What Didn’t Happen

My last two months have held a series of adventures.

From getting stranded in an ice storm in Iowa to leaving my iPhone in a cab in Thailand, my recent experiences could easily be narrated by Lemony Snicket. Some of that just comes with traveling internationally, and some of it was completely unwarranted and just comes with Murphy’s Law. It’s basically been two months of solid blogging gold, and even other people have noticed. Some variation of, “This will be a great blog post,” has been said to me at least five times by different people.

But my blog has been quieter than the Western Front.

IMG_1670 2.jpgThis is not just because I’ve been traveling. I’m currently writing this on a plane, somewhere over Pennsylvania, because you can write anytime and anywhere, Sam I am. (I guess not in the dark, unless you have a charged electronic device, which tends to be elusive when traveling overseas. But unless you’re stuck in a closet with no electricity or technology, I feel like you don’t really have an excuse for not writing if you have something to write.)

And I am going to write about those things that happened. Because they’re dang crazy. Or at least worth sharing. I am going to tell you what happened when I ripped my pants on a 12 hour flight from China to LA. Just not right now.

Today I want to talk about what didn’t happen.

Let’s start with the age old question: if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, does it still make a sound?

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My not at all old answer: yes, but it sounds different.

(There’s also the question, if a man hears a tree fall in the forest and there’s no woman to hear it, is he still wrong? The answer to that one is, of course, no comment.)

Here are a few things that didn’t happen:

When I couldn’t get the flat tire off my car while freezing rain soaked straight through my clothes, no one cussed the skies with me or lent their body weight to the effort. No one helped me tell the story when I got back, a day later than I had planned, from that spontaneous trip to Nebraska.

When I had an overnight layover in China, there was no female friend to share the hotel room with me, to laugh at my inappropriate jokes about the window between the shower and bedroom. There was only the young woman I met in the airport, and she was already asleep as I explored the foreign room, so I didn’t talk and laugh out loud about this stranger hopefully not being a serial killer.

When I saw a vague message from my mother and knew my grandmother had died, no one at that Israeli restaurant cut through the sounds of raucous laughter and busy nighttime traffic in Thailand to join me in telling stories about a woman who lived a long and amazing life. Whatever I needed in that moment didn’t happen, simply because no one present knew what that was, including me.

I could go on. But my point is not to depress you, or me for that matter.

My point is that over the last two months I’ve noticed the things that didn’t happen, the things that are missing.

And almost every time it’s actually a person that’s missing. Not one specific person. A kind of person in my life. The kind of person with me who could say, “I’m in this boat with you,” or, at the very least, “I see you and I understand you and what’s happening.” Those things didn’t happen because the people directly around me couldn’t say that, or because I was alone.

(A brief note: absolutely none of this is a complaint against the people I was with, or the people who helped and comforted and laughed with me from a distance. I am incredibly grateful for the way my friends, coworkers, and even strangers supported and cared for me. You did what you could in the moment, and I appreciate that more than I can say.)

I have had the good fortune to have at least one of those persons with me on many of my life adventures. But they’ve been noticeably absent in the last two months, and it’s made my adventures less fun, less funny, less light-hearted, harder to to accept as especially colorful pages in the coloring book that is my life.

Screen Shot 2018-02-15 at 9.11.14 PM.pngI have a notepad given to me by one of my favorite persons; we used it to log our travels on a particularly adventurous road trip. The cover says, “You be Thelma. I’ll be Louise.” The story of Thelma and Louise wouldn’t be a story without both of them together. They were in the boat together, right up to the end.

My thought for the future: whenever possible, take that person with you. The extra baggage fees are definitely worth it.

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I Want Adventure in the Great Wide Somewhere

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Three weeks ago, at the height of my sleep deprivation, our AC died.

I grew up without this miracle of air conditioning, so I don’t consider it a necessity. Usually.

This particular week, though, the lack of American amenities felt rough. On Thursday night, in my confused, emotional state, I was already planning on sitting on my couch all day long, all weekend long, and doing a whole lot of nothing, trying to come back to normal.

“Okay,” I thought, “I’ll just be hot while I do nothing. It’s fine.” I was dripping while I thought this, by the way. And it was nearly 10pm.

I rounded the corner toward my room to get ready for bed, and there, in the hallway, poised to also enter my room, was a giant spider.

Now, in case you don’t know me well, you should know that spiders are really the only thing I am afraid of. And I am very afraid of them.

(Note: This is not your opportunity to start posting scary spider photos and articles and gifs on my wall or texting them to me. That will result in you very politely being unfriended and blocked. Just wanted to be honest. The situation is that serious.)

Well, I panicked, took a photo for verification purposes (“No, seriously, it really was huge!”) and went to get the vacuum. When I came back with the vacuum…

…it was gone.

The damn spider disappeared. Probably into my bed.

Nope. Not happening. The combination of overwhelming heat and a loose and completely disrespectful spider meant I was out of there.

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I discovered that I’d be really great at the “your house is burning down and you have two minutes to get out with everything you need” game. I grabbed my pillow, my toiletries bag, my work bag, clothes for the next day, then I took out the trash and I was out of that condo in 90 seconds flat.

For real.

I spent that night on the couch of some very comforting and understanding friends, but the next day, my fish and I moved to another friend’s house for the weekend.

ThinkstockPhotos-507271363She had AC, she had recently sprayed for spiders, and I needed a break. So I went and laid on her couch Friday night through Sunday, basically staring at the wall, and occasionally watching TV.

But about midway through Saturday, I realized I needed to do something. I couldn’t just sit around all weekend. Something needed to happen to redeem this hot mess of a week, which culminated in a literally hot and bug-infested weekend.

I ran through some options, including rock climbing and going to a shooting range, but I finally decided to go skydiving.

See, skydiving is on my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30, and since I turn 30 in March, I knew I would have to go soon before the weather got cold. So, what better way to redeem a terrible week and a worse weekend than to jump out of a plane?

I called the place and made a reservation, and three hours later I was harnessed to a nice young man, and both of us were staring down at cornfields approximately 12,000 feet below us.

It was awesome. And terrifying. But mostly awesome.

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And now, when I think about that weekend, I think, “Hey – I went skydiving!” Not, “Ugh, I ran away from a spider.”

Well, maybe a little of both. But mostly skydiving.

What adventures have you gone on to redeem your bad days? It doesn’t have to be skydiving. It can be little adventures. All adventures are good adventures.