This may be a little morbid. But I seriously do think about this. If I die in my house, at what point would someone come and look for me? How stinky would it be by the time my body was discovered? Would my cats eat me?
Just humor me for a moment: Let’s say something happens on a Friday – I fall off a ladder and hit my head, go through my ceiling while doing something in my attic, electrocute myself putting in a ceiling fan, etc. Maybe my friends miss me over the weekend but assume I’m just busy or blowing them off. Then Monday rolls around and I don’t show up for work. I have exactly one close work friend and he’s not the type to worry if I wasn’t there. He would probably assume I was out of the office and then immediately forget to think about it again. Would my boss or assistant call someone? Who would they call? I think my mom is still my emergency contact on file – she’s in a different state and there isn’t much she could do. Perhaps the first day I don’t show no one worries but the second or third someone decides to look into it more. Maybe my friend realizes there’s some sort of problem. Then what. They send the police to my house? At this point it could be Tuesday or Wednesday and my corpse has been rotting since Friday. Not good.
I worry less about this scenario than something like getting hurt while running and not having anyone who knew I was out there. Sometimes after a particularly tough work day or when I need to clear my mind, I head out for a run. I have a three mile route that I do on shorter days but every now and again I go exploring and might go anywhere up to 8 or 10 miles. The worst ever was when I was training for a marathon (which I never did, only half marathons for me) and had a 16 mile course mapped out. It was essentially an 8 mile out and back. Around mile 7 my butt started to hurt. Literally. I found out later from a physical therapist that the issue was related to an inflamed piri formis. The injury ended up taking several months of PT to recover but meanwhile I was far away from home and having a hard time walking let alone running. There wasn’t a great way to shortcut my route but I was able to shave off a mile or two by climbing a fence and trespassing across a private athletic training facility for a certain NCAA Division I school I attended. Luckily it was early on a Sunday so no one was around. I had to take stairs to get up to my apartment at the time and ended up hopping up on one foot I was in so much agony. I couldn’t walk for a week and the PT I was working with was a little ticked that I had overdone it by so much.
There have been other times when I’ve been out and had issues. Once I got seriously lost in the woods and the only reason I found my way out was that I run with a Garmin GPS. Another time I was running through a park near my apartment and the gate at the far end was unexpectedly locked. It was still early in the summer season and while it was normally left open, that day it wasn’t. To get around I would have had to run all the way back through the park and around the fence to get out. This wouldn’t have been a big deal except there was a group of what I can only term menacing looking guys playing basketball. They saw me run through and stopped their game when they saw I wouldn’t be able to get out and would have to run back by them. They started to move towards me and I had the sense that I needed to get out as quick as possible. I ended up scaling the fence (I apparently climb a lot of fences) but there was barbwire at the top. I still have a scar on my right forearm from where it cut me.
I feel bad writing all this as I have visions of my mother breathing into a brown paper sack to mitigate the hyperventilation stemming from the panic attack I just caused. But as a single girl living in not quite the safest city in America I wonder if there is some awesome solution out there to assuage my worries. I’ve thought before about having some sort of website similar to mapmyrun.com where you would report the route you were running, the time you left, your predicted time of return, and instructions on what to do in the event you didn’t check back in. With the technology that exists I’m sure there is some way to do this in an app form and using an automated text system it could alert your emergency contact. Having GPS tracking enabled on my phone helps but I don’t like to run with it in the event it rains and also my general sweatiness. I also don’t think this would need to be limited to just running but anytime you were about to embark on something that could end in disaster such as first dates. Especially with the increase of internet dating, it seems people meeting strangers for the first time might want some sort of safety net in case the person chopped their body into tiny pieces and stored it under the floorboards of their front porch. If no one ever knew you even went on a date let alone who you were with, then you’ll end up with the situation I outlined at the beginning – rotting corpse several days old.
Maybe an app already exists for this and I haven’t found it yet. Let me know if you are a whiz programmer who wants to make this happen and/or if this is the most preposterous idea ever and would never work.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep texting my friends anytime I’m about to do something stupid.