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without touching the ground - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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without touching the ground [Oct. 20th, 2007|10:06 am]
Lindsey Kuper
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I lived in one of those four-story brick apartment buildings that Chicago has hundreds and hundreds of blocks of. (When I came west, I didn't think cities out here looked like cities because they lacked those.) My apartment was huge, spanned all four floors, and had a lot of nooks and crannies where people I didn't know were sleeping. Maybe I had had a big party the night before. I noticed a lot of my sister's stuff lying around, too. There were about eight of her coats on the coat rack. I made a mental note to tell her to come over and collect them.

I was trying to get from my place over to a friend's apartment who lived down the street, but for some reason it was imperative to do so without touching the ground. Luckily, someone had built some kind of a big, wooden, swinging platform that went from fire escape to fire escape. By running around vigorously on the platform, I was able to get it oscillating just enough that I could get to my destination, and the platform neatly docked on the other side, all in under ten minutes. It was great! But later, when I tried to get my parents to do it with me, it was unbelievably difficult. They kept clinging to the sides of the thing and not moving, and their additional weight made it a lot more unwieldy. We made slow progress. We had been in a hurry to get over there so we could go to some kind of a talk -- something about linguistics -- but we were now obviously late and wouldn't make it.

Finally, after an hour and a half, we made it to the other side. We had missed the talk but we would be arriving just in time for the dinner that was supposed to take place after the talk, with the speaker as the guest of honor. Dinner sounded good right about now, but now the damn thing wouldn't dock properly. That had been the part that I'd been most excited to show them. I kept making tiny adjustments -- moving the platform back, then forward, then to the side -- all made more difficult by their weight. I kept yelling at them to move around to different corners of the platform, then back, then help me hold ropes, then let go of the ropes. It was like trying to be the captain of a ship without actually knowing anything about how to captain a ship. And then a big chunk of wood fell off the platform railing. Amazingly, my dad went down, got it, and fixed it. But then it fell off again and this time, my dad fell too! Oh, no!

I don't remember any of what happened after that, but the dream had sort of a written addendum. We had to take my dad to the hospital with a broken something or other. It wasn't a terrible injury, though. And we discovered later that, had we in fact made it to the dinner, we would have had to sit next to someone who was the linguist guest of honor's biggest fangirl and who was, apparently, insufferable. So at least we didn't have to do that. Yay?

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