Saturday, February 5, 2011

365 Jobs, Day 36: Two Seconds

Cross-posted from my new blog, 365 Jobs:

Monday, February 5, 1996

It all happens in less than two seconds.  Maybe one and a half seconds.  I'm checking out a leaky skylight.  At such a shallow pitch I can walk upright over the roll roofing.  A sheen of algae or something glistens on the wet surface when without warning I enter the 6 stages of construction panic:

1. Confusion: What is happening?
2. Realization: Oh.  I'm sliding down the roof, standing upright like I'm skiing.
4. Reaction: How do I stop?  Grab something?  There's nothing to grab.  Fall on my butt?  Before I can do anything there is
5. Luck: At the very edge of the roof, toes on the gutter, I stop.
6. Adrenaline: Too late, it hits.  Heart pounding, I stare at the concrete ten feet below, my next stop if the toes hadn't caught the gutter.

I have a friend, Norm, who's a roofer.  Norm's father was a roofer before him.  Norm says his father once slid off a roof standing up, exactly as I almost did.  His father landed upright on his feet.  He broke both ankles.  Worst thing was, he was working alone.  It was about 7 hours before anyone found him.

I was working alone.  It was over in less than two seconds.  I was lucky.  Very lucky.

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