It was game two, and the Sox were behind 2-0. I had mixed emotions about it. After all, I’m from Detroit, and have spent far more years as a Tigers fan than I have as a Red Sox fan. All the same, my love for the Sox is stronger for having chosen it, rather than inheriting it.
Miguel Cabrera sent the ball sailing over the green monster, and I decided it was time to go to bed. I was tired. It had been a long weekend. My husband was already asleep. I had a lot of good reasons. The bad reason, however, overrode them all. I was afraid of the outcome and I didn’t want to see it. My lack of observance wouldn’t change it, nor would it decrease my disappointment. I simply didn’t want to feel bad right at that moment.
This is how I ride roller coasters. Eyes mostly shut, breathing deeply, and counting the seconds until it’s over. I don’t ride roller coasters often, and only under duress. I hear they are fun. I will take your word for it.
But should I?
Sometimes life is volatile. Not everything moves at a mostly constant pace, with smooth transitions between the rare upticks and slowdowns. I’ve worked very hard, however, to keep the calm. I’m beginning to think I’m doing it all wrong.
Calm is not in how one avoids complications. Calm is in how one faces them.
I’m a writer. It’s not a stress free life. I have a novel that is 70% there, meaning it’s written, but not polished. The goal is to get an agent and pitch it. The idea absolutely terrifies me. I start to feel the car go up the incline, and I know the plunge is coming. Instead of throwing my hands up in the air and screaming with exhilaration, I close my eyes until the feeling goes away.
Have you ever noticed that exhilaration and fear often have the same symptoms?
The Dude woke me up from a deep sleep. He sounded panicked. “You have to come downstairs, RIGHT NOW!” And he took off.
I threw my bathrobe on and ran downstairs, expecting to find a dead cat or a hole in the ceiling or sewage pouring from the downstairs toilet.
Instead I heard the cheers of Red Sox Nation after Papi hit a grand slam, tying the game that I was sure was a lost cause. The Dude and I hugged and danced and cheered and didn’t stop until the Sox won. It was awesome. What was I so afraid of?
Good question. Time to open my eyes and find out.
Words by J. B. Everett
Photograph “Wooden Roller Coaster” by JoshNV © 2007 Creative Commons