Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Oh, Look, An Adventure.

I don't want to talk directly about the whole adventure I was on. Hopefully, by hyperfocusing on moments, it'll give you an idea of the intensity of the experience, positive and negative.

The adventure I teased ended up being more than I could have imagined, not all of it good. There were moments when I questioned the choices I had made up till a point and moments when I simply ran like hell. I can't talk about all of it. What I can say is that I ran through the streets of Leeds terrified. I strolled through the streets of Leeds, full and satisfied. I walked through the streets of Leeds confused and pointing at a map.

(Also, and most importantly, the truth is so much less satisfying than whatever your mind is filling in. I was there, I'd know.)

I never had a shot of espresso before. I had two in 45 minutes in Leeds. I hardly ever dance. I danced for hours. I had a plan for getting into Leeds that I thought was pretty bulletproof. I arrived at the first hotel, beleaguered, roughly 2:45 a.m., after landing in a completely different city an hour after I was supposed to arrive. I thought on the plane that the entire trip was an opulent indulgence, likely to end in brooding failure. I woke up the day I was leaving, still questioning how I had gotten so lucky and feeling like I'd made a few good decisions in my life.

I got confused, twisted around and lost my bearings for an hour in an industrial park at midnight and only regained any sense of composure was when I realized I was in a Bane song, running (with my mind screaming at me) through an Audi dealership. I asked a question worth asking of writers. I looked through a supermarket in wonder and looked at my bank receipts in shock.

I saw a friend I hadn't seen since 2005 and saw friends I never met before. I had the bus taking me to the Leeds airport get a flat tire and still arrived with hours to spare. I had some of the best luck I've ever had with some of my worst decisions. There are highs, there are lows and in Leeds, the inbetween was irrelevant. It existed, but it doesn't really tell anything about the experience of adventuring, of wandering through for real arcades to find places I was told about on the internet, plopping down at a coffeehouse with no idea what I was going to order or being terrified the cabbie would let me off miles from where my hotel was.

(He didn't, and was kind enough to go out of his way to take me directly to the hotel. Arrow cab company, fyi.)

The epic adventures aren't about the destination, but the journey. Lord of the Rings wouldn't be half as sweet without the huge spider or the Naz'Gul (illegal in 42 states, stolen shamelessly from Telltales' poker game) or the talking trees. I live in the real world, so spider queens, Ents and zombified humans riding dragons are right out, but the thrill of being somewhere new, with someone you only kind of know for an experience you have few parallels for, I think, crosses over nicely.

This is the song that saved me, eight years later. This is Bane's Sunflowers and Sunsets.

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