Life as an Extreme Sport


I was walking to my office, back from the HUB. It’s a pleasant walk along a tree-lined path, and while walking I noticed that the trees are turning. This is my last fall at UW.

This is probably my last fall in Seattle.

Time has suddenly become so much more precious.


I found myself in a gesture of familiarity yesterday that amused me, for its reference, and for its casualness – reaching across the office to nudge my officemate with my bare foot, as opposed to using a hand or my voice to get his attention. The reason? He needed to up the volume on Firefly. (Another one succubs and becomes one of us!)

Watching him watch Firefly has been immensely entertaining. We have a routine of watching some show or other together during the week, while working; we’d been going through CSI and CSI: Miami, so Firefly was a fun diversion. He was initially a touch apprehensive, but last night messaged me to tell me how much the theme had grown on him. By this afternoon, even the old west had grown – and that was only by Safe. Can’t wait to hear what he thought of disc three.

It’s fun to watch the show with someone else, and be able to laugh and talk and just share a sense of camaraderie. It’s also nice to drop into a comfort level where nudging with my foot seems a natural thing to do.

to move towards gracious

I’m feeling very isolated, sheltered, and alone again. I know enough now to realize that this is a sort of typical end of a project/quarter feeling for me, and I’m trying not to let it get to me. But I can’t get over the feeling that it all just goes on out there, extended and distant from me. I seem to be only capable of establishing the most tenuous of connection to people, and unable to nurture them to anything more than that.

Someone called me reserved the other day. It was surprising, but I think accurate. I’m such an odd mix, even to myself and I know me (given that I live with me, and all). On the one hand I am passionate and outgoing, cheerful and I wear my heart on my sleeve. On the other I keep everyone at arms distance, form few (if any) strong friendships, and keep myself isolated and alone.

I have these grand dreams of what I’d like life to be like. I see, in my minds eye, how clean and simple and pretty my home could be. I can see myself graciously entertaining guests with a light dinner, tea and conversation. I have this vision of a peaceful and serene existance, one that is mixed well with school, work, and social. And then I have life, which is so far from that vision that I cannot even see the road to move towards.

I’m sick. I’m tired. I have no energy, no motivation, and no food. (This last has suddenly become a growlingly present concern.) I don’t like being like this, but am stuck in a loop and I don’t see how to break it. I want to be different… but would it even matter? Would anyone even notice?

Angels on High

A single building-shaking rumble is all it takes to flood memories, of watermelons and lemonade and the everpresent scent of Banana Boat sunscreen. Flipflops and heat, the lazy dog days of summer spent lounging in the shade made by cooling towers on the top of the NEC building. Of wiping off sticky hands and reaching up to touch planes so massive and imposing by contrast to the smallness of child fingers. Being placed into the pilot seat and sitting there, surrounded by the unlucky ones who didn’t know those flying, and dreaming. Looking out that window and seeing possibilities and futures.

And of wanting so very, very badly to be in the sky. I would stand in awe of the massive planes and their arial ballets, thet swooshes and zooms and magnificence, and my body would wake up from the heat and laziness and I would feel so, so alive. Reaching up in vain effort to touch the planes as they came so close to the roof I could see inside, wave to those upside down friends. For so many years, I was convinced I’d break into Top Gun, and I’d become one of the first top female fighter pilots in the country. Dad slowly talked me out of enlisting; he knew it would be a bad fit for me, but the sound still brings that longing to be in the air, moving at such speeds, the only thing between me and the sky a bit of metal and plastic.

To this day, when I hear them, I jump up and run outside and I search and search until I see their sleek form shoot across the sky. Today, I saw them doing something I’ve never seen before (plane at an incline yet flying foward, not in the direction of its nose), and I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and stared, and found myself once again reaching out, trying to capture a bit of their essence as they blew by. Later on campus, I stood spinning in the quad as they flew over UW time and again.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to reconcile the fact that the planes themselves are machines of war, that they’re being used to kill people. But I can’t shake the nostalgia and awe, and longing to be in the sky. Give me an airshow every day of the year, if it means those planes will only be used to show off the skill of the pilots and the grace of the engineers.