Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cruise Control - Part 25: The Sadness of Sudden Stoppage

Click Here to read the previous entry in this series…

  Tiffany. Dangling. And her thoughts whilst awaiting rescue from the  midpoint of a zip line.

  Well, isn’t this just great. I knew right at the very second that I agreed to go on this little adventure that I wasn’t gonna be happy before the deed was done. Too many things can go wrong when you defy nature and try to participate in sports that mess around with gravity. But did I listen to myself? Of course not. Everybody else was so psyched about doing something new and different that I didn’t want to be the Nellie Oleson of the group and I acted like it was the best idea ever.

  Note to self: Stop agreeing to anything after alcoholic beverages have been introduced into the conversation. We should know this by now.

  Now, personal paths to enlightenment aside, what the hell am I supposed to do at this point? I have one hand trapped in a device probably designed by Satan himself, the other hand is clutching my little lifeline with an intensity that would make Charles Manson refuse to come out of his cell, and my ass is swaying in the breeze like some jacked-up tropical flower that Etta James would sing about after her man done her wrong once again.

  I really don’t have any prior life experiences that can compare to this. And momma certainly never told me there’d be days like this. I missed a memo somewhere.

  And what’s up with the Happy Men? Why aren’t they doing anything to make this situation go away? I don’t know what the people behind me are doing, because I can’t turn around, but I do believe I hear someone giggling, and that person will suffer immensely once I get back to solid ground. But the people in front of me? They’re just staring at me like this has never happened before in the history of Earth.

  I hate them. Just because they can see me. Can they not figure out that I have an issue here? I’m stuck, people. Not moving. Why are you just standing there? Are you waiting for me to pull out a Hogwarts wand and mutter some type of Momentum Spell? I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. Me pull out a gun and shoot all witnesses of this incident? Well, that’s still on the table.

  Oh, wait. The Happy Man at the receiving end has had some type of inspiration and is now barking into a walkie-talkie. This development might have some promise. Then again, he might just be ordering pizza. I have no idea. I can’t lip read when a harness strap is separating my butt cheeks and my arm is frozen skyward. A little bit hard to focus.

  Okay, now Forward Happy Man has turned off his little transponder and is reaching up for the main line, throwing his legs upward and scooting my way. This is probably a positive sign, although I must admit that on the other zip run where I had to be rescued by an unknown man’s legs, I really didn’t know what was coming. I was just hanging there, and then I suddenly had thighs clutching my waist. Nobody even bought me a drink, it happened that fast. There really should be a brochure that would let a girl know what to expect. Just sayin.

  But this is a really long run, and it’s going to take Spider Man a while to make his way over here. I’m not really impressed with that angle, but it’s not like I have a lot of choice. I just have to remain calm and wait for the conjugal visit. But I’m not calm. How could I be? I’m blowing in the wind at least 200 feet above a patch of ground that looks very rocky and unsatisfactory. I am not going to be pretty if I end up down there.

  Okay, wait. I just need to breathe and quit getting all neurotic about this, even if that’s the way I was raised, in a small Missouri town where they don’t have malfunctioning zip lines that test a person’s sanity. Surely this will all be over in mere minutes, and my momentary shame and degradation will become something that we never speak of again. Besides, my lip gloss is stunning, I checked it just before I plunged off the Platform of Death. Even when I screamed in total fear, I remained moist and dewy.

  But what’s taking Spider Man so long? He doesn’t seem to be really invested in the rescue operation. He sure looks like he’s taking his time, waving to all the paparazzi hiding in the trees, those pesky photographers that are constantly following me around and trying to catch me in an unglamorous pose. Thank God that rarely happens, with my natural beauty forcefully overcoming things like poor lighting and cheap cameras.

  Hold up, Spidey just came to a halt, hanging there in a very immobile way. He’s yelling something over his head at one of the other Happy Men. I can’t hear what he’s saying, but he’s uttering far too many words for this to be a conversation about how successful my rescue mission is going. The other Happy Man just leapt off the side of the landing platform and went running into the jungle. Spider Man is still just parked there and continuing to not save me.

  Oh dear God, what if they have decided that the risk of preventing my potential plummet is not worth the gain of my triumphant return to non-airborne society? (Yes, I realize that the concept of someone not wanting to save incomparable me is shocking and unbelievable, but these tragedies can happen when people are raised on remote islands and possibly even home-schooled.) What if they simply leave me hanging here?

  The horror. And the rudeness.

  Hours later, as twilight deepens and caresses the lush tropical foliage that some very-convincing set designer has placed around me, I will still be hanging here, gently swaying. I imagine that I will be quite parched at that point, with things drying out despite my wearing of lip gloss that has such an astounding moisture content that global scientists are studying how my lips could possibly be used to convert the Gobi Desert into a water park.

  Suddenly, my dryness is interrupted by the sound of a snapping twig. Why I can hear this snappage is unclear, what with me being miles in the air and nowhere near small branches that have been carelessly tossed to the ground, but hear it I do. I shake my head to clear away the remnants of a pleasant daydream wherein the world was mourning my possible loss in the jungles of Jamaica, and I try to take stock of my surroundings.

  The first thing my incredibly sharp and perceptive mind notices is that when it gets dark in this jungle, visibility should no longer be a featured selling point in the entertainment brochures for this place. Despite my squinting and my adjusting the angle of my head several times to make sure my flowing locks were flowing in the most photographic manner as I studied the landscape, I really couldn’t see anything.

  Well, except for the fact that the landing platform off yonder was completely devoid of humanity. Everyone was gone. This irked me greatly. I could understand that the workers had gone home, because they were probably in a union and had to adhere to strict shift-duration guidelines. (Despite the rumors printed in that trashy tabloid, I really do understand things like workers’ rights and maintaining a respectful work environment. Except when such things result in me not being able to order a cocktail at the precise moment that I want one.)

  No, the truly troublesome aspect of the lack of people around me at the present time was that my so-called friends had hopped on the “oh, she’ll be fine hanging there for a while” bus and headed for another locale where they could continue to not care about people they supposedly loved. That was the angle that was getting under my skin, the relative ease with which they abandoned me.

  And after all I’ve done for them through the years. Do they not understand how much work it is being this glamorous and beautiful all the time? Okay, perhaps “work” is not quite the right word, because glamour and beauty are actually in my DNA, and all I really have to do is walk into a room and both of those things shoot out of my various orifices with relative ease. But still, I have walked into countless rooms for these people. Countless!

  Yet at the first tiniest sign of trouble, like my possible death over a nameless gorge in a stupid jungle where they clearly don’t even have adequate room service, my little friends go running off for any destination that doesn’t require them to assist me in any way. Really? Apparently it’s just too much to ask for them to lift a finger and prevent me from tumbling on to that goat down there. They are so not getting invited to any social engagements I might produce in the near future.

  Wait a minute. Goat? Why is there a goat standing below me and apparently nibbling on something tasty he has discovered growing on the ground? This has completely ruined my narrative, this sudden introduction of unexpectedness. I mean, I realize that goats are things that could potentially appear at random, but they are not high on my awareness list. If a reporter had interviewed me earlier this morning and had asked “If you were near death, what form of livestock do you think would appear?”, I’m fairly certain that my response would not have been “Why, a goat, of course. Who doesn’t dream of that?”.

  But now we had a goat, nevertheless. And he was the only one who had bothered to stay by my side during a moment of personal tragedy. (We won’t discuss the fact that he was clearly more focused on rooting at that weed than getting me down off this zip-line, but at least he hadn’t dashed off with the others in search of libations and unconcern about people trapped on mid-air conveyances.) He was my only hope of salvation at the moment, and I had best engage him in some friendly conversation.

  “Hey, goat,” said I.

  The goat responded with no response, still rooting.

  Well, then. This was proving more difficult than I had envisioned, and I was already bored and tired. But I didn’t become world-famous by giving up easily.

  “Hey, goat,” I repeated, more loudly, with a slight hint of authority in case he was one of those S&M goats one reads about, but not too much force in case he was one of those nonviolent goats that would eventually join Greenpeace. “Would you mind holding off on your dinner and looking up here for just a smidge of a second?”

  The goat snorted, then suddenly raised his head and began looking everywhere around him except skywards.

  Great. I was dealing with more home-schooling. “Up here,” I clarified.

  Amazingly, the goat’s head tilted a bit and his eyes looked directly into mine. He belched slightly, perhaps in surprise or perhaps in greeting.

  Bingo. “Hi, there. Do you happen to know anybody that can get my ass off of this thing?”

  The goat just stared. I’m guessing he normally didn’t encounter requests such as mine in his daily routine of foraging for food and making irksome noises.

  I tried to spell I it out. “I’m stuck. I was just trying to do a fly-over of your little homestead, something didn’t work right, and now everybody has gone home to watch the premiere of True Blood.”

  The goat blinked.

  “Could you maybe help me out?”

  The goat opened his mouth. “I’m going to wrap my legs around you again.”

  What the hell?

  “M’am, are you okay? I need to wrap my legs around you again so I can pull you to the platform.”

  I opened my eyes.

  The mid-day sun was still shining brightly, dappling the greenery all around me. In the distance, I could see the landing platform, with some of my friends standing there anxiously, eyes worried but hopeful. Behind me, I could hear the rest of my friends shouting words of encouragement and eventual safety. Directly in front me, mere inches away, I spied a man on his back with his legs spread wide.

  I certainly recognized that particular stance. “Hello,” I said. “Nice to see you again. I guess I must have drifted off.”

  He brushed this away. “That’s okay. Happens all the time.”

  People fall asleep on a zip-line? Regularly?

  “Are you ready for me to grab you with my legs?”

  I smiled brightly. “I sure am. But could we do a little something first?”


  I wiggled the one arm that was still rigidly held in place over my head, the tips of my glove fingers locked into the pulley mechanism on the line. “Can we get my hand out of this damn thing? If we’re going to have trapeze-like sex again, it’s only polite of me to have both hands available.”

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