Thursday, 23 April 2009

La Fin du Moi

Your humble narrator had nearly met with his untimely end today but, as with so many gallant brushes with death, it was parried, seemingly, by the grace of god or some superphysical force in charge of making certain the tides come in timely and plagues are issued accordingly. Swept aside from the natural ebb of time and space, slapping logic, reason and probability in the face and handing me a certificate of total impunity from the universe's cruel and pedantic legislation. I may very well be the sole reason this planets oceans have yet to boil and mountains have yet to sublimate.

All this self-indulgent banter aside, let me walk you through what could have been the very last day of my life:
10:30am The 22nd of April, 2009. After a quick mid-air breakfast, composed of four raw eggs, a spicy, mysterious green smoothie and a handful of tiny kasher pickles, I was feeling somewhat nauseous. Ignoring symptoms of pregnancy and perfuse salivation, I held back the impulse to vomit over the shoulder of my driver, Mr. Amhed Al-Wahhab, from the back of his leather interior sedan.
Amhed, a thirty-three year old, eight-fingered, veteran of the Royal Saudi Land Force and father of five or six or seven, maybe, had lost his patience in 1991 somewhere in the deserts surrounding Khafji. The details he gives me are blurred in a rush of exasperated hand motions and loud, intense expression but from what I can gather, it was a hot day, his girlfriend was a tramp, and mortar fire sucks.

So Ahmed is screaming at, from what I can gather, carpet cleaners, via the a bluetooth module in the right side of his face and the animation in this mans anger(default) is wild enough that the motorists stopped around red lights, I'm sure are curious as to what I could have said to him to set him off.

We are presently on the way to see my dear friend Micah on the eighth story of a building in downtown Esquimalt to stage a stunt having something to do with zombies and an inside joke with a girl he has a crush on. While most would be content with a bundle of flowers and opera tickets, Micah has taken to sewing two kingsize bedsheets together, scrawling the words "ALIVE INSIDE" in red spraypaint and tacking this makeshift banner to one of the most visible points in the Greater Victoria area.

From the back seat of a sedan filled with angry Arabic and 80's pop music, looking over a map of the area, plotting a contingency get-away and holding in a third trimester breakfast, I can't help but feel as though this scheme, hatched up at the end of an 32hour adventure through the underground of Victoria's catacombs, through forests while hunting wild hare with crossbows and wrapping people, quite literally on fire, with damp towels, that this scheme may be a touch in excess of an already eventful week and this aside, could in fact be bordering on cockamamie.
At this point, I begin playing a Jiminy Cricket track in my head to the tune of things my father would say if he were beside me. I'd guess either, "Tuck in your shirt." or "I'm sure there are more beneficial ways you could be spending your time". This coming out in his classic matter-of-fact, Eeyor-like rhetoric.

Driving past the bilious discomfort and tokens from my childhood, we arrive at The Diplomat Towers in the heart of residential somewhere, Amhed's voice raises as I exit the vehicle(his voice being courteously lowered during my attendance as his is a rather considerate fellow) and I follow the prescribed directions through a door at the back of a parkade to the top of a flight of stairs, leading to the roof. There, dearest Micah is standing in a reflective vest and gardening gloves, holding a bundle of rope and a matching disguise for myself.
Micah, "If I timed this right, we should be able to make it to that sushi place for their lunch special."

Being seasoned in spontaneous adventure, I know that at this point there is no purpose in second guessing or rehearsal, there is only the goal, and the slew of insanity that borders it. Quickly I fasten a roofing/window washing/something harness around myself and make for the edge of the roof, knowing that if we can just get this last, quick escapade out of the way, there's a can of cherry soda in my fridge and a lush green, sunny back yard to lounge in.

All materials prepared for a quick blitz of furling, tacking, and making off, we simultaneously lean off the edge of this building dangling 90 feet above the concrete driveway. reaching into my left pocket for a nail, the piece of equipment responsible for keeping me attached to the rope relinquishes a heartstopping six inches of slack, without my approval. This device is a one-way mechanism, allowing my rope to slide in one direction, permitting me to climb up, while it's teetch prevent me from falling to my death. This device was not doing it's job.
Before I can say "That's not supposed to happen", I find myself in freefall toward the ground, the one-way rappelling mechanism providing little resistance to my deathly plummet. My hands moving faster than the back can order, I grab the remaining length and succumb to the rope burn under my deathgrip. I am now holding on to a rope, by hand alone, 80 feet above the ground. My climbing partner's responce of "Are you alright?" being of very little benefit, I seek to make quick work over the the balcony to my right.

It takes two swings and the will to pry my fingers from the rope to confirm my place on a solid surface. Micah, deciding that, yes, I am alright, finishes up while I reflect over the last thirty seconds and, subsequently, the last twenty years of my life. The events following are washed away by adrenalin and deep introspective thought but next thing I know, I've dashed through a strange elderly woman's apartment, down the stairs and Micah and I are jumping into the back of Amhed's sedan in laughter and panic. Although I can't be certain of Mr Wahhab's role in the SA Military, I am convinced it had something to do with changing one's location quickly and effectively.

Although I realise it a ridiculous irony, should I meet with end shortly after writing this, I still feel impelled to proclaim, "I am invincible". This is not an isolated incident. I drive a motorcycle. A big, fast, black motorcycle that has taken me to speeds in excess of 200 km/h. I've been to a knife fight without a knife, caught trains without ever entering the train and buses without entering the bus. I've been to the Midwest and have come within spitting distance of a fiery cross, insulted meat heads in parking lots of cowboy nightclubs, played with dynamite - while smoking and , without word of a lie, have been in a fight with a full grown bull named The Devil.
Alot of people dislike me but somebody loves me.

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