Saturday, June 1, 2013


June 1, 2013

Vagabond Journey No. 2,005


There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by.

(Annie Dillard)


Hello Margie


For some reason, I can't remember why, I have a lot of photos of roller coasters in my screen saver file. For many roller coasters are a lot of fun, although for some the idea of being whipped around at a dangerous speed and plunging down a steep descent into an unseen and unknown destiny does not appeal to them.

Nevertheless roller coasters hold a fascination for many people. You can think about them, hear about them, read about them, see pictures of them or go to the amusement park and watch them. But it is just not the same until you ride one.

I haven't ridden one in many years. There are none around here to tempt me. I would enjoy another trip around the winding rails but if I tried I would probably be stopped at the gate by some kindly attendant who would say "Yo, where do you think YOU'RE going, old timer?" So what, I would still give it a try.

The last coaster I rode was years ago at the Westchester County Fair in Yonkers, NY. It had a double loop and I carefully slipped my hat and my pen under my thigh so they wouldn't fall to the ground when we went upside down. Truthfully, the whole ride went so fast I don't even remember being upside down.

When I was a teenager my buddy Paul and I used to find roller coasters that were closed for the Winter, sneak in and walk the tracks. We would start from the end so that we would climb the first big cascade. We though it was probably safer than trying to walk down it. Some of them had tunnels which were creepy and noisy places. Eery step we took reverberated through the whole tunnel. I'm surprised we weren't arrested. I guess no one was watching, or if they were they were admiring our bravado.

I don't watch television now. I don't even own one. When I was in NYC I only watched if there was a program I wanted to see. But when I lived in New Hampshire I used to watch every night. Since it was a small northern New England community with no cable and only an internal antenna, I could only get one channel. As a result I had no choice but to watch the Tonight Show with a host I considered insipid and world-ignorant. Today I rue the many hours I spent glued to that TV set watching that irrelevant program.

Why was it irrelevant? Because the net work was giving me only something that resembled life. It wasn't real life. It didn't involve me beyond my eyes and ears. To watch and listen was to do something instead of life. When I woke up to that I realized in how many other ways I was not living my life. That realization took me out of New Hampshire and back to New York City and the frightening but courageous marathon of starting my acting career all over again.

In my early 20's a blessed teacher implanted in me an energy cell of enthusiasm for life. That cell has brought me through dangerous attempts, out of hopeless failures, plunged me into not too safe adventures and to the gates of gratifying successes. Timidity is not an option.

You can think about life, read about it, hear about it, you can even watch it. But it's just not the same until you get on board and live it.


Dana Bate

Vagabond Journeys

Never Give Up



Geo. said...

Exciting post! Life seems pretty tame to me now in my retirement, but when I think about the whole thing so far, my hat flies off.

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