Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Introduction: Nudie Pictures

::this is an abridged portion of the introductory chapter to one of the books I have been working on called 'Nudie Pictures'.  The book deals with being in between independent and completely under someone else's will.  Specifically this biographical work focuses on my time travelling, learning how to trust myself and other people.  It is written in chapters that stand alone as short stories but intertwine to create a cohesive plot::
  When I was a sophomore in high school our class took a trip to a ropes course.  A ropes course, to me, is sort of a junior’s version of S and M.  A place involving straps and ropes and accessories that rubs in all the wrong ways but when at just the angle, hurt so good.  After much shifting and tightening and squeezing into harnesses we were taught that this was not a place of bondage but rather a place of bonding.  This experience was to bring us closer to our peers, our teachers and most importantly our selves.  The course itself was an orchestration of trees and rope ladders strung together with pipelines and cables, all designed to challenge you mentally and physically.  Most symbolic of these activities was the quite literally and not at all subtly named “Leap of Faith”.  Although in theory I like the idea of being physically brilliant and I am sure that there is some potential value and practical application to walking on a two inch plank of wood 60 feet in the air, I tried my best to hang back.  I watched my friends do the Leap of Faith.  The Leap of Faith, while the most symbolic was also the most simplistic; a 100 foot pole stuck into the ground which you climb and jump off of in order to grab a trapeze or plummet in an uncontrolled free-fall towards the earth.  Certain people dominated the feeling, even fell on purpose.  One of my friends asked the man managing his harness to let him fall nearly to the ground before catching him.  I watched my friend, rocket towards the ground, falling steadily, fearlessly, hurtling towards the ground, and I wondered, how does he do that?  The residing and inarguable answer was ‘faith’.  He had faith in the harness, he had faith in the stranger who was taking care of his life, he had faith in the ropes, he had the confidence in his life that the feeling was something worth the risk; he knew well enough that the backup system was sufficient to take care of him.  ‘what a difference’ I thought as I scaled the glorified telephone pole, a difference between my friends’ fearless drop to safety and my anxiety filled climb to further discomfort.  I felt my exposed thigh being rubbed raw by the harness as I touched the top of the log.  “ok!” I yelled down “ok what?” the manager yelled back to me. “Ok, I’m ready to come down now” He laughed, I wasn’t kidding “now, read what the top of the log says and stand up on top of it.” I looked at the top of the pole; ‘trust thy self, every heart vibrates to that iron string- Emerson’ 'iron string?' I thought, though trying to quantify philosophy is the last thing I wished to be doing while dangling from a rope, had it said ‘trust thy strange man holding on to your rope, he will not drop you to your death’, I may have felt a stronger sense of ease.  “uhhh” I said “I think I want to come down now” I stood up, perched on a 6 inch wide stump and felt the entire 100 feet of wood beneath me tremble under my unbalanced stance. “Too late now, girly!” he yelled up to me ‘why am I ‘miss’ on the ground but suddenly when I’m swinging 100 feet in the air standing on a log I become ‘girly’, how has height advanced familiarity’ I thought to myself “I’m not going to drop you!” he continued “Ok…” the log shook again as I shifted my weight “ok” I continued “but what if…what if the rope breaks?” “These ropes can hold up to 5 tons, you think you weight more than that?” I scoured my memory, and in my panic it was entirely possible that I could have somehow, some way gained 5,000 pounds in the last 20 minutes.  “Just jump!” he called to me. For a moment I stared down at him and his surroundings of soft cushioning wood chips.  I was going to die, I had never been surer of anything in my life.  I looked at the trapeze and without a breath, I leapt.

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