Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Scared to Live, Scared to Die

This post is outside my usual 52/52 Project material. And, I generally don't post sad stuff, preferring to go for the laugh or the simply thought-provoking. But in looking through some old high school mementos tonight, I came across this poem written by an old classmate, back in the late seventies. I encouraged him to let me publish it in our school newspaper, but I never read into it what I truly should have. Several weeks later, he committed suicide.

It punched me in the stomach when I discovered it tonight. I so wish teens back then would have been trained to look for suicidal signs from their friends.

"I'm scared to live
I'm scared to die
I just survive
By staying high.
Reality is what
I must face
To stay a part
Of this human race.
My mind is gone
but not my heart
For to live
Is where I must start.
I am dead
My feelings shot
But I thank God
For what I've got.
I have my friends
A family too,
They all wonder
What to do.
They do not know
What my problem could be
They're not blind
But they still can't see.

My only problem is me."

I'm so sorry, Ted, that we didn't truly know you and didn't understand.

Reach out, people, to those who might need you.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Of Errors and Absurdities

As I come closer to completing my list of 52 new life adventures, I can honestly say I don't regret undertaking any of them.

A few had the best possible outcomes:
  • The eight total strangers I invited to my "stranger party" have become true friends, and we now get together on a monthly basis.
  • I still can't believe my great fortune that my unscheduled first available flight out of the airport--amidst a never-ending Midwest winter--took me to Fort Myers, Florida.
  • I am enormously relieved that I didn't get a spot on Survivor. Because, let's be honest: How long could I truly survive?
Yet, do I wish any of my ventures had resulted in a slightly different outcome? Oh, hell yes.
  • I wish I had managed just a couple graceful steps in my belly dancing classes.
  • I regret not finding some way to reconnect with the homeless woman I took to lunch.
  • I feel certain my tent-camping alone experience would have been far more enjoyable if I'd brought along a six-pack of beer.
  • I would like to say I got at least one freaking date on Match.com, though preferably not with a serial killer or avid camper.
I recently came across this quote, by 18th century writer Fanny Burney, which sums up the 52/52 Project fairly well:

"It’s a delightful thing to think of perfection; but it’s vastly more amusing to talk of errors and absurdities.”

The past year has been chock-full of errors and absurdities. Even when I've failed, I have still found most of my experiences enlightening and often amusing, indeed.

Who needs perfection?

What would you change about the last time you tried something new? Have you learned as much from your failures as you have from your successes? When's the last time you were able to laugh at yourself?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I Ain't Afraid of No Ghosts

My friend, Marion, and me: BEFORE we were scared silly. 

A half-dozen celebrity ghost-hunters, 175 practicing amateurs and aficionados, and one paranormal virgin enter a haunted prison.

Oh, you're waiting for the punch line? No joke: This was one weird and eerie experience.

As a newbie who entered the old Mansfield Reformatory last night out of curiosity--being somewhat open-minded but fairly skeptical--I left there early the next morning thinking anything is possible.

Was there possibly staged or only imagined paranormal activity? Yes, indeed. Was there more to it? Hmm.

Strange voices who audibly answered our questions via "spirit boxes"? Check. An unexplained "orb" in a totally dark cellar? Check. Two knocks when the three of us asked in the same empty cellar for a spirit to tap on the pipes? Check.

A paranormal virgin and one of her best friends, clenching each other's arms in fear? Oh, HELL yes.

Who can say what can be easily accounted for and what might really exist, even if not so easily explained? Surely not me. Not now.

After our ghost-hunting experience, what clearly remains for my friend, Marion, and me are some creepy photos, a weird recording, and a couple welts we inflicted on each others' arms. Proof enough that it was one crazy and creepy night.

I ain't afraid of no ghosts.

Just the ones who might truly exist--and scare the living shit out of me.
Believer or not so much? Any paranormal experiences you can share?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Motoring Italian Style

So, my little training session at the Segway shop in Florence, Italy seemed to be going well. Until I tried to turn a corner in the lobby. Apparently, I attempted a wide turn when I should have taken a tight one, and I began spinning in circles. The harder I tried to stop, the quicker I spinned.

As the shop clerk shouted orders, the Segway bounced off walls. I tried jumping off, but hopping off this strange small motor vehicle--which was in gear, whirling uncontrollably, and slamming into walls--wasn't an option. Dizzy and disoriented, I crashed one last time into the wall and finally fell off, backwards. The clerk came to my rescue, perhaps a moment too late, and brought the Segway to a stop.

My mother ran out of the shop's bathroom, yelling, "What happened? What was that crash I heard?" But as the three of us glanced down, little explanation was necessary. The baseboards I knocked off two of the shop's walls--and which now lay broken on the floor--seemed to tell the story just fine.

Shop destruction and all, the clerk still signed off on my rental, and I headed out to the busy streets of Florence. Probably not a wise decision by either of us.

But I figured I'd already set the Segway-riding bar exceedingly low, so what did I have to lose? Per che' non?

Are you more Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday or Kevin James in Mall Cop?