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project hot air balloon

Detail #1 - I'm scared of heights.

By 2:58 PM

This is a problem - normally.

I get weak in the knees walking across a freeway overpass. I try not to look over balcony railings or down a stairwell. I dislike watching people skydive, bungee jump or ride a glass elevator.
So, how did I end up in the sky without a parachute.


Well, I don't know. But it was pretty fucking effortless.
I don't feel right about taking credit for it either, because I was hardly aware of it happening. I didn't know we were lifting off until I saw the ground recede from beneath me.
Nobody even said "Here we go."

We simply floated up like a birthday balloon that you let slip away by mistake. It just goes bye-bye at maximum speed with minimum energy. It's not even running away in a state of panic. It just soars. Within seconds I was staring down at trees and livestock looked like fleas.

Not once did my heart skip a beat while riding this jumbo picnic basket. In fact, without even realizing, I was hanging over the edge taking photos like a good Japanese tourist. No tingles, no dizziness, no thoughts of "what will happen if the floor gives way or if I lose balance".

Turns out, if I want to be somewhere, height doesn't much get in the way.

Recently I watched Man On Wire, a documentary about Philippe Petit, who walked between the Twin Towers on a tightrope in 1974. As I was sitting through this unreal account of an actual event, I couldn't fathom how his grace and ease could exist at such height.
I thought Petit was brilliant, deranged and possibly from outer space.

It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. I remember not attending the screening for the very reason I titled this post. The mere thought of watching him in this film made me nauseous.

Now I kind of get him, just a teensy weensy bit.

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1 comments

  1. Take a look at JACircle Feb. 15 post. Click a "Flying man's"pix. It leads you to 6 min. video. And have a fun. P

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