
The Aftermath: I don't know what happened with the kid, we were all hurt but okay, as for me I just went home and I remember tasting copper and I had a headache. Mum came home and took care of us, but she gave me an empty ice-cream bucket. Then we went for a drive somewhere. I don't know where, all I know is that I threw up in that bucket as we were driving in the car.
I don't want people to think I had brain damage and memory loss, this was just over fifteen years ago, I don't recall everything. At the time I was aware, I just had a headache and a scratch on my head, which scabbed up and healed quickly. But what worries me now is that I was hit on the top of my head. I flipped over, and if I were at any other angle I so easily could have broken my neck or suffered brain damage worse than whatever mild rattling made me throw up.
3. Red Light
I don't think of myself as a good driver. I'm not a bad driver, but I'm lower than average. I can handle myself in most situations, but occasionally I make little mistakes. That's pretty average, but what tips me below the bar is that I am a terrible navigator. I've gotten lost quite a few times, and it's never fun driving around and having to pull over to check the map (No, shut up, I want to at least attempt to learn how to navigate on my own before I buy a GPS). But when I was on my Learner license, I was worse than I am now. One time, my Nanna and I decided to visit my cousin's place. The same one with that trampoline from earlier, actually, but that's not relevant to the point. What is relevant is that I was nervous, since I wasn't sure if I was headed the right way and Nanna beside me is from NSW, so she couldn't navigate, we were driving via luck and hope. I was winding up one of the many hilly streets of Brisbane, heading North, an I was thinking it would be a good idea to pull over and check the map, but we were on a main road. So, I wanted to move into the left lane . . . then I saw the motorbike.
The Experience: Motorbikes aren't easy to see, but for a new driver, lost and distracted, and with a motorbike in my blind spot, I didn't see them until the last second. There was a bend in the road, I was going to indicate and change lanes with the road. I did a shoulder-check, about to change lanes, when I saw the motorbike, it seemed to appear like magic. I'd already started crossing the line (my bad), so I corrected to stay in my lane and saw the biker shoot me a dirty look. Then I looked out the front window - BRAKES!!!
There was a busy intersection, a red light and a stop line three metres in front of me. I slammed on the brakes, and we came to a shuddering stop because of the uneven surface of the road.
The Aftermath: As I took some deep breathes to settle my beating heart, I watched the intersection in front of me as dozens and dozens of cars sped past. If I hadn't stopped in time, any one of them could have ploughed right into my car. Not to mention, that motorcyclist is lucky to be alive; it definitely wasn't smart of him to be driving in the blind-spot of an L-plate driver. And of course, my Nanna was in the car with me. It was just that sudden "panic, panic" that got me. I swerved to avoid the motorcycle only to find myself running headlong towards traffic. It was just my fast reflexes and good brakes that saved my grandmother and I from becoming a statistic.
2. Near Miss
I used to live in the city. I liked it a lot, and if it were up to me I'd still be living there now. Not only are there less bugs and dirt everywhere, but the views are amazing & you're walking distance from everything you could possibly want. In fact, when I lived in the city it was just a short walk to the grocery store. I just crossed Ann street, then walked up to the Woolies there if we needed bread or milk. One thing that's meant to be really bad about living in the city is driving around. I never had a license when I lived in the city, so I would never know, but a lot of people get lost. I've driven in the city now, and it's not really that bad if you know where you're going, but some people get lost on some of the many one-way streets. What does all of this have to do with my near-death experience? Well . . .
The Experience: I was walking home from the shops, carrying groceries. I waited for the light to turn green for pedestrians, then stepped onto the street, with one glance to the left. See, it was a one-way street, so I didn't think I'd have to look right, I was checking for on-coming cars. As I was about the step beyond the parked car and across the road proper, a car went flying past in front of me. I did a double-take. Not only had it come speeding from the right, but it was doing at least double the speed limit.
The Aftermath: Obviously, someone had gone the wrong way down a one-way street, and rather than turn around they just floored it, hoping to get off the road before the cars started coming the other way. Yeah, hey, cool for you arsehole, but did you think maybe to KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR PEDESTRIANS WHILE DRIVING ILLEGALLY DOWN THE FUCKEN ROAD!! If he'd hit me, no doubt, broken legs right off the bat. But at the speed they were going, clocking around 70 kph, I would have been smeared. broken legs, bruised, battered and brain damaged lying on the road with groceries thrown all about me.
1. Light Switch
This one happened at least six years ago, and unlike some of these where it was the fault of my brother, a motorcyclist, or a dumb criminal, this one was entirely my fault. See, one time, the lightswitch in my room disappeared. That is to say, I was switching the light and I jabbed the button too hard, and it popped out of its place and fell into the wall. I felt a bit embarassed about, well, breaking the lightswitch, so I decided to fix it. I quickly grabbed a screwdriver, then I took the decorative case off the wall and I unscrewed what I now know is called a "bezel", and I saw the wire. It hadn't gone far, so when I took the bezel off the wall, the wire with the switch on the end fell out. I tried to be careful and I grabbed the wire, bezel in hand, to put it back . . .
The Experience: I felt instantly weak and dizzy, not weak as in fatigue, but all of my muscles felt like they didn't want to work, I just started to kneel down slowly, bending up into a ball. The whole time, my skin was alive with pins and needles. It wasn't overly painful; it was very uncomfortable but it didn't hurt with actual stabbing pain, so much as that I felt weak, and I wasn't in control of my muscles. I continued to bend down until my hand let go of the wire, then as though I snapped awake, I stumbled and stood up, glancing around, trying to figure out what had just taken hold of me.
The Aftermath: At first, I thought someone was playing a prank on me, because I'd never been electrocuted before. I didn't realize that light switches, even when switched off, could zap you. I even remember yelling out to my brother, thinking he'd done something to me; I was so confused and scared. Then I sat down on the floor and came to my senses. I realized not only that I had touched a live wire but also that that was what being electrocuted feels like.
I was scared and I felt stupid for what I'd done - rightly so, it was a live wire - so I screwed up the case and waited to tell someone else, so that they could fix it. I mean, I don't know if a light switch circuit has the right amperage or voltage to kill someone but if I hadn't felt weak and let go of the wire, perhaps if my muscles had contracted in my hand, it would have kept going. No one would have come to help, I didn't tell anyone, and I don't doubt that I could have died. Not just because of being electrocuted, but if I'd fallen instead of crumpling into a foetal position, I would have hit my head on the tiles. Ever since that day, I don't play around with my own wiring; it's just not safe, and I never want to feel that feeling of electricity buzzing under my skin ever again.
Anyway, that's my list. It's not really much to shake a stick at. Even if 5 experiences seems like a lot, it's not. These are just those occasions over my entire (now) 23-year lifetime. You've probably had a few, yourself. If you're willing to share, why not let me know in the comments; because although life is more than just surviving, a close call with our survival can bring to light the preciousness of life.
I'm the Absurd Word Nerd, and as I said these are just some of the experiences I've collected throughout my lifetime. I'm sure there will be many more to come in the future, with any luck I'll manage to survive them as well.