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Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Second Time I Almost Died, or Scary Story One of Three

Again? So soon?

That’s right, it’s Thursday, and you know what that means, don't you? Due to a lagging economy and uncertain and therefore terribly exciting changes in employment, it’s my Friday. Let us once again consult the iPod as it predicts my immediate future. Play along, won’t you?

Kundalini Express by Love and Rockets
Dead Flowers by Rhinocerose
Yes by Morphine
Hold Up by The Raconteurs
Frankenstein by Edgar Winter
Why Won’t You by The Rogers Sisters
Ballroom Blitz by Sweet

Perfect. A little here and now, a little “out there” and then, not to mention two instrumentals.

And that’s it. That’s the key. Instrumentals. This weekend I am not only going to be instrumental but I am also going to speak only through sign language and interpretive dance.

Should make the Chili Invitational all the more interesting, don’t you think?

And now, as promised. Scary Story One of Three in October's ode to the abnormal.

This is called The Second Time I Almost Died.


This scar on my neck? Funny story, that. Well, not “funny” funny. Weird funny, actually.

It was 2001, maybe 2000. I had received a tax refund, enough that I was going to the mall, going to buy a new outfit, a new pair of shoes. Heck, I was so rich I was even going to buy a new pair of undies.

It was as I was leaving the mall, leaving the parking lot, that I first noticed it. Something about the sky. No, not the sky. Something about the light. The light seemed to be sharper, somehow, outlined and distinct. The colors were too bright.

‘Flashback?’ I thought. ‘Am I having a flashback?’

I didn’t feel right.

The exit for Highway 100 was coming up, and I pushed the Hyundai to 60. The house was, perhaps, four miles away. I just needed to get home, maybe lay down.

But what was going on? The colors grew more and more vivid, and now my hands were starting to tingle, and what – what was going on with my peripheral vision? I stuck my right arm out to my side, wiggled my fingers.

I couldn’t see them. I couldn’t see my wiggling fingers.

As a matter of fact, my line of vision was changing rapidly; and it was less than a mile later that I noticed that my sight had been reduced to what amounted to the wearing of one of those cone-shaped collars they put on dogs to keep them from chewing themselves after surgery.

I shook my head vigorously. It was 2:00 in the afternoon, the sun was shining, the traffic was moving, and I was having some sort of issue.

My line of vision was now less than the windshield. I blinked hard. My arms were tingling, my hands numb. I felt dizzy.

“What the hell is going on here?” I demanded.

And a very low male voice came from the backseat, as clear as any voice is in a small car.

“You are passing out very slowly. Get off the road now.”

I didn’t think twice. I didn't think at all. When very low, male voices speak to me in declarative sentences, I listen.

I cranked the steering wheel, hard, to the right, crossed over two lanes of traffic, pulled off on to a side road and into a Denny’s parking lot. I got out of my car, grabbing my purse, locking the car behind me.

All of this took maybe 30 seconds, and by the time I crossed the parking lot and opened the external set of double doors, my vision was a pinhole of light.

I opened the next set of double doors and the hostess approached me.

“Table for one?”

The pinhole of light with the hostess’s face in it closed, and I was blind.

“Wait,” I said.

And when I came to, I was on the floor, surrounded by loose change; and whereas just moments ago I could not see, now I could see but I could not hear.

There was a crowd around me, all looking down, their faces a ring of varying expression: I particularly remember a black man, his eyes full of compassion.

‘Oh,’ I remember thinking. ‘Look how kind he is. Someone must be hurt.’

But it was me. I was the one who was hurt. I struggled to my feet, falling several times. The black man offered his arm while the rest of the crowd watched.

The next thing I remember was that I was seated at the counter. I was shakily trying to drink a glass of ice water; but after knocking the glass against my front teeth several times, I gave up. Chipped teeth, I don’t need.

“Would you like some soup?” the manager of Denny’s asked me.

No, no, I’m fine.

“Do you want me to call an ambulance?”

No, no, I’m fine.

And then the manager watched me leave. The woman who walked in to the restaurant, fell heavily to the floor, appeared to have a seizure when she came to and is bleeding from her swollen, wounded neck says she doesn’t need an ambulance? That’s good enough for him!

I got into my car, disoriented, and bleeding.

I saw a doctor the next day and went through a number of tests. The conclusion?

I’m a fainter.

And I have abnormal brain waves.

I paid for that information, you know.

In hindsight, I can fill in what happened. Moments after saying “wait”, I had reached out, looking for something to keep me from going down, apparently grabbing the counter with the cashier register on it, taking out the clear acrylic container housing the change for Jerry’s Kids. I had caught my neck on the corner of the counter, ripping an "L" shaped gash into my neck.

That’s not really important, is it, the cut on my neck, the egg-sized lumps that ran along the back of my head from ear to ear? Small potatoes when compared to what could have happened had I stayed on the freeway for just 30 seconds more, the damage my car could’ve caused doing 60 mph, had I not listened.

But what is important?

That I know how to take direction.

Whose voice was that in the backseat?


Douglas said...


So glad you listened to him.

Pearl said...

Douglas, :-).

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

That was pretty intense. I wonder if anyone was like "I bet that woman's trying to steal from Jerry's Kids!" when you knocked the jar over.

Irisheyes said...

It was definately an angel, giving you advanced warning that it was not your time yet. You are loved and needed by so many, and besides that; we need more blogs to read. Keep on keepin on Pearl!

Pearl said...

mjenks, I cadged a handful of quarters on my way out. :-)

Irisheyes, thank you. That's very sweet. :-D

Jayne Martin said...

I can't believe the dumb dick-wad Denny's manager just let you get back in your car. He could have insisted on calling friends or family to come get you at least. What a freakin' moron. Remind me never to pass out at a Denny's.

ellen abbott said...

Your guardian angel.

Your subconscious.

You from a previous life.

powdergirl said...


I'm a fainter too! I hate that when that happens.

Worse yet, I don't know how to take direction. My last incident I heard a voice too, clear as a bell. It was saying get off this tile floor you idiot, you're going down and you don't get many bounces on marble."

Thats true words, right there, but the voices don't take into consideration the simple fact that I am generally surrounded by people who won't let me fall. Seriously, I've fainted like a hundred times in my life and never hit the dirt without someone easing me on down.

Ah the kindness of strangers, where would I be without it?

Emerg. sounds about right.

I hope you went back and bitch slapped the manager at Dennies?

Ann's Rants said...

Shit Pearl! You damn near drowned--I mean died!

And I will listen to The Man. Hope he is as clear with me.

Reddirt Woman said...

Guardian Angel... whose name could be Douglas or Fred or...

Perhaps it was that compassionate black man that gave you directions so he could be there to help you out at Denny's...

I can't believe that dickwad at Denny's let you walk out and get in your car...


Ms Sparrow said...

I passed out in the middle of my wedding ceremony. It was right at the exchanging of vows. My vision slowly narrowed til I was looking down a black tunnel. When I passes out, somebody caught me and carried to into the side office and literally hung me out the window. When I recovered, they made me go back in and go thru with it anyway.

kimber p said...

do you want some soup!?!? this is a very scary story Pearl, but this line made me laugh out loud..I think this is something even chicken soup wouldn't have remedied....lol

Passion said...

I hear that voice too..but mine keeps telling me to go faster!...I prefer your guardian angel to mine.

CatLadyLarew said...

Okay, now you've scared me! A great reminder to listen to what your body's trying to tell you... and to what mysterious, disembodied voices are telling you.

On a lighter note... who needs to talk at the Chili Invitational... the gas will do the voting for you!

Green-Eyed Momster said...

Wow, Pearl! I don't know about the voice! I'm just glad that you are okay! You listened! Is there something you can take so that you won't faint? Scary!


justsomethoughts... said...

what i got out of this was that shoes are more important to you than undies.

troutay said...

OOOOh! Another fainter!
I fainted in a swamp in Florida and had to be carried a long way out.
Thank heaven's they were friends. They could have just left me with the gaters!

At least the voice wasn't that of Ed Geen! (spelling???)

Anonymous said...

I have fainted before too. I felt so silly, although I had zero control. Thank heavens I wasn't driving is what I thought at the time.

A voice told you to get off the road? Wow!

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Wow, that is trippy. I can't believe that manager let you go like that. Glad you were OK, that could have been a stroke or something very serious.

@eloh said...

It sure sounds like one of those mini strokes.

Charlotte Ann said...

What Jayne Martin said! What a doofus! Who would let someone leave like that. The least they could have done was have you stay to monitor you! SHEEZE!

Roshni said...

wow! Amazing story!! You sure have an interesting life, Pearl! Just don't faint anymore in dangerous places, like Denny's!! :)

The Jules said...

Men don't faint. We have vaso-vagal syncopic episodes which translates as . . . er . . . well, a faint.

But tougher.

Anonymous said...

Your fantastic and eclectic taste in music always raises a smile with me Pearl...Imagine the drink we'd have?!!

The Retired One said...

Man, that gives me chills, Pearl!! Maybe it was your Guardian Angel, or Guides!! Who knows? It could be!
He saved you and that is what is important.
I hope you haven't had any other similar episodes!