Bang bang boogie: A new look on life

Erin Roof

It was a party that almost ended with a bang. Literally.

Friday I had an intimate get-together with 70 or so of my favorite friends. Throughout the night people complained that my apartment smelled like gas. I didn’t see it as much of a concern and opened up some windows — kept partying. A few hours later a friend came up through my basement and said the smell warranted my immediate attention.

I wandered through a cloud of cigarette smoke and opened the basement door. Gas fumes hit me like a wave. Friends counseled me that this was not good. Firemen arrived.

A leak from three gas meters and a hot water tank, combined with the hundreds of cigarettes smoked that night, could have annihilated Kent’s entire hipster scene with one foul blast.

I imagined the would-be ending:

Police officers sifting through charred femurs and sequins and livers and burnt remnants of skinny jeans. Specialists testing blackened Camel Light boxes for DNA. What’s left of the dance room littered with ashes of Adam Ant records -and no one to listen to them. What a shame. What a shame.

This perilous party experience really shook me. But I need quality near-death experiences every once in a while to remind me that life is worth living.

Another one happened this summer. I was listening to “London Calling” by The Clash and having a little dance party by myself when I reached up to touch my nose. When I retrieved my finger, it was covered with blood.

Not being familiar with nosebleeds, I made the likely conclusion that I was having a brain aneurysm. I looked at the chunky bloody bits pouring out of me and assumed my brain was leaking out through my nose. I am a bit of a hypochondriac.

I almost passed out. Everything was going black and I thought I was dying. I even prayed, just in case, and bargained with God that if I only lived through this, I would be a better person. I survived. I’m still no saint, but I do have a better outlook because of it.

For a long time I also believed I would die in 2012. This is the year the Mayan calendar conspicuously ends. Many speculate this means the earth will undergo a natural or cosmic shift that will result in the death of most of humankind.

This belief and my tendency toward near-death experiences has made me live each day as if it could end in a horrific fireball, as if each day was my last.

This might be true, but I’m realizing I am mostly using it as a cop-out. It is easy not to think about the future if I believe I’ve only got six years at most. But I’m beginning to realize this is a pretty stupid philosophy.

I could have died at my party, but I didn’t. I could have had a brain aneurysm, but I didn’t. The world might end in 2012, but if it doesn’t, I need to be prepared.

I think it’s time to buckle down. I think I’m going to start looking for a job. Or maybe it’s just the gas fumes getting to me.

Erin Roof is a senior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].