Tick Tock

There are a lot of potential topics rattling around in my head lately.  I’ve got several in storage here and there, fits and starts and maybes and Don’t Go Theres, but I’m leaning toward putting fingers to keyboard and plowing ahead whether I know exactly where ahead is, or not.  When I wrote about just who Queenie is, describing her, one thing that I noted was that she no longer suffered fools, and maybe that is going to go a little further here, saying that she no longer tolerates irritating, befuddling, untoward or disappointing behavior.  I have a whole topic started, not yet tended to, about Disappointment, and maybe that’s going to raise its head here.  I think so.  It all applies, however, to the irrevocable passage of Time, an unrelenting aspect of life no matter how you slice it.  There’s always way too much time to wait for things when you’re a child.  The school year is endless – Christmas is eons away.  How long till we’re old enough to drive, or date, or whatever stupendous adult participation game we might be considering.  And then we make it to glorious adulthood, and we’re trying to catch Time’s tail and drag it down, slow it down, say Whoa!  Wait a minute.  And then before we know it, we’re damn near old.  Or we’re supposed to have attained maturity.  Or just something.  Meantime we do our thing, or try to figure out just what our Thing is, and fit it all into what we define as our very finite lives.  Tick Tock.  Time marches on.  Or it fairly well careens.

And so Queenie suffered a Disappointment this week.  I found myself disappointed in someone, a long time friend, who had made a promise and a commitment, only to succumb to Fear, (my old “favorite” foe), and let a glorious opportunity slip out of her grasp.  Hell, it didn’t slip away, she threw it.  I know we’re not supposed to be judgmental, and we’re supposed to let people be who they are and forgive them, (I suppose ax murderers and their ilk are exempt from such high minded consideration), but I weary of capitulation to the power of our lesser selves, living up, (down, actually), to our lowest expectations of ourselves.  Is it really so much easier to say No to our potential, our possibilities, than do the work and take the chance to find ourselves smack in a new place on a higher plane?  My friend did just that.  She said No, and I have to let her have her way with herself, but she disappointed me.  And then she said the saddest thing, while copping to what she knew she’d done.  She said, as if in some sort of contrived defense of herself: I’ve been disappointing people my whole life. If I could’ve gotten myself through the phone line and found myself facing her in the flesh, I think I would’ve wanted to shake her.  What a pitiful thing to say, and how even more pitiful to have to live it.  She couldn’t even draw herself up and say something strong about her decision to renege on her prior decision, for right or wrong reasons whatever they may have been; she just retreated into Fear and a familiar path of not challenging herself to change or attempt a new, empowering experience.  Just a weak voiced “I just can’t do it.”  And there it was.  She went from the heights of potential and challenge to a weak and utter surrender, to all the things that “might” happen.  Pity.  And as much as I (and she) consider how she disappointed me, I wonder how (or if) she feels about disappointing herself.

Now, however, I turn the mirror to my own self, as I know I must, for in most cases like this it takes one to know one.  I lost years of my life to Fear.  Years.  Years spent in half living, forcing down my feelings or covering them all up in pretty paper, trying to disguise what was really there.  Or else I was able to blame others for my predicaments, having their bad behavior trump my martyrdom.  You can be a victim only once.  After that, if you allow a repeat, (or many of them), of intolerable actions and continue to wallow in your victimhood, you’ve traded in your Scarlet V for the Big M – you’re now a Martyr, and for the most part it’s a tarnished crown to wear.  They might be martyrs, those you hear about in glowing historical accolades, but they’re still dead.  Not my cup of tea.

And yet, I still embrace my own little fear when it comes to some aspects of Adventure.  I refuse to fly.  I haven’t set foot in one of those shiny tubes since about 1980, and I haven’t missed it once.  I figure most everywhere I really want to go I can get there by four wheels, and that suits me just fine.  (That way I can stop to smell the creosote bushes and perhaps take pictures?)  And it’s pretty much at my own pace and whim, which is a queenly thing to be able to claim.  Now if I were faced with some dire prospect of having to be somewhere, in the quickest method possible, and it were truly a life or death scenario, then, well, OK, I guess I’d figure out a way to endure it.  Perhaps drugs would be involved.  One time decades ago I flew into Albuquerque having had about three drinks in the course of the flight, and I had me a fabulous time.  Of course with all the security these days I don’t think it’s quite the glamorous affair any longer, and it doesn’t appeal to me in the least.  But truth be told, I expected my friend to get her butt on a plane from there to here, which she does with not so much trepidation, and then we’d be on our merry way.  (Although at one time she did say she might avail herself of a train ride, which is what I’d do if I went to see her – if I didn’t drive, that is.)  Of course Not Flying is MY business, even if not coming on this other particular adventure is hers.  (But then, I never said I’d fly somewhere and then took it back, derailing the entire hootenanny.)  Everyone who knows me knows – I don’t fly.  Period.

And here’s the rub.  I have another adventuresome friend who puts me in the shade.  She’s been everywhere, and I mean everywhere.  Antarctica, Myanmar, South America, Mongolia, Australia, Bali.  She’s Bona Fide, no doubt about it.  And she’s on me about getting on a plane.  She’s as much as dared me to live up to my own hype, and asked me to join her in Bali some one of these days.  Near as I can figure, I don’t think there’s train service to there yet, nor a tunnel under the ocean quite drivable.  So how can I serve Disappointment Papers to my friend who turned down the adventure of a lifetime on her terms, when I’m holding up my own fear card and missing out on another?  I claim a technical foul, however, since I never said that I WOULD fly to Bali, not yet anyway.  I’m not sure there’s enough wine to get my mind in that place, and it does need to be a sober decision.  So my positive, adventuresome friend can be disappointed in me because I won’t belly up to the bar to fly, but she hasn’t yet had to deal with my dissolving a pledge to do so.  And there, so far at least, is the difference.  Am I splitting hairs?

So I am still eating Disappointment Pie, which is high in empty calories and short on the yum factor.  I’m not sure what my backing out friend is eating, but I can say I’ll bet it’s not very flavorful, and probably doesn’t sit well on the stomach.  Still leaves you feeling empty, if not bloated at the same time.  And I’m not sure where things sit between me and my friend.  Right now there’s a gulf between us, not bridged by highways or train tracks, or even flight paths.  I know she feels bad – we both do.  We’ll see what our friendship is really made of, but something else was broken, and that was Trust, and that’s a whole ‘nother subject.  Stay tuned.  Queenie’s got lots to say about this Trust matter.  But we’ll hold off on that “digression” thing for now.

So today I did what I said what I would do, and wrote out the check for the deposit for another ride down the river.  There are perhaps as many legitimate reasons for me NOT to take this trip as there are to go – maybe more.  It’s expensive.  There are other things I “need” to be doing.  The Queen Mum is rickety and will have a medical procedure to endure before I go, and I’ll be gone for a goodly while, and that weighs heavy.  My vehicle needs work.  Hell, I need work.  I could go on and on about the negatives, but….. the clock is ticking.  This may be the last chance I have to do something of this magnitude.  My bones aren’t getting any younger.

My life is dedicated to adventure and living that life, righteously, on my terms, as much as is possible, even if it doesn’t include air travel at this point.  I’ve already committed to friends and fellow rafters that I will be there, and I promised myself that I will write the chronicle of Queenie Does the River.  And barring any fickle fingers of fate, I WILL be there.  I mean it when I say “Count on me.”  And I don’t want to disappoint those who are doing just that.  (Besides, you can’t wait to read the story, right?)

I truly hate to think that I’ve disappointed anyone – does not feel good – at all.  So I guess maybe my friend’s not feeling any too swell about herself right about now, and it’s a condition she’s nurtured for years, by her own admission.  Yikes.  I will miss her on the big ride, but I suppose she’s content in her “safe” life, and comfortable in her soft sheets.  But she won’t be seeing any shooting stars while listening to the rumble of the rapids.  Oh well.  As Queenie has been known to say:  The meaning of life is Choice.  And we both made ours.

I don’t think we came to the planet to be safe, and it’s not a safe world out there.  Just a week ago I was on my way to visit friends on a two lane road and passed a wreck that had had occurred only a short time before.  A car had gone over the line, another was involved, but there was a sheet of fabric covering where the driver’s door used to be on the vehicle that had rolled off the road after the collision.  It was obvious someone was dead behind that covering.  I found out later she was only nineteen years old, a beautiful young woman with all sorts of things going on in her life.  Tick Tock.  Obviously, again, there’s no safety on the highway, and statistics would have us believe that flying is indeed “safer” than dealing with the many who can’t drive worth a hoot, or stay awake, or who are too busy texting to stay in their own lane.  Or drinking, or speeding, or fumbling with a CD or flipping somebody off.  I guess I’d better start thinking about how much I can cram into carry on luggage if I decide to experience Bali with my friend.  And I get to face a fear.  Oh joy.  Of course, I could always check on working my way across the ocean on a tramp steamer – do they still have those?

Meantime, I’m going for the Big Ride on the River with old friends and new.  Tally Ho, and good luck keeping our knickers dry.  YaHoooooooo, and let the adventure begin.


2 Responses to “Tick Tock”

  1. Another Royal Writing!! Very well said, dear Queenie!
    I do know that we are greatly benefitted when we beware of our own expectations, as more often than not, those are keeping us ‘attached to the outcome’ that our own self has conjured up. As we practice the Art of Allowing, we can deep breathe, let go and exercise faith. Faith in the notion that the new outcome — after experiencing a disappointment — IS working out for the best, for all involved! And sometimes we might learn (some of) the reasons ‘why’, and (some of) the reasons that don’t ever surface, are most probably something we wouldn’t want to know anything about!
    Yep! — there’s lessons in trust here. Trusting, and having faith, that God and The Universe are helping for everything to work out for the best!

    Good for you that not only did you remember to do so, but found the courage, to use the mirror principle. In relation to that belief, a truth is that those that cause us the most distress, disappointment, discomfort and conflict, are, in fact, our greatest teachers. And practicing gratitude for them, in those roles, is certainly for our highest good.

    Excellent that you’re heading out for this awesome adventure! FYI: (as you might have already guessed!) this particular adventure of yours is one which I’ve wanted to experience! Obviously not enough to make it happen; right now, I’m deferring to the excuse of $$ factor. So, I’m excited for you that you laid that excuse to rest! When does your adventure begin?? I’m very much looking forward to vicariously participating through your writings thereof!

    Queenly reminder: MAKE SURE TO PACK YOUR TIARA! Never go river-rafting without one! (especially you, my dear royal one!)

    Blessings for a safe, happy and exhilaratingly awesome trip!!


    • queeniesays Says:

      OK Queen, how would you like to take over the writing of my missives whilst I am “en rafte?” Sometimes I think you’re much further along in this Life of Lessons Learned than I ever think of being. I bow to you, as I grab my tiara before it hits the floor.

      We’re launching in fairly early April, before the regular season on the river. Could be challenging. Could be cold. (Queenie does not like the combination of cold AND wet, but it’s likely to be happening, quite often!) We’ll be thirteen days on the river, but able to have campfires in the early season. There will be oar boats included this time, so we can try our hand at survival in a much more personal experience on/in the river than being full time on the big pontoon rafts. We should have wildflowers and cactus blooms. We will have intense camaraderie and incredible experiences. I made lifelong friends on the first trip, and some of them will be back on this repeat. Ain’t I lucky to be me? And now, hearing this, I wish YOU were going to be there. Come on – hock the family silver. Come for the ride of your life. As I, and others who have had the Big Ride can attest, you will not be the same afterward. It’s a huge merit badge of life, if you’re into such things. And I just think you would be. (Of course, my royal soul sister.)

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