This Fourth of July, I did this.
And lot of weird things happened while we did this that I think can be applied generously—using two fingers, a circular rubbing motion and adult supervision—to life.
Are you ready for me to turn this into one big nauseating twenty-something analogepiphany?!
(Analogy + epiphany = Deal with it)
OF COURSE YOU ARE. It’s why ya came!
On the left is my workwife; in the middle is her roommate; on the right, under the hair, me.
Ignore John’s titillating unamusement.
Did you guys hear that? The people? The comments?
Here’s what happened:
As we hung there, waiting for the cord to pull us back, the huge crowd that had gathered behind the safety fence began to speak. Began to shout.
Here’s a sampling, some of which you can actually hear in the video:
Drunken tanktop blonde mustache, straight ahead:
Hey! Bye!! Bye!! Wave goodbye!!!
Sk8er boi Bieber cut, slurping on Slurpee, to my left:
(Sarcastically) Yeah, it’s fine! The worst that could happen is the cord snaps, whatever!
Tall vaguely foreign large eyebrows, to my right:
Yeah, you’re scared now, huh? You’re scared now? You’re scared!
Short old guy, somehow in front of the fence, how did he get there:
SEE YOU IN HEAVEN.
(You can literally hear this guy, at 0:22)
Drunken tanktop, again:
Good luck, girls! See you after the ride, I hope! Haha! Byeeeee!!
Tall vaguely foreign, again:
Yeah. YOU SCARED.
My god, people are awful.
Take this in with me. What, what, makes people feel like it’s ok to make whacked-out comments like this before someone does something risky? What fired off in those peoples’ heads, to try to put fear and doubt into our heads when clearly, we already paid our $23.75 and there was no turning back?
What in the hell is that?
After our ride, after my eyeballs stopped vibrating so much and I was able to focus on my surroundings as they unstrapped us, I looked around and all those scary nay-sayers had dispersed. Where were they going now? Were they disappointed that our cord hadn’t snapped and we wouldn’t be seeing them in heaven?
Honestly, what in the hell is that?!
Here’s what I think.
We obviously aren’t the first stupid kids to ever get on that thing. Everyone knows how thrilling and fun and exhilarating the experience will pay off to be. But a lot of people don’t have the huevos to do it. Maybe putting your neck out there for something that will be huge, rewarding, incredible but probably terrifying — maybe that triggers peoples’ negative reactions because you gathered the guts and they didn’t. Maybe some people want to throw rocks at you because you. Have. Huevos.
Vaguely Foreign Dude was right about one thing, though: We were terrified. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life as those few moments high in the air, face down to the ground, watching the people below shrink, listening to the cords above us creak in the wind. I thought vaguely of fainting. Or peeing. But then Kaitlin pulled the cord and we flied. We freaking flied. And when we got down, the only people left in the crowd were the ones who were jumping out of their skin in excitement like we were, breathless, inspired, lining up to take their turn. The naysayers went somewhere else to heckle other things, grumble under their breath all the reasons they still wouldn’t do it.
So what I’m saying is:
I can’t wait for the day when I’m terrified of something again, feeling the risk, smelling the fear, looking down at the ground, knowing the payoff could be gigantic. In life, that is; not in creaky boardwalk rides. In a larger sense, I could say I’m now consistently taking risks and being terrified (Welcome to New York City!). But in terms of life goals, my career, that big, nebulous creative achievement that I’ve yet to figure out—I feel like there’s a bigger flight out there for me, a bigger stunt, and in a sick way, I’m excited for my own Coney Island hecklers.
That’s how I’ll know I’m about to do something like flying.
Something that makes people close their eyes and shout crazy things and tell me I’m ridiculous and want to put fear in my head.
Something that makes people jump up and down out of sheer inspiration and excitement.
Something that makes people record me on their iPhones and swear under their breath.
Something that makes someone else point at me and say, at first I was terrified, but because of her, now I want it.
Now I’m not scared anymore.
Sign me up—I want to fly, too.
Now the question is: What, exactly, will that thing be?
(Now taking suggestions!)