I wrote this as a response to Rant. It was an Undergraduate English/Public Speaking assignment and I could choose any topic.
Absurdity and Paradox Define Regularity
Sixth grade is an awkward time in adolescence. Old enough for public education to teach you sex. ed. but too young to be comfortable with it. I was 11 years old, the age when you know the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa Clause aren’t real but you still look forward to being rewarded for believing in them. I grew up in a lower-middle class, 1950’s built, all-brick (not just the front) home in Central Pennsylvania suburbia. When I wasn’t learning how to tactically take over the world through Real Time Strategy video games, I methodologically explored and reinvented the street block sized “quarantine” my parent had created for me. “Guns,” Capture the Flag, or Hide-and-Go-Seek-Tag, were the usual pastimes, but on this particular day, when there were just enough fallen leaves to hinder a skateboard’s free roll on the newly paved streets, the game was “keep me out of the tree-fort.” The tree-fort was more of a miniature house than the traditional wood plank nailed a fork of tree limbs. The two neighborhood friends who you know always got their way when they wined enough to their self–centered parents, had maliciously boarded up the 3’ square windows with the waterlogged chairs that furnished the interior. I climbed from tree to tree searching for an entrance and resolved to try kick in the obstructions of the nearest window. I swung my body toward the chairs and landed a firm kick. Realizing then that the swinging thrust I had generated now pulled my hands from the sacred branches that connected me to the tree. I remembered what my dad had often said “Always keep one hand on the tree.” It all happened so quickly. And now, here I am, suspended above a world and a future that would soon take me.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Beginning with Santa Claus as a cognitive exercise a child is encouraged to share the same idea of reality as his peers. Even if that reality is patently invented and ludicrous, belief is encouraged with gifts that support and promote the common cultural lies. The greatest consensus in modern society is our traffic system. The way a flood of strangers can interact, sharing a path, almost all of them traveling without incident. It only takes one dissenting driver to create anarchy... The activity casually referred to as Party Crashing rejects the idea that driving time is something to be suffered in order to achieve a more useful and fulfilling activity (Rant 130-2).
Party Crashing is the ‘real life’ version of Hide-and-Go-Seek -Tag which creates a Most Dangerous Game where drivers and their lookouts are the hunters and hunted. Cars chasing cars, hiding and attacking, crashing into one another, searching for a shared experience and ultimately a one way ticket to the past. The realization of the ladder goal is by no means well documented or even known by many of the participants.
From the Field Notes of Green Taylor Simms: Let me, somehow, compress this. The human brain operates at four basic levels of brain frequency. Normally, awake and aroused, you operate in the “beta” level of the brain waves… At a resting state, your mind slips into “alpha” brain-wave level… As you daydream and feel drowsy, your mind slows to “theta” level, and as you pass into deep dreamless sleep, your brainwaves slow to a “delta” level. Of special interest is the theta level of brain activity. It’s at this frequency that mystics report that visions and inspiration are most likely to occur. In those relaxed moments, while bathing, driving or falling asleep, you typically retrieve deep distant memories. You make connections and achieve revelations (Rant 308).
Party Crashing strives to simultaneously induce these theta level brainwaves as well as, at the moment of impact, cause “time to explode.” We all have, at some point in our lives, experienced this explosion of time; what automotive crash-test engineer’s call “the pulse.” Whether in a car accident, falling from heights, or a sports injury, time seems to stand still. More importantly these events bring new purpose to life, as one Party Crasher relates, “Here’s time squeezed down until it explodes into a slow-motion moment that will last for years. Your car you saved to buy, it’s punched down, smaller, but your life’s pumped back up. Bigger. Back to life-size or beyond” (Rant 130). Party Crashing’s final destination may be the realization that time is like a tree we all climb; and like a cat, we think that the only way is up. While in actuality, all you have to do is let go of limbs we so tightly grasp.
That autumn day when I fell twenty three feet to a cold and hard earth, I was suspended in freefall for what felt like hours. After awhile the “Oh shit I’m falling!” sensation became boring. I started contemplating things no sixth grader ever should: Who am I? Why am I here? How do I fit into the big picture? CRASH. I’m laying on the ground. Something has happened. Something bad. But that thought cannot break through to the forefront of my consciousness. For some reason I am completely content and satisfied, smiling. There is no way to prove it but I know what that feeling was. I, for some lost and forgotten instant, knew the answers.
This troubling and unconventional logic has not changed who I am, aside from the fiendish enjoyment of literature which tests the common logic of time; It has however, provided me with a lifelong lesson and tool for enjoying life: “Absurdity and paradox define regularity.“