crazy moi?

Est soy Loca/Ya soshla s uma/crazy moi…?

I remember watching some Vin Diesel action flick (triple x?) and being startled at one point to realize that a stunt they were pulling off as crazy-intense-action scene…is actually something I’ve done. “Huh.” To the immortal dumb 20-something I was…seemed to make sense at the time: changing drivers at some 85 mph on the Interstate. In fact, I’ve done both ways at separate times…crawled into the drivers seat while someone else slipped out, and crawled out of the drivers seat once while someone else slipped in. For the life of me, I cannot remember why we couldn’t stop at the time, or rather…while changing drivers while speeding down an interstate seemed more convenient than simply pulling over. See: “immortal dumb 20-something”.

I recently came across something else it hadn’t occurred to me was so `crazy’ until someone else described it so: jumping a train. This was more a matter of necessity in Grinnell, though. There’s a train that runs right through the middle of the college grounds there…very very rude, really, in my opinion. So if you happen to be late for some reason, which is also a standard at Grinnell, jumping the train, crossing to the other side of it, then jump-rolling away = perfectly sane. (right? ;)

It’s a strange light to think back on things from – suddenly occurs to me how wild-seeming some of the things I’ve done is, even though we were never really thinking that at the time. I remember scaling a bank in Grinnell late at night once, because it has a famous “jewel box” window in it that’s very beautiful and we all took turns climbing the bank at like…3 or 4 am and snapping pictures of ourselves posing in the middle of it. It was someone else’s camera, though, and now I’m sad I never got around to getting a copy of that photo.  

We also broke into ARH once, a campus building, late at night. We had run off earlier that afternoon to do god knows what, then when we were coming back late that night, Henry realized he’d left his book bag…with the homework he needed, sitting on a bench inside. He was absolutely adamant that he had to have that book bag that night – though the rest of us were sure then & now he just wanted to see if we could break into ARH. There was an open window on the second floor, and it was decided Aletha could make it through it. My job was only to climb up a little and provide a “stepping spot” (with my knee) for Aletha on the way up. Of course, Hen crawled on up after her anyway and in they went. Back out a few moments later, with huge grins and book bag in hand. It’s not about damaging anything or being a nuisance…it’s about just seeing if you can do it. Simple and “harmless” unless one of us falls and breaks ourselves…which was a very real possibility. And there was, even, a moment of discussion about that. We really weren’t sure whether or not Aletha (or Hen for that matter!) could make the climb – we couldn’t fully see what was on the other side to come down with, and didn’t think she could come down the way she was going up. And I’m even afraid of heights and somehow I’d do this shit…cling to the side of a building and let someone step on me. Immortal, dumb 20-something, yep. All the way.

And that doesn’t even count all the stupid shit I’ve done that “seemed like a good idea at the time” but immediately recognized (er, ok post-turnout of situation) was maybe not-so-smart. That category includes things like knocking myself unconscious after failing to cross a ravine on a fallen tree. I woke up to a terrified boy scout face because this kid was sure he’d found a dead body. Apparently, the boy had seen me climb up on the tree and start to cross the ravine…then when he glanced back I was NOWHERE. I was basically fine, which was incredibly lucky. I wish I could say that was my most embarrassing moment, but I’m sure it’s not. Of course, these were the times I’d show up on campus with an ear-to-ear grin, but trying to look calm, cool and collected. My friend C would see that grin, and instantly say: “Oh god, what did you Do?“…which would turn my face bright red and send me into hysterical laughing. He got good at waiting patiently until I could regain myself, so he could hear about it and laugh too.

Of course these days I’d like to think I’ve gained some wisdom (or at least some caution). I can hope, anyway. I’m fairly sure Fate was only kind to my young 20-something because she was somewhere laughing her butt off. By a few years later Fates’ amusement begins to wear off and you suddenly become ‘mortal’. Damn & Blast! It’s true that I’m still physically unable to stay on a nature trail…but at least I’m more cautious (I think). I find myself wondering, suddenly, if Henry’s still alive? I lost contact with him long ago…he had left college to run off and be a bicycle courier in San Francisco, because he’d heard it was crazy adrenaline fun. According to Henry’s source, the sole objective of the SanFran auto traffic was not to get anywhere, but do to everything possible to stop a bicycle courier from living long enough to make a successful delivery. The goal of the bicycle couriers journey was, of course, to test your basic survivalist instinct. Off Hen goes. “So Henry”, really.


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