Forgetting How Old I am
Forgetting How Old I am.
31 May 2017.
Some days crazy things just happen. Today was one of those. I went to a fantastic man-made archway over the ocean today that is a little terrifying to climb up, but I wanted a photo from the top of it. I was by myself and there was no one to take my photo, so I waited around knowing someone would show up. Two local boys, 13 years of age came along. I asked one of them to take my photo and I ran up to stand on this archway. They were cool about it. ‘Snap.’ This photo:
As I was standing around, suddenly I noticed that the boys were crawling over a wall. I went to inspect and see what they were doing. They climbed over this tall wall onto a 30 cm ledge of natural earth just on the other side of it. It was kind of a little bit death-defying and looked like fun so I said, “I’m coming!” and jumped over the wall with them. They were excited I was going to come. This grown man was coming to do stupid things with them. That is probably pretty exciting when you are 13 years old.
We got on the main path again. I asked, “Do you guys have more?” They said, “Oh yeah, we’ve got more!” So, they took me along with them. They were pumped.
This town, Andros (Hora) in the Greek Islands, is structure in layers from rooftop to rooftop on the side of the sea. I just followed them and they took me up on a terrace on the side of a balcony and we jumped on a roof, and then we had to jump from that roof down to another roof that was about 2 meters below us, but there was about a 1.5 meter distance between each roof. So, it was down 2 meters but you had to jump across 1.5 meters to land on that second roof. If you did not make it to the second roof you would fall probably 15 meters probably to ones death. But I was there already and the kids had already made the jump ahead of me. So, there I was, this grown up man forgetting how old I am, following some 13 year old kids to jump across rooftops. The thing I realized was that those kids had zero fear. It made me think of the days when I had no fear. Fear gets you as you get older and you doubt yourself. But these kids did not bat an eye at it and just made the jump.
They were watching this man, forgetting how old I am, in anticipation.
Kids are so fearless. I had not done something like that in decades. Notice how the word ‘decades’ is pluralized…
They were just looking at me, ‘Are you going to go, old, weird, grown-up guy who thinks he is 12?’ One of them actually counted me down from three. ‘Okay fine.’ So, I jump across from one roof down to the other and I make it. I knew I would, but it was crazy nonetheless. The jump was terrifying. But, I felt like I had no choice. When you are decades older is that still peer pressure!?
We ran across this roof and then one of the kids realizes that the area where we are supposed to escape up and out of has been freshly painted. We are on someone’s house. One of the kids is telling me, “We’ve gotta get out of here but we’ve gotta be quiet…” I nodded my head, ‘Okay.’ And then I am wondering how it happened that I got myself into such a situation. Because the last thing I need is the police to be asking, “Umm, what are you doing up here you idiot tourist?…” That is not a conversation I am interested in having at all.
But, we are stuck. We have jumped down on this roof and we can not really get off of it because there is wet paint at our escape. I am thinking, ‘F! What are we going to do…’ The kids are trying to come up with a plan. We can hear the television blaring in the house right below us of the roof we are on.
The one kid says to me, the guy forgetting how old I am, “Okay, we will run really fast.”
‘Uhh, okay, but where are we going to run to…?’
One kid leaned down to where the person inside the house was watching TV and he let out a really loud screaming roar! Then we had to run and jump off the roof we were on, about 1.5 meters down, and we had to land on a ledge below us that was probably only half a meter wide that I had to land on. From the ledge I would be able to jump down onto the actual cement walkway about 1.5 meters below that. But, I had to land on the ledge because if I missed it, I would be jumping 3 meters straight down and I would probably break my legs. It was nuts. But the one kid had made a roar at the house below so I had to do it in a hurry.
The kids were fearless and they had already made both jumps down. They were just waiting for me, their new friend who was busy forgetting how old I am. I made the first jump and landed it well and then the second jump to the cement below.
So then I was just boring me, walking around again after being 13 for 7 minutes again. It really reminded me of a time of my life I have not thought of for years, when I was fearless and nothing phased me. ‘I won’t get hurt’ and you do not even think about it. Getting hurt is not even a though that crosses your mind. The jumps both of those kids did, they just did them. They have probably made those jumps from roofs five or six times, but they did not even think about it when I was with them. They just leaped from roof to roof. Where I was in the middle of thinking, ‘Holy shit, what am I doing?’
Then about five minutes after I had left the kids, I crossed through the town square. I ran into the boys right in the center of the square. One of them was talking to his mom. She was probably the exact same age as me… I wonder if he is going to be home at dinner time tonight and she is going to ask, “Who was that full grown man who waved as he walked past you today?” And he is going to say, “Oh, that guy? That is our buddy. He was part of our roof jumping gang today. He is pretty cool.” And she is going to say, “That man was what? That man must be an idiot!”
I was hardly a man! I was 13 for seven minutes forgetting how old I am and trying to be fearless due to some kind of bizarre peer pressure!