Later this summer, retired French Army colonel Michel Fournier will attempt le Grand Saut (the Great Leap): to sky dive from outer space--25 miles above sea level--to the plains of Saskatchewan, the highest jump ever attempted. He is in his early sixties and has devoted his entire life to achieve this goal. He has already attempted the leap two times unsuccessfully due to technical difficulties or Acts of God. He has given everything else up that might ease his retirement in order to fund his endeavor, borrowing money, selling his home and living in a friend's rustic country house without electricity with his wife. He is obsessively dedicated to breaking not just one record (an American parachuted from 19 miles above sea level to the deserts of New Mexico in the 1960's), but four.
You could read his story and conclude that this man is crazy, but he is pursuing his dream. And although I personally (hopefully) will never be possessed to jump out of a plane with a bag of fabric on my back, I am inspired by his vision and dedication.
Last night, Lilia, Sultan, Joyce and I went for sangria at Cha Cha Cha in the Mission. I complained about being frustrated by the vicious cycle I continue to find myself in, the same complaint of many San Franciscans, that this town is too damn expensive and it's hard to make ends meet. I've only been living here on my own for a month and a half, and I'm already sick of living paycheck to paycheck, barely scraping by. (A week ago, I checked my checking account balance and it was in double digits.) I've been talking about breaking the cycle for years, and now, staring at in the face once again, I'm finally ready to jump out of it.
Sultan's friend Maceij, the hot medical student/runway model from Germany, joined us later and we ended up at karaoke night at Amnesia. Whenever there's a microphone and an opportunity to live out my rock-and-roll fantasy, I need very little encouragement. I quickly signed my name and request on the dj's list, and before long I was called up on stage. The words appeared on the screen and I belted out the lyrics I know all too well:
Hey Hey Mama
Said the way you move
Gon' make you sweat
Gon' make you groooooooove!
I thrashed my head and body about on stage and the crowd gathered around below me, singing with me and headbanging. The adrenaline rushed through all my cells and felt amazing. Near the end of my performance, somewhere between stanzas of "Ah Ah Ah Ah/Ah Ah Ah Ah" I heard the dj say to me "I feel a stage dive coming on." I looked out on my fans and they all had their hands in the air ready to catch me. I had never done a stage dive before. I put the microphone back on the stand, and prepared for my great leap. I didn't have time to really think about what might happen if they dropped me on the floor before my body went flying off the stage, landing softly onto the hands of the many people I didn't even know, but who nonetheless seemed to support me.
I don't even remember how I came down and got back onto my own feet again.