Friday, October 31, 2008

"How Do You Even Know You're Alive?"

I am, as you may have noticed, a monster of arrogance and conceit, or so it sometimes feels.  A friend was trying to share a sense of excitement and joyful anticipation and I took it as chiding:
     "Haven't you ever wanted to hunt Cape Buffalo?"
     "No.  I loathe travel."
     "Even if you could be just teleported there from a luxury hotel?"
     "Even then." 
     ...Which prompted the response that is the title of this post.

     It's entirely unfair of me to use it as a springboard, but hey -- see para. one, first sentence.  Plus, life's unfair.

     It's not that I dislike excitement.  It's not that I especially care for the life of one noble beast in plentiful supply (better if they're tasty, though).  And it's not that I dislike shooting.

     But I feel no need to test myself.  I've been tested.  I get through, albeit with no style and little grace.  I know I can win through if there's a chance -- and I know sometimes there's no winning, just getting through with minimum damage.  I've done both, lots.

     I think it is just plain kewl as all get-out that other folks will  go after dangerous game or undertake a three-day climb up a sheer rock face.  I love reading about it.  I just don't care to go do it.  (Actually, the climb sounds fun but I prefer my plumbing indoors, or at least in a proper Chick Sale). 

     Having been shot at and missed, favored in love and then heartbroken, flush with funds and flat-out broke, hacked through a live 50A/208V circuit with plain cutters (hey, my buddies said it was off and I forgot Rule One), wrecked by the side of the road in Winter with no phone and no help in sight, curled up under the covers with four kittens in an unheated house in January, counted backwards for anesthesiologists more times than I can remember and mostly with nobody waitin' for me to come out on the other side,* in and out of serious debt, hailed as a genius and derided as a flake, I have seen the damn elephant plenty and I know I will again.  I don't have to go in search of it.

     But I'm pleased others do and return to tell the tale.  And I wish I was a better listener.
* Two words: persistent migraines.  Okay, two more: source unknown.  But they'll just about vanish if you make your mind up they're going to.


Brigid said...

And everything you've experienced has etched on our soul the words that you just now transcribed.

Which is why we are in awe of you.

Enjoy a quiet salad and a cider, you've earned it.

alan said...

Just proves that you are made of 100% awesome.

James E. Griffin said...

Sometimes, simply to endure is to triumph. Lord, do I aspire to quiet.

Somerled said...

Roberta, you might make a good farm person. When one spots "the elephant" and it runs them over, they get off the ground. Next they find baling wire and fasten the body back together plus whatever else the beast tore up. Then "the elephant" becomes hamburger or goes to the next sale.

It takes longer to get back up as years progress. It helps to have a nice wide-open place near the pens to land med-evac helicopters. :) Who needs Africa for excitement when one has all this?

Turk Turon said...

We who cherish you wouldn't have you any other way!

Modesty? Arrogance? Famous News Director once said, "Modesty is arrogance, waiting to pounce."

Captcha: sneake

og said...

I loathe travel as well. So when I went to Africa to hunt cape buffalo (No, I'm not the person with whom Roberta had this discussion) the travel was the part I loathed most. And I didn't get to see a buff, except for some horns on a wall.

I've also done a lot of things, and been in a lot of places. It is rarely what you make of those experiences or what they make of you. It is who you are to begin with. A good person will be a good person regardless of experience, and no hunt, or trip, or experience will make a decent person out of an ass.

That being said, lots of experiences make the person more interesting, and the experiences you have, Roberta, are amazing, amusing, and interesting. Keep telling us about them. We'll keep reading.

JohnMXL said...

Many years ago I had a poster that expressed similar experiences and ended with the tagline "[Expletive Deleted]! The only reason I'm sticking around is to see what's gonna happen next!"

Sounds like that sums up your reason for living, too!

Roberta X said...

There's that -- and then there's my fascination with reversing entropy, which is the one trait all us techies at the Skunk Works share. I can't keep tryin' to turn the nearby chaos into order if I'm not here!

og said...

You are an entropy warrior, for sure. I could use you at my home/place of business for about a month.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

No Cape Buff horns on your wall? Heck, we still love ya.

phlegmfatale said...

Well, we can't all be cham-peen privy builders.

You're fabulous.

staghounds said...

I often find myself saying that I have nothing to prove to anyone but myself, and I'm satisfied for now.

But I still do the things that put me at some risk too.

There is something about intensity, that know you're alive feeling. I wouldn't care to repeat the harmful or terrifying experiences (without knowing how they'd turn out!), but the good extreme ones are the best!

Wasn't it Winston Churchill who said that there is nothing like the feeling of having been shot at, and missed? It can be exhilarating to be in danger. More so after the danger has passed of course.

Walking toward risk by choice is a powerful awakener. It's also an act of self mastery that can't be simulated under controlled conditions. Much as I loved the slides.

I like my peace, but I don't want to live forever either.

So, a still a bit of both for me, thank you.