Yes, I was quite the daredevil.
The house where I grew up, there is this sidewalk which runs the length of the yard, from the garage at one end all the way down to the steps of the front porch, where it makes a 90 degree right turn and runs out to the street. The length from the garage to the steps was a good 150-200 feet and had a slight incline to it, allowing you to gather speed rather quickly. In the straight-line that continued where the right turn began was another 75 feet of grass that made its way around a low wall and onto the street as well. A huge maple tree stood at the corner of this wall. Over time, its roots had essentially caused a healthy one foot drop between the general level of the yard. It's hard to explain, you'd just have to see what I'm talking about, but in a word, it was like one big stair-step in the ground that protuded maybe three or foor feet from the trunk. Along the edge of this step was the root itself, creating a nice little bump before the drop off.
In addition to the cast, bruise, and stitches conditions afforded to us by the geography, my brothers and I also constructed a make-shift ramp from a piece of plywood and a couple of cinder blocks that we would place in the right angle of sidewalk at the bottom of the hill, just where the grass began. In a good pair of Keds and the energy that only comes with pre-adolescence we would tear down the sidewalk on our bicycles and hit that ramp at a good 20-25mph, catching all manner of air. It wasn't a good jump unless the leaves of the maple tree branches were brushing your hair. Upon landing, the trick was to slightly hit the brake, and lean right, causing a very delicate skid to the left, enabling youto make the turn and hit the root-step for the small jump, which was less about the air but about having the finesse to pull-off the manuever at that speed in the first place.
As I got older, my bike was my instrument of freedom. I grew up in rural Kentucky, so the distance from neighbors was considerable. Your "next door" neighbor might be a half mile down the road, so my bike enabled the maintenance of social circles, especially in summer-time when there was no school to provide interaction. It was also my instrument for exploration. Many a summer day was spent "on the road" with friends, leaving no asphalt or gravel lane in a 10 mile raidus unexplored. They would become all day excursions as a pack of youngsters would set out with only a couple of bucks in their pockets for lunch at a general store. The rivers, creeks and well pumps kept us hydrated as we roamed the cedar and limestone landscape of the central Kentucky country-side.
Much later in adolescence and throughout adulthood, while I never kept a bicycle much after obtaining the ability to drive, I've always been fond of taking nice excursions on them when presented with the opportunity to do so. I've taken long trips on them through the countryside back home to bring back the sort of nostalgia as presented you in the previous paragraph, or explored new landscapes like the city streets of Lexington. How many of you Lexingtonians reading this can say you've ridden a bicycle from the top of the parking garage at the DMV downtown all the way down it's spiral exit ramp to the bottom as fast as you could on a ten speed? I did it once on a Sunday evening in college. You should try it some time!
So, imagine my surprise to arrive at my parents house and find, of all things, a unicycle.
I had never ridden a unicycle, so I had to try it. I don't know why it was there or whose it was. I straddled the seat and began cycling. It was so easy. I cycled up and down the sidewalk and, with my confidence gained, out into the street. It was a nice day and I had nothing to do, so I decided to take it for a real spin. I rode it down the twsiting roads of the countryside and before you know it, I found myself in the town of Willisburg, a good 8 miles from the house. Willisburg, KY is just a widespot in the road with a store and rows of houses. It had been a while since I had been in Willisburg, but it seems like I recalled that at one time they had tried having a pizza delivery location in town but it wasn't where I recalled it being. I rode through town on my unicycle and out the other end of town where I went to elementary school. It's a boys' reformitory now with a high, chain-link fence surrounding the property. The stretch of road that runs by the school is the beginning of a long descent. With all manner of confidence now in my new mode of transport I begin to pick up speed. Faster and faster I pedaled into the growing gravitational pull.
I imagine I was must've achieved a speed nearing 50 mph before I lost control.
In that split-second where I knew I was coming off of the cycle and there was nothing I was going to be able to do about it, my mind instantly imagined the possibilities. Would I tumble end over end along the asphalt eventually becoming a human skid mark or would I veer over the edge into the hollow to the side of the road into the proverbial briars and brambles of the Kentcuky wild? I decided to stick with trying to stay on the asphalt so that at least there was a chance my body could be found. I landed feet first and soon... was running at 50mph! It hurt like hell too! My feet were slapping the pavement wildly as I maintained my upright posture, my legs moving automatically back and forth as my arms windmilled in an attempt to keep my balance. Eventually though, since humans don't naturally move at speeds such as this, my momentum rapidly slowed and I came to a stop, and there I was, standing in the middle of the street.
I couldn't believe it. I mean I really couldn't believe it. It was so unbelievable in fact that it was at that exact moment that I woke up from the dream.
Ahh, dreams. I was beginning to worry that I was back to never remembering them anymore. I generally don't remember my dreams, but a few months ago I went through this weird phase where I was remembering them all the time. Just earlier this week I was thinking to myself that I hadn't had a good, vivid dream since then. And then, all of a sudden in the past two nights, I've begun remembering them again. The unicycle dream I just had tonight. I woke up from it and I thought, oh cool, a dream. I went back to sleep and had another one but now it's already faded. It'll probably occur to me later today. Dreams just don't stay with me for very long, which is why I try and capture them in words as soon as I can.
I had one last night about Agnes. I don't remember any great details about it, other than she was visiting me in Kentucky for some reason and meeting all of my friends and family. It was so real and it felt so great. For those of you who don't know who Agnes is, there's a big, long story behind it that I don't feel like going into right now and the a journal entry that used to explain it all was in the_crush_list (<--you see the problem?). To make a long story short, she's a girl I met a couple of years ago from Poland, and on the basis of a three hour, chance meeting with a complete stranger I have had just the tiniest little obsession with her. I missed an opportunity to visit with her earlier this year when she was in the states and I guess it's been on my mind lately that I blew that. I have considered sending her an email to see how she's doing and just haven't gotten around to it. I'm not even sure that I want to. I probably need to do a complete entry on this just to preserve the story and explain things. Maybe sometime later this week.
Anyway, I had another dream about working in restaurants again. I know where this stemmed from. This stems from a journal entry by glockguy considering going to work in the pizza delivery business. I worked in pizza delivery upto and including general manager for nearly ten years. The night I read his journal entry I posted a lengthy comment to it, with tips and suggestions about the type of work he could be getting himself into. When I went to save the journal entry though, I was informed by LJ that my 6000+ character comment exceeded the allowable 4300 max. Fucking nazis! On top of that, when I went back to whittle the comment down or break it up into two comments, it was completely gone. Talk about irritating.
I don't remember much of the details of that dream either, since it's now been a day or two since I had it. But I remember the general feeling of enjoying working around people again. That's one of the things that is hard about my current line of work is the absence of social networks. As an adult, most of the new acquaintances you typically make in life center around your place of employment, which means that most of my current friends are from past jobs or from school. This, I think is one of the reasons why I have become the LJ junkie I have - it's an avenue to get to know people, even if only through journal entries and I have had the occasion to even meet two of you ( elspazz0 and sparklymegz). I even maintain a half-assed friendship with sparklymegz with occasional phone conversations and hang outs when I'm home. I say half-assed 'cos that's realistically all my lifestyle allows for, pretty much.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not wallowing. I love my life right now. But nothing is perfect and situations all have thier yin and yang, I'm just idenitfying it, not begrudging it.
Well, maybe a little.