Posted by: bullyforme | October 1, 2009

People really do that!

I got a text message. It was a “wrong number,” but it caught me off guard and started me thinking upon my somewhat boring existence. The message read something like, “Hey Alex! A bunch of us r going white water rafting up north this wknd, let me know if u want 2 go!” This was received by me on a Friday afternoon, so one has to assume that “Alex” is the type to not only go white water rafting up north, but would do so with a bunch of like-minded rafters, and on wicked short notice.

I’ll admit I was jealous of Alex. I was jealous that Alex has an exciting, spontaneous and active life (assumedly). I texted back to the person, “wrong number,” and I wanted to add, “but I’ll go rafting with the bunch of you!” although I know I would never have the guts to go. I’m the type of person who holds on to stairway railings and is afraid to walk across an icy parking lot – not exactly white water rafting material.

This little episode left me feeling a little glum. I often see kayaks perched on top of Subarus and think to myself, people really do that. People do exciting things all the time, they windsail, kayak, hike mountains, skydive, travel, have exciting jobs. I have friends who do such things. April hikes mountains in Colorado, Amber skydives and dirtbikes, Sharon moved to Australia, Heather studies medicine, Anne is a linguist, Shannen is a photographer, Brian plays music for a living. Here I am, boring mom, boring suburban homeowner, boring office manager. I go to little league games, I walk my dog. I run an office. I clean my house and mow my lawn (okay, not so much). My idea of exercise is a long walk through Prescott Park or a swim. I don’t even have what it takes to live in a big city.

So, today at lunch, I was stuck on the bridge. For those two readers I may have that don’t live near me, that means I was waiting for a drawbridge to do its thing and let a boat pass through in Portsmouth/Kittery. I saw that it was a big ship, the mother of all ships, being nudged along slowly by two tiny tugboats. This would take awhile. I started imagining the people who were aboard that boat, doing exciting things, having exciting careers, sailing the world. Here I was, stuck on a drawbridge waiting to get to the other side. I pouted at this literal metaphor of my life. Though I tried to continue pouting and feeling sorry for myself, I couldn’t help but feel awed by the beauty and immense presence of the ship. I sat on the bridge, over the bay, next to beautiful yachts, watching the boat slowly make its way under the bridge. I heard the seagulls, the wind, the waves lap at the sides of the bridge. I smelled the salty air. I could see the seaweed clinging to the structure and a loon grabbing some sushi.

It occurred to me that there is probably someone out in Kansas milking a cow or whatnot and feeling sorry for themselves that they never got to the ocean or see a drawbridge or watch a humongous Coast Guard ship being bullied along by two tiny tugs. I was reminded by these sights and sounds that there are reasons I am here where I am, doing what I do and living how I live.

I had a childhood and an early adulthood full of adventure and risk taking. I traveled the country and the world before I turned 18. I snorkeled in Guam among the reefs, I was chased to shore by an angry eel and swam alongside a friend as he photographed a shark. I was thrown by a wild paint pony. I was bitten by boonie dogs whose pathetic lives I tried to save. I had a wild adolescence. I ran away from home. I walked alone, with a backpack, through sketchy neighborhoods at 2 AM. I was lucky to escape with my life many times during these years. I lived in Italy, I visited Rome, Florence, Sienna, Pompeii, Pisa. I learned the language, I dated hot Italian guys. I wonder if Alex ever climbed the leaning tower of Pisa, wandered through the rubble of Pompeii, or stood in front of the Pieta or the David. (snort!)

When I was 19 I set foot in New England and, after an entire childhood of moving from state to state to territory to foreign country I swore I would never again relocate, though I continued to hop from apartment to apartment. In my 20s, I played in bands, all over New England; I wrote a hundred songs. I had a thousand adventures with the love of my life. We would sneak into the amusement park and ride the ferris wheel overlooking the ocean at twilight. We would wait for low tide at midnight and cross the divide to the Nubble lighthouse and back again.

My adventures have gradually tapered off to haunting Fenway Park with my mom, rolling in the waves at York Beach with my kids, romps with the pups at the dogpark and such. I eventually became the comfort zone hugger that I am today. I much prefer to live vicariously through Bear Grylls and the adventures of my two sons.

Looking back on my life, I can see that contrary to current appearances, I have done all that. Without further regret, I give myself permission to be a boring, suburban home-owning, little league mom. I don’t have to be Bear Grylls or conquer (the rest of) the world, at least not until the final kid is grown. In the meanwhile I’ll enjoy watching boats while stuck on the bridge.




  1. P.S. How cool is that last link? I could watch that a million times.

  2. EXACTLY!!! BTW – Australia is sometimes rather ordinary and nothing replaces the great weekend evenings at your house with the girls getting silly with various instruments! Miss you bunches!!


  3. We’ll do it all again someday!

  4. “Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.” Paul Simon

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