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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Living dangerously

Some memories stay with you forever.  Such as the time I got my bum pinched by Witchy Poo in the May Day parade.  Every child in the village was terrified of her - this tiny but scary looking woman, always dressed head to toe in black and pushing an empty pram everywhere.  We always used to run past her house as fast as we possibly could and me, with my typical luck had to do it more than anyone else. 

Heaven knows why she pinched MY bum that day out of a whole village full of people.  It scared me half to death!  But then I've always been a magnet for mad people and still am.  In fact it's got worse as I've got older.  If there's a glue sniffer on a train you can make darn sure he'll sniff me out too, just to make my journey that little bit more eventful.  I remember years ago sitting in McDonalds and happily tucking into my quarter pounder when a man at the next table started talking to me in a low voice.  I smiled benignly and said 'pardon' before leaping up and bidding a hasty exit when I realised that what he was saying was extremely rude.  Looking back I should have asked him to repeat it so I could have written it down and gone on to make my fortune with a nineties-style 'Fifty Shades of Grey' - but we weren't like that back then, were we?  And besides, this chap was definitely no Christian Grey; more like a toothless Danny de Vito.

Then there was the time when Liam was about two years old and we had to get a security guard to get us safely to our car when a rather odd chap decided to stick to us like glue in Pak n Save.  That really shook me up but I think the nastiest experience I can recall was last year when I was training for the Auckland Marathon.  It was just a regular week-day afternoon and I was running along the beach as usual when a large man dressed all in black appeared out of the sand dunes and started running after me.  I wasn't too worried to begin with.  I could tell from the way he was staggering that he had to be drunk and besides, he was obviously overweight and I was a long distance runner!  There was no way he was going to be able to keep up with me.  But he did; he just kept going and going.  After 2km it became apparent that he was being fuelled by something a lot stronger than alcohol and that was when I got really scared.  There was nobody home for me to ring and there wasn't another soul on the beach.  Eventually I managed to get sufficiently ahead of him to duck into a sand dune and by some miracle somebody was standing in the window of one of the beach front holiday homes.  He quickly smuggled me through his house, out through the other side and onto the safety of the road before my pursuer could see where I had gone.  Too close for comfort if you ask me!

Would you walk a swing bridge from here to here?!

However last week's encounter wasn't too bad; in fact it was quite thought provoking.  Once again I was at the beach, this time walking, when a very big man came walking out of the sea towards me.  'Tell me', he said, gesturing towards the two landmark islands off Whangamata beach.  'If there was a swing bridge from one island to the other - would you walk across it?'  'Umm... no', I replied.  'I would have to say no because I'm no good with heights'.  'Well you'd be much better about them once you had walked across that though, wouldn't you?' came the reply.  'I guess I would!' I had to agree.  'You want to take more risks in life y'know.  Live more dangerously!' came the lofty reply.  'Maybe I do!' I agreed once again.  From there we went into an earnest discussion about the Seven Sisters (I didn't know what on earth they were and had to rush home and Google them), trouble brewing in the Middle East and goodness only knows what else before he turned his attentions towards a little old lady and I was left to go on my merry way.

But it did get me thinking.  Do I need to take more risks?  Should I indeed make the effort to live more dangerously?  And I started thinking about a common topic in today's society - bucket lists - a list of things you want to see or do before you die; some goals for me to aspire to.  And you know what?  I couldn't think of a darn thing!  Sure, there are some things I would LIKE to do.  I would LIKE to learn how to surf.  I would LIKE to learn how to play Enter Sandman by Metallica on the drums.  I would LIKE to visit Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia.  But none of them are burning desires.  If I were to kick the bucket tomorrow I wouldn't feel any worse for not doing any of them.  Which leads me to think that in that case, I must have had a pretty good life so far!

TODAY I LEARNED: Bucket lists might be all the rage but it doesn't mean you haven't lived if you don't have one!

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