Wednesday, June 2, 2010

embracing the ridiculous

(and the dangerous and scary and all other things)

I once had a co-worker ask me what she should do when she visited San Antonio, as I had just been down there for EPIC, an electronic book convention.

I told her that my absolute must do was a carriage ride around downtown. They leave from just outside the Menger, across from the Alamo.

Her response? Oh, no. I couldn't do that. I would look ridiculous, wouldn't I?

Maybe it's because I have pink hair. Maybe it's because at heart I really am five. But if I can figure out how to do something without really offending someone (ie: ask the carriage driver how much without insulting him) then I'm not afraid of looking ridiculous to do something that lets me see stuff I want to see, and do things I want to do.

Without that carriage ride I would never have known about how the city of San Antonio turned down a multi-million dollar hotel deal because it would have cast a shadow on the Alamo. I would never have known about the carrier pigeons who used to transmit the high school football game scores to the newspaper Friday night so people could read them Saturday morning. And I never would have gotten to ride in a carriage pulled by a horse named Fred, who wore a Carmen Miranda-like blob of cherries on his hat...

In the name of the ridiculous, I have ridden camels, stood in front of a giant wooden penis in Barcelona and straddled a toddler's bouncy horse in a Mexican restaurant in South Carolina. I have been to dinosaur parks in Kentucky and weird caves in Colorado. I have bought pictures of myself whitewater rafting, where I look both terrified and exhilarated. I have played nickel slots for two hours on the same dollar to look at cowboys while they played poker.

Just thinking of all the things I would have missed out on for fear of looking ridiculous makes me sad. Try it. You might like it.

2 comments:

Mabiana said...

I already fail to see why one should look ridiculous in a carriage. Maybe I am ridiculous by nature? ;-)

Miss Alice said...

I can kind of grok the fear of looking ridiculous, (although you're right - it's stupidly limiting) I just can't quite see why taking a carriage ride would be something that might trigger such a fear. Clearly my calibration is different from your erstwhile colleague