|Blogs > five_speed > #5 Speed's Rest Stop on I-69#|
Do you beat up your Guardian Angels?
Do you beat up your Guardian Angels?
I’m thinking this morning about how many people take so much for granted. I guess we all take some things for granted, but I wonder if some take too much.
I’m thinking about these things because I saw a woman this weekend who owes me her life.
It was July 4th, 2004. We were on the river at my parents’ camp. I was not drinking because I had to go back to my place that evening, and it was a three-hour drive. Everyone else was hammered and having a great time on the deck.
The deck is built right over the river, about thirty feet above the water. We have a jumping board where you can walk right off and hit the river underneath, if you have the spine to jump that far.
A family friend was visiting, and he brought his two daughters. Melanie was 18, and Sandra was 20, I think. I’m not sure, because I’ve always liked their dad, but I always thought his daughters were mouthy bitches. I never paid them much mind beyond the effort it took to ignore them.
Now ladies, please do not think I’m being mean. I’m just being honest. These two women never shut up. If they are awake, they’re talking, usually screeching overtop everyone else so they can be heard, and they’ll say anything to stir up a ruckus. I’ve seen them instigate many a fight. I wouldn’t normally call a woman a bitch; however, I feel these two have earned the title.
But I digress.
Both of them decided to go swimming. I thought they were both entirely too drunk to get in that deep water, but I staid out of it, because I knew no one would listen to me anyhow. Melanie had the sense to put on a life vest, but Sandra wouldn’t do it. She said she was a strong enough swimmer and didn’t need it. They got in the river and started playing around under the deck. Every one on the deck went back to drinking and partying and forgot about them because they couldn’t see them, but I was on a rock upstream a little ways (I’d gotten away from their mouths almost as soon as they arrived,) and I could see them plainly.
The first two times Sandra went under, I thought she was just trying to freak out her sister, but I knew she was in trouble when she went under the third time and dunked her sister in an attempt to climb out of the water. Dad heard Melanie crying. I heard him say something about getting her. He’s an excellent swimmer, but he’d been drinking since he woke up. I yelled “I got her!” and dove off the rock where I’d been sitting in the sun.
I got to her and tried to loop my arm under hers so I could pull her out, but she was fighting me, trying to climb onto me, and she was doing a great job of killing us both. I finally got my arm under one of hers, but she was fighting too hard for me to get a good grip on the other side. I finally grabbed a handful of her shirt and breast and managed to drag her to shore. She sat down on the rock and spit up some water.
Meanwhile, Melanie had gotten in the current and couldn’t swim hard enough to fight it, so she was 200 meters downriver, screaming bloody murder. I was already soaked, so I kicked off my boots and went after her.
When I finally got back up on the deck, Sandra’s boyfriend started running his mouth. He said “Sandy says you were feeling her up and grabbing her titties while you were in the water.” He looked like an anorexic fraggle. I figured he had to be blitzed to have the balls to say anything to me. I was three times his size.
I said “Um, no... If I grabbed something I shouldn’t have, I’m really sorry, but I wasn’t too worried about being polite. I was trying to save her life. I didn’t see you doing anything to help.”
He said “I don’t know how to swim, but that don’t matter. You shouldn’t be grabbing her titties like that.”
I got no thrill from grabbing her breast, but at the time she wasn’t leaving me any other options. I was fighting her and the current, and it just wasn’t working out to be a happy ending. I did what I had to do.
I started to argue, but then I just turned around and started back towards the cabin. I had three hours to drive and no dry clothes. I was thinking I’d just strip and wear a towel around my waist until I got home. I was wondering what all was ruined in my wallet and if I’d lost anything out of my pockets. I heard Sandra saying something about “Are you just going to let him walk away?” and then dad yelled a warning, but before I could turn around, Boyfriend hit me across the shoulders with an oar.
I took the oar from him when he tried to hit me again. I grabbed him by the neck and by the crotch, picked him up over my head, and chucked him off the deck into the river. Sandra was screaming “He can’t swim, you stupid son of a bitch!”
I said “Fuck him. Dumbass should have thought of that before he picked a fight beside a river.”
But I wasn’t really serious. I threw him a life vest and watched to make sure he got it. Then I said bye to mom and dad, grabbed a towel, got in the car and drove home before Boyfriend could get out the river and start with me again.
I wasn’t expecting any kind of reward, but a “thank you” would have been a lot nicer than an oar in my back…
I saw Sandra and her dad again this weekend. I wondered if she’d say anything about last year, but she just ignored me. Her dad came up to me though and said “I never got a chance to thank you last year, for saving her life and for not kicking the shit out of that boy she was with. Thanks, man.” Then he offered me a sip of his white lightning. I had another three hour drive coming up, but I took a couple sips anyway.
Well, anyway, that is the tale that has me thinking about taking things for granted. It seems to me that something has gone wrong when a person can get attacked for saving another person’s life. I’m not sorry that I did it, and I’d save her again, but that’s not the point. That’s not the part that confuses me. I don’t understand how she has had a year to take some time at some point and realize that I saved her life, that she could very possibly be dead if I had not been there. When I saw her this weekend, I’m not even sure if she recognized me. It makes me sit back and think on the things I take for granted. What blessings do I have that I don’t even think about?
8/15/2005 10:50 am
Well 5 speed, we all appreciate you. Next time you know, do not grab at the shirt. I always go to the crotch and use the bowling ball grip. You have better control.|
8/15/2005 1:12 pm
TDA1, as always, you are an overflowing font of wisdom. |
*makes notes in journal - crotch + bowling ball grip = better control*
I want to be like you when I grow up, TDA1.
8/15/2005 6:45 pm
I'm still thinking about this. As I ponder the question "What do I take for granted?" I begin to think the answer is "Almost everything I've never had to do without." It's cliché, but true: you don't know what you have until it's gone.|
With that thought in mind, my mind turns to the things I do not take to granted, and my answers become clearer. Family, friends, love, solitude, sex, food, clean water, electricity, automobiles, safety, peace, sleep, laughter, shelter, employment, music, confidence, self-esteem, and hope: these are all things that I have not had during some span of my life to date, and I do not take any of these things for granted now. I cherish them every instant that I have them now because I know how it feels to do without them.
What do I have that I have never done without? Physical strength, health, intelligence, and imagination. I have always had these things. I have never done without them, and now that I think about it, I realize I do take them for granted, because I cannot imagine life without them, and it has never occurred to me until now that I might not always have them, but accidents, age, and disease could take any of them from me at any time. Maybe I should be more thankful for them and enjoy them while I have them.
What about all of you? You don’t have to answer here, but please take a moment to think about this. What do you take for granted everyday? What would you miss the most if you had to go without it?
8/18/2005 1:44 pm
We all get into the routine and its easy to forget how fragile it all is. I think that this is a part of natural mechanism that allows us to function with some semblance of normalcy. Much of our lives runs on a sub-routine, a sort of auto pilot that helps us get from point A to point B without expending too much mental energy. When something causes us to shut it off we suddenly wake up as if from a sleep and realize that we havn't really been concious for substantial and even important parts of our lives. They say that cats spend 70% of their lives asleep, I think we are too but unlike them we do it with our eyes open. |
Danger forces us into acute conciousness. The moments in my life when I felt the most alive were those when I was at most risk. I don't think of myslef as a danger junkie but in reality I do engage in dangerous leisure activities on a regular basis. For me this forces me into a state of heightened awareness and I find that afterwards when I am again safe the colors are brighter, the food tastes better and I am much more appreciative of everything around me. I know that in the end I will go back to sleep again but I try to regularly schedule periods of wakefulness when I can. I wrote a blog called Letting Go about this effect. Take care.
8/18/2005 2:05 pm
JDLA2, As usual, you've opened my interpretations up to a whole new angle I had never previously considered. This really might explain why I enjoy dangerous activities as well.|
8/19/2005 7:32 pm
Back to your story about rescue of an ungrateful victim. Maybe everyone was unconciously angry that you saved her, lol.|
I found your story ironic because I once rescued a young woman (it almost cost me my life) from a riip tide. You have probably heard the old Chinese saying that when you save someones life you become responsible for them. I think the reasoning is that you have sort of interfered with fate and destiny and instead of the victim owing you something, you now are burdened with a responsibility that you have usurped from heaven.
In my case I guess I took it to the next level, I wound up marrying that girl.
8/21/2005 8:54 pm
I am sure she's angered enough folks that a few were upset with me for doing it.
I hae heard that Chinese saying, but I never abided by it much. I used to think if I saved a person's life in this world, they were beholden to me while they lived, and if I killed a person, they would serve me in the next world.
I don't believe that anymore. These days I just take it a day at a time, make sure I take care of my family and myself, and then I help out whoever else I can along the way. Luckily, that plan of action has allowed me to save a few folks and hasn't required the killing (or even the serious maiming) of anyone else. I don't have lofty ideals or plans of greatness. I just want to live in such a way that some part of the world is better off because of the way I lived while I was here.
As for the girl you saved and married, I wonder how that has turned out for you, if you don't mind sharing.