There were many times during my college years, despite the annual rotation of roommates, where I found myself alone. Most of the time I would do normal things- study, clean, watch hours of Real Housewives, etc. During my junior year of college I was living in a house where the kitchen was upstairs and my room was downstairs. Annoying, sure, but houses in San Francisco aren’t really designed in a way to make you happy, just to make you fit. Anyway, I trotted upstairs to make my usual afternoon blueberry bagel, and on my way down I happened to miss a step and nearly fell to my death. My bagel flew through the air as I bumped down each step dramatically on my bare ass (I should note here- another thing I like to do when I’m alone is wear my silk robe- Hugh Hefner style). All I could think was I’m going to die, I can’t believe I’m about die.
When I finally reached the bottom, I discovered that I was not dead, but my neck did hurt pretty bad. I lay on the cold tile floor noticing one half of my bagel stuck to the wall, and it hit me that I was completely alone. One of my roommates was in Paris and the other was visiting her family in the East Bay for the next four days. My cell phone was about twenty feet away in my room…if it turned out that I was paralyzed from the neck down, there was no way I’d be able to get it.
So basically, if I had died, my rotting corpse would not be found for roughly three to five days. I massaged the back of my whip-lashed neck, finally feeling a connection to all those old people in my life who sent me cards with barely any money in them–the worries they had about about dying in their home or in the shower or planting some flowers and wondering how long it’ll be till someone finds them.
There is an understanding of this dilemma in the old people world- that’s why they get Life Alert. And at least old people get checked in on occasionally, my parents aren’t really the check in type. After sending me to the Bay Area the express myself, they rarely called and I never answered. When I would call them back days later, I usually got a response similar to “oh that’s okay honey we just assumed you were out drinking”.
It’s a scary thing, laying at the bottom of a staircase, bagel-less, thinking about your demise. I really think that the Life Alert company should make a larger effort to target the independent youth of the world.
I was hunting for a studio apartment not too long ago, and I just didn’t feel comfortable signing a lease until I had Life Alert in my hand. Or around my neck. Or wherever you put it.
I eventually moved home to San Diego to be closer to my family. Needless to say I also call my grandparents a lot more now.