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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Feeling Alive

At the Evil Day Job (EDJ) yesterday we were talking about these guys who leap from building to building. There's a name for it, which I've forgotten, and it's apparently a sport with training facilities and everything. Um, this is definitely one of those things that has me scratching my head because no matter how much athleticism is involved, some things just aren't sports. They're past times. There's a difference. :-)

We also talked about those squirrel jumper people who leap off like mountains and try to "fly" down as far as they can without opening their parachute. Again, this is considered a sport, and again, I don't think so. But that's not the point of this blog.

When I expressed my opinion, which was basically who in their right mind would do stuff like this, one of the engineers said something that I haven't been able to stop thinking about since then. I don't remember exactly how he phrased it, but the gist of it was that when he does adrenaline-laden things that at least he's alive and not just living.

I wish I'd caught what he was saying a few seconds sooner because the conversation veered before I processed his words enough to get what he was saying. I'd love to question him on this for a couple of reasons. The first is that he was implying that people (like me) who don't do things like this aren't living. The second is that I'd love to know why he equates an adrenaline rush with being alive.

Cause you see, I totally disagree with him. You see, I can sit out on my deck and watch the birds fly around my backyard and I feel totally at peace and totally alive. No adrenaline involved, just enjoying what life has to offer.

I feel alive when I'm working on my stories, knowing in some corner of my mind that I'm offering my life's passion to the world. That people will read my stories and be entertained (hopefully) and transported into the world of my book and the lives of my characters.

Hell, I feel alive standing in my backyard and watering my flowers. :-) Last summer, I even had a hummingbird hovering next to me. And I feel alive when I see joy spread across someone else's face.

So his feeling that they only way to feel alive is to do something that causes an adrenaline rush is so opposite of everything I've experienced, that I totally don't understand it. That's why I'd like to question him and understand.

I've never, ever had any desire to jump out of airplanes, hang glide, para-sail or leap across rooftops in an urban environment. I've never wanted to jump off mountains or cliffs or scale mountains, then repel down them again. None of these things seem like fun to me in any way, shape or form. But more than that, I don't understand why he thinks doing something that gives him an adrenaline charge is the only way to feel alive. And I do want to understand. Maybe it's because I'm a writer and like to dissect people, but I'm hugely curious.

Part of the problem is that I'm polar opposites with this engineer. Everything he likes to do sounds like my idea of hell on Earth--or darn close to it, anyway. :-) And I'm sure he'd hate the things that I like to do. So since we're so different maybe I won't be able to ever understand why he feels the way he does. And I admit it, my own bias makes me believe that he's totally wrong about what feeling alive means. :-) That'll make it even tougher for me to get it. But I think it would be really interesting to write a character who thinks like this, so I'd like to try.