When I read Orwell’s 1984 30 years ago I never felt like it was that unrealistic. When Edward Snowden released information on the spying that the NSA was doing on American Citizens I wasn’t particularly surprised by that either. As more and more police brutality is caught on camera and published on youtube, well that was to be expected as well. In modern times, almost every US citizen has the ability to record anything they are seeing and with only a press of a button can upload it for the world to see. Within minutes, it can go viral and if the abuse is serious enough then the world can raise its voice in outrage. This is honestly a very good thing.
I showed up not knowing what I would find
Techno Contra? Are these people out of their mind
The first night I danced to 2:30 in the morn
Under black lights and glow sticks I was reborn
I had seen you before
out on the dance floor
at this place and that
always dancing, but no chat
When you walked up to me
that fateful night
I felt frozen in fear
like a deer in headlights
In that breathtaking gown
with your eyes on fire
time just slowed down
like a bird on a wire
I slowly reached out
and the moment we touched
an energy surged through me
I got such a rush
I met Norm at one of my many trips to Hatteras that I take whenever I just can’t get my kite fix in Ithaca. I was down in NC for a couple of days riding by myself and I pulled into kite point and saw their larger than life camper retrofitted greyhound bus and the Flysurfer kite and I immediately struck up a conversation with Norm. I knew from my paddling experiences that French Canadians in general are some of the friendliest people you will meet in all of North America. Norm and his crew did not disappoint. He invited me to sleep in the driveway of their overpriced rental home which I gladly took them up on. It is quite fatiguing when you poach a sleeping spot under these million dollar homes thinking you’ll get woken up by the cops at any minute, but I could not afford one of those nice $150 tickets for sleeping in my van and being a world-class kite bum.
After a while my buddy Gregg showed up and he camped in their driveway with his minivan too. It was heaven, kiting all day then warm showers and our own toilet by the pool. We made all the Canadian’s dinner one night to show our gratitude and they were incredibly hospitable for the entire week. Norm even let me fly his Speed 3 15 demo he had borrowed from Ted. That demo kite inspired me to buy 2 new Speed 3’s for my quiver. After I returned, Norm invited me to tag along with them to the Caribbean for a week so I bought a ticket to fly out of Montreal and join them for a week of kiting madness.
Walking to work I neared Cascadilla Creek, a little 500 fpm gem in the middle of Cornell. It sounded like a freight train as I approached. The sound was glorious to my ears. Entranced I found my way down the trail and before me was the most powerful display I had ever seen. Hundreds of cfs cascading off 30,40 and 50 foot waterfalls landing flat on hard rock. Even
at these levels the pools at the bottom did not fill in. I had a sinking feeling that running these falls without a landing zone would guarantee a great deal of pain. I ran back and forth like a squirrel trying to find the line. Then I realized it, I have the sickness. I threw my head back and laughed out loud. What separated me from all the mindless drones walking around above was that I wanted to live, to really live and experience everything. People without the sickness would almost certainly think that I was just trying to die, not live. I realized that it is not a sickness, but an obsession to suck the marrow out of life. I may never run Cascadilla gorge … but I do not want to get well either.
Later that day I saw my son clap his hands in a sonogram. It was one of the most moving moments of my life. It was so real. I rejoiced that my little son was happy and alive and growing in Marlo’s belly. I begged Marlo to run shuttle so I could run a little class II run up at Taughannock falls. There is a little 1/2 mile run with lots of surfing waves and holes
at higher levels. The park police came and gave me a real hard time. I think he wanted to punch me in the head. In his reality I was a crazy idiot who was out paddling in a blizzard risking his life and the lives of the people that were going to have to come and rescue me. In my reality I was just doing what I loved and being as cautious as possible. The lack of
understanding of the sport by the officer and his uncertainty and insecurity with what I was doing made him very angry. He could see that I had the sickness, to him I needed therapy.
What’s a paddler to do?