Friday, April 29, 2011

Hit The Ground Rolling

Any kid can tell you there are three steps to follow if you’re on fire: stop, drop, and roll. That’s fine and dandy to learn and rehearse when you’re not on fire, but what happens when you are and really need to stop, drop, and roll? Well, if it were me, I’d probably run around screaming until I remembered those rules. It’s like when I’m around bees - they say to stand still, but I run like the wind, flailing my arms - I didn’t say it was an attractive run - but that’s what I do despite the best advice.

Jack and Jill fell, and presumably rolled, down a hill. Note: you roll down a hill, but not up one. I remember a theatre class I was in when I was about eleven years old, and the assignment was to ‘move’ an imaginary piano. The first kid pretended to lug a massive piano across the room, and the teacher frowned: wrong. The second kid did the same as the first kid but did it slower and appeared to look more pained, but the teacher frowned: wrong. Then it was my turn, and for no good logical reason, I picked up the pretended rope, ‘pulled’, and then jumped back as if the piano was pulling me back, and the teacher smiled: bingo. Sometimes challenges are so big and unmovable that it takes more than one person to move it and move on. Not being able to move the metaphorical imaginary piano on the first go doesn’t mean that it won’t move eventually.

To the surprise, and perhaps horror, of my professors, I have decided to finish all of my classes and my work. They’ve suggested that I withdraw, take an incomplete in the class, but I smile and insist that I’m finishing my sophomore year, thank you very much. I realize that saying that I’m ‘hitting the ground running’ is only partially correct, I’ve hit the ground trying to run, but I more ended up hitting the ground rolling. I’m pretty sure it’s not because I’m trying to put out a fire, it’s more like I tripped over myself and have been rolling along ever since, watching the world spin upside down uncontrollably around me. The semester has disappeared before my eyes, I am slightly appalled to realize that the world went on without me - people ate, attended classes, laughed and slept and did other things for three weeks while I buzzed nurses and peed into a hat.

It’s no surprise that sitting in a hospital bed has given me the stamina of an insect. I’m running around campus to get to classes, finishing papers and homework, reading chapters in my textbooks, basically trying to tie up all of the loose threads. I am tired the moment I get up, but I throw myself into my day - not heroic but probably stupid - and I hit the ground rolling.

But I’ll cross the finish line - even if I roll, instead of run, over it.


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