More often than most I hope I am amazed by what man can create. Whether it is that haunting redneck past coming to roost yet again as the trailer boy meets the big city, or – infinitely more preferable = a healthy respect for things unique human, I’m likely to biased to say.
Today I went to the Rhode Island National Guard air show to work in a rather prefunctory capacity, pausing between making reluctant little kids get into oversized flight suits to please their overbearing suburban parents to catch some unbelievable aerobatics put on by… well, the folks that I guess put on aerobatics. I was surrounded all day by the production of the finest defense/industrial complex in the world with the cold relics of a forgotten war piled up around me like museum pieces. In even the most antiquated aircraft on display at the show was a work representative of millions of dollars and tens of millions of hours spent ingenious or indignant or indifferent. And yet the thing that I was most marveled to see was the $8.00 ticket at a bungee harness “ride.”
“Ride” suggests a level of sophistication that this attraction may not merit. It was, literally, four sets with four stations a piece, with small rappelling harnesses attached to industrial-grade elastics. This ride, in stark contrasts to the bajillion horsepower ones that deafened the children from above, didn’t require must more than simple carpentry and mathematics. However, in this uniquely human construction those little organized nuggets of the differences between us and the primates were most prevalent.
Economics at play as kids scrounge around their pockets for another eight bones to ride again. Power relationships dictate which kids ride when with codified law dashing the hopes of those under 30 or over 200 pounds. Vice causes the authority figure to turn the head to my fighting weight of 205 lbs. with a finsky slipped to the palm. The org chart of carny veterans and rookies is hashed out by the fuse box.
And for 5 minutes I had the best seat in the house from which to view humanity. Alternating from close and faraway in increments heartbeats in length; weightlessness punctuating the simple joy that is being human and the priceless gift that comes in all things this blissfully ephemeral.