Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Wildest Moments Blogfest - How I walked the line
In a rather wild moment I entered the Wildest Moments blogfest thingy hosted by Sharon Baylis and promptly forgot about it because I was too busy doing clinically unwild things like shopping for nasal decongestants at Walgreens.
Those harried and semi-delusional bunch of souls who still read my blog (bless ya) may be aware there is nothing wild about Walgreens, although there is a strange Walgreens phenomenon that means you see a Walgreens every 20 seconds when driving, unless you are actually seeking one, in which case it takes hours to find one. Walgreen isn't wild in itself but, at least in my town, RiteAid is rather wild.
Finding a wild experience that I can also write about here is something of a challenge. If we are talking hardcore danger it would probably be the time I asked a cashier at Wal-Mart if she could change $5.
I have done some wild things careerwise, although some would describe them as foolhardy - like giving up my kick ass job in the heart of London to become unemployed in North Carolina (yeah that was a trip).
I did most of my most wild and dangerous things I when I was a teenager, as good as age as any other to be wild. Not that I inhaled. Danger, by its inherent nature carries risk. But without danger there would be no safety. Without danger we would die of boredom just as we would surely not appreciate peace without war, although this leads me to ask myself would we need to appreciate peace then because it wouldn't be peace it would just be like normal, wouldn't it?
I digress. When I was young I was attracted to railways (translated as railroads in the US). For a while this was a relatively safe thing. You can't do much damage by running a train set, although those 47 model diesels in the fetching yellow and blue livery of British Rail, can cut a large hole in the pocket of a teenager.
Soon we moved on to more dangerous things like walking the tracks and dodging trains. If my friends had been better versed in any other subject than where to get cigarettes and which girls had the biggest breasts in our class, they would have christened me Johnny Cash, I walked the line so much.
Trains in Britain weren't like the slow moving beasts in the US. There were fast InterCity services that would appear from nowhere and hurtle by at at least 100 mph.
Still we'd crawl through a hole in the fence and walk up and down the line at Randwick Park in the twilight. When the lines started to rattle and hum like Bono's leather pants, we'd dive down an embankment as the aluminium wheels swished by above our heads. Train jumping was a big adrenaline rush, particularly as we never knew what kind of bush we would end up in and whether it would be full of thorns. There was the added thrill of knowing we could break a leg.
It all went wrong on one terrifying occasion when three of us where nonchantly walking down the line when we heard a shout. We looked behind us and a small local train had crept up behind us and was just feet away. Andy and I dived down a bank. Steve wasn't so lucky. He fell to the tracks and as we heard the swishing sound we wondered if he'd be electrocuted, although the lines did not appear to be electrified.
The train passed right over his body and we lay there horrified. For what seemed like hours, but was only minutes carriages swish swished over his body. When the train had gone, we clambered up the bank to where Steve's body was on the tracks. We expected a mess of pulpy blood, but we just saw his dark coat. Then miraculously Steve got to his feet. The train had passed directly over his body as he lay between the tracks.
Don't try this at home kids.
After the aforementioned incident we were more cautious about the tracks, although we hung out on the side of the rail bridge where it passed over the high street. One night a man came into the yard of his home close to the tracks and started yelling and shining a flashlight. The excitement of the escape made the incident worthwhile even though we could have been trapped on the bridge by an oncoming train.
Soon after that some kind of sensible gene kicked in and we decided to instead get our kicks from train mooning.
Later that summer we turned our attention to the golden fields of corn and a game that involved digging great burrows in the corn, while the farmer tried to cut us to pieces with his tractor and its vicious blades.
All sorts of smug people in business have since told me I need to be a risk taker to get anywhere. But frankly I can't see how walking down the railroad or burrowing through wheat was really progressive in any way, shape or form.