Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Real Housewives of Fairview Oregon

On Monday I broke my back. I have been slowly aggravating it with long training runs and extended trips in the car. Then on Monday while playing volleyball, it broke. One minute I was blocking at the net and the next I was crawling off the court. If you have experienced back troubles, you know just how unexpectedly this type of episode can stop you. My back-pain journey is too long and winding, (perhaps I should say crooked), to discuss here, but the gist of my situation is that once every 6-12 months I do something that puts me out of commission like a car with a flat tire.

This week’s episode was particularly debilitating. I tried to go to work on Tuesday, but after rolling out of my car, I was unable to walk across the parking lot to get to the door. Knowing I’d be of little use in my cube, I rolled back into my car, went home, and asked Christa to help me find a chiropractor. She did, and while I waited for my appointment I lay on my back. At this stage in my recovery my only respite is lying down. After my appointment I parked myself front of the TV to wait for my back to begin healing.

It was during this pain sprinkled recovery that I was introduced to the Real Housewives of Orange County. RHOC is a reality-show copy of Desperate Housewives. It airs on Bravo, the network that has brought us Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Show Kid Moms and Dads, Show Dog Moms and Dads, Sports Kid Moms and Dads, Blow Out, Project Greenlight, Being Bobby Brown, Project Runway, and Celebrity Poker Showdown. Now I may be too old to understand the whole MySpace phenomenon, but I get reality TV. It speaks to me. I know it is a guilty pleasure that I leer into the lives of these people, but the situations they dream up on Bravo are wildly entertaining. In addition, nothing says pain relief like a good dose of someone else’s exploited tragedy.

Being the red-headed, step child of NBC causes Bravo to occasionally blur the lines of good judgment and acceptable programming. My intuition told me this would be the case with RHOC, but I wasn’t going anywhere soon and they were airing a 4 episode marathon. Without resisting, I was drawn into the real lives of the Orange County Housewives. The RHOC follows the activities of a handful of extremely rich women, whose touch with my reality was breached long ago. They wrestle with how they will continue to afford weekly, private Pilates lessons after they purchase their new house because its price tag is 3.5 million dollars. They spend copious amounts of time on image. Their physical appearance, cars, homes, careers, husbands, kids and did I mention physical appearance must all be crafted into an image that gives them status and therefore: validation. They don’t have friends—they network. They obsess over their kid’s friends and are mortified that one of them may drop out of their high class world by dating or marrying someone who is unable to financially provide the life that they are accustomed to. It is pure trash and it makes me a little sad. But, it is someone else’s trash and I’m guilty of craning my neck out the window to see the carnage as I drive by.

When the 4 episodes finished I decided I wouldn’t add it to Tivo’s list of shows to record. It was a fun afternoon, but I don’t think I need any more Real Housewife drama in my life.

On Wednesday I went back to the chiropractor for another adjustment. After he cracked me I didn’t want to undo his work by immediately jumping into the car, so I opted for a short walk up and down the block. I’ve found that this can sometimes help solidify a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, I was still in quite a bit of pain and walking down the street was an agonizing chore that I’m sure conjured up visions of the hunchback of Notre Dame to anyone who saw me.

My new chiropractor is in Fairview, a small town that has been building what they call a village. It is a cute neighborhood with new homes and a charming, Main-Street-feeling, commercial district where many of the curb-side businesses have apartments above them. It is developing into a quaint, little community; however, the new homes are a bit out of my price-range. As I turned at the end of the block to head back to my car, I met one of Fairview’s residents.

She was driving a brand new Acura SUV, had flawlessly highlighted hair, brilliantly white teeth, and a tan that did not belong in Oregon during the month of April. I didn’t have to reach far into my memory bank of stereotypes to label her a housewife and I casually scanned for a camera crew as she maneuvered her sport ute to my side of the street calling from her open window:

Her: I’m sorry, but can I ask you a question.
Me: OK
Her: Are you in pain?
Me: I guess, a little. I was just at the chiropractor.
Her: This may sound weird, but can I pray with you?
Me: Yeah, sure...

And she did. Right there from her SUV, with me on the curb, she asked the Great Physician to heal me. After she said amen, she explained that she had listened to a CD that morning about how Jesus spent His time on earth seeking out people who were hurting. When she saw me struggling down the sidewalk, she was compelled to stop. Before she drove away, she said she’d understand if I thought she was weird. I told her I thought she was brave. What could be more selfless than to stop in the middle of a trip to the Post Office to offer a prayer of encouragement to a total stranger? How different from the self-seeking housewives on Bravo. What lessons about judging, priorities, being available, and courage was the ancient carpenter teaching me? What healing has been granted to me because of the prayer of this housewife?

12 Comments:

Blogger Carol said...

May another housewife in shouchy sox sitting up too late in front of the computer continue that prayer for your healing.

Sun Apr 30, 11:51:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Amanda Peterson said...

After being addicted to Desperate for season 1 and being terribly disapointed in season 2 (enough to stop watching after the first few episodes), I have been amazed by the truth of so many "desperate" housewives I know in my life. Praise God that those I know are more like your Acura-driving, Jesus-living housewife, desperate for higher things not of this world. Huge props to my sister, Kaelea, my mentor Patrice and so many others!

Mon May 01, 10:20:00 AM PDT  
Blogger CJ said...

WOW!!!

I'll be praying for that cranky back as well.

Mon May 01, 10:38:00 AM PDT  
Blogger kristi w said...

What a great testimony! I am amazed at her bravery - something I have been thinking a lot about lately and aspiring towards.

Praying for your complete recovery!

Mon May 01, 01:10:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Father, thank You for looking at us from the inside out; please teach me to do that as well...

Tue May 02, 05:36:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Rizzle said...

great story. SOrry 'bout your back.

Tue May 02, 09:21:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Jason Hill said...

Thanks everyone. After a week of rest, adjustments, and prayers, I am much straighter. I even played volleyball last night. God is good

Tue May 02, 09:32:00 AM PDT  
Blogger kristi said...

Jason,
sorry to hear about your back, let your "family" know if you need anything.

It seems like when you have lost hope in humanity something happens that makes you say "WOW!!!" Just the other day I was in Target and some man helped a woman in a wheelchair with something off the shelf. For some reason it really touched me and caught my eye. But I have never seen a total stranger stop and pray over anyother strager before.

Tue May 02, 09:34:00 AM PDT  
Blogger dodyb said...

I know 'xactly what you went through. Isn't fun by any descrition. I don't know about playing vollyball so soon, you are very brave.
I am impressed by the drive-by housewife and would like to be as brave as she it. Will be praying for you.

Tue May 02, 11:26:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Cheryl said...

This testimony brings me to tears. Jeff and I drove through Fairview last night and my culture stressed brain didn't quite know what to do with it...as with so many other "villages" like it. How many times will He have to tell me..."it doesn't matter what they look like...I love them all..." Bless you friend...glad you are on the mend.

Tue May 02, 10:03:00 PM PDT  
Blogger KMiV said...

You broke your back! I didn't know that. Sorry to have been so pushy Sunday.

Ron

Tue May 02, 11:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger rebecca marie said...

how did i miss this story?

what an awesome angel you encountered. i hope your response gave her an extra measure of courage to keep touching lives like that.

Tue May 16, 08:47:00 AM PDT  

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