Thursday, November 23, 2006
According to Inuit elders of the Canadian Arctic, most Polar bears are left-handed. Because of this, sometimes I wonder if life for right-handed Polar bears is just that much more difficult ... it must not be easy dealing with issues such as having to use can openers designed for left-handed bears and getting made fun of for being different while growing up. Note: the left- or right-handedness of the Polar bear in the file photo above is unknown.
This is my life. It's become a game. Sitting around a table where the next person sports a better poker-face than the last. My odds aren't good. The dealer deals. I peek at my cards. I can't believe my luck.
Well, lucky me - it all comes down to simple chemistry. Boyle's Law. At a given temperature, the product of pressure and volume must always be constant. No exceptions. So when the walls start to close, I know what's coming. I need an outlet. But one doesn't exist. It's not in the equation. It's not there. It can't be there.
Five countries in five days, in the month of May. "You travel insensibly!" laments the man from Milan, shaking his head with a passionate anger only an Italian can get away with. But I don't care. I find comfort in the urgency of places to see, people to meet. When I travel, time slows. I can think clearly again. Pressure eases. There's more air to breathe.
There are two outs in the bottom of the tenth, the game is tied, and our best hitter is at the dish. I'm the baserunner on first, representing the winning run. With an eye on the pitcher, I stretch my lead because a few extra inches could make all the difference. The pitcher wheels and delivers. The batter swings. I hear a loud crack! and take off. In my peripheral vision, I see the shortstop stretch for the ball, but it's way over his head. I round second in a burst of speed. I don't even need to look for the ball, I know it's in the gap and I know I can score. Halfway to third, I catch a glimpse of the third base coach. He's frenetically throwing up the stop sign. I ignore him. I'm fast - faster than the throw. There's no way they can get me. So I head for home, full throttle. The catcher is waiting for the ball, blocking the plate. "Slide around the tag," I tell myself, "slide around the tag and you won't be the third out." Just as the ball arrives, I hit the dirt. Through the cloud of dust, I reach for the plate with my left hand and immediately swivel my head to the right, toward the ump, for the call. This is my moment. I'll worry about Coach yelling at me later.
It was a late summer evening. She watched me make supper, like she usually did. We ate. I watched her do the dishes, like I usually did. We talked. Everything was nice but uneventful, simple but profound, plain but beautfiul. I didn't want the night to end because I was happy. Had I known it would be the last, I would've told her. I wanted to tell her. I never told her.
"Your move, Chief, last chance." So it's come down to this. One decision, black or white. I don't know what to do. I don't know which way to turn. It's not right. I'm not right.
Out of time. Paralyzed by fear, I peer over the edge and fail to consider the consequences. I close my eyes and take a step forward ... truth brings me back. Shaking, I crumple to the ground, in the safety of the spot on which I had been. I understand. There's time. This is not a game. This is my life.
Posted by dingobear at 22:59