Sunday, September 28, 2008

Why the.effing.librarian doesn't have a "bucket list"

I don’t know if you saw the movie The Bucket List, but it was okay. Seeing it reaffirms my belief that having a rich friend is never a bad thing. I should add that to my list, when I make one.

But I don’t now have “a list of things I need to do before I kick the bucket.” I’ve tried to make one, but I can’t think of anything I really need to do or places I need to go.

I’d like to skydive, but I don’t have any friends who want to do it with me, so I haven’t made the jump. I could go by myself, but skydiving alone seems like drinking alone, or worse, skinny dipping alone. Some pursuits require an accomplice.

I’d like to go to Scotland because I saw Highlander a few times and it looks cool. I assume the movie had some scenes filmed in Scotland, but it could just be Kentucky; how should I know. But I’ve also seen An American Werewolf in London, so I don’t how much I want to see lush, green hills compared to how much I don’t want my throat torn out by a great beastie.

The only item I ever had on a list that I attempted to do was to drive a car 100 miles an hour. That’s probably not a big deal to most people, but I only drive two ways, completely oblivious to my surroundings or obsessively analyzing every aspect of my speed, the traffic, the behavior of the vehicle, and my gas mileage. When I was in library school, I routinely drove from Tallahassee to Miami at 88 miles per hour. There are long stretches of nothing in Florida, and I would just drive faster and faster until I was well over the posted speed limit, and then I would notice and panic and then fight the urges to either slow down to keep from getting a speeding ticket or speed up to keep from dying of boredom. But driving 100 miles an hour (which is like 160 kilometers per hour for some of you folks out there; that’s probably the speed children drive across the Outback in Australia), isn’t even in the realm of possibility for normal American driving.

But there was a time before that when I owned a 1968 Dodge Charger that I got for $200. It was a piece of crap, but it ran, and that’s all that mattered. It had the basic engine, so I didn’t know if it could do 100, but I made an actual plan to see if it would.

So remember, getting caught by the police while driving 100 miles an hour is very, very bad.

And since this car was a true turd; I think it was only firing seven cylinders and the carburetor leaked gas, I wasn’t completely sure that it wouldn’t just explode on the highway. And of course, no airbags. It might have had seatbelts somewhere under the seat, but I never looked for them.

So I had to find a long piece of road where there were no cops. I couldn’t think of a good place, so I just ran the car up on the nearest highway and stomped on the gas.

I tried to lie to myself afterward and say that I got to 100, but I didn’t. I chickened out at 97. As I crossed ninety-five miles an hour, everything just seemed really unnecessarily dangerous. And it was taking forever for that bucket of shit to move. The car was shaking and the engine was thumping and I realized it wasn’t really important that I cross some imaginary speed barrier. I felt I had pushed my luck about as far as I could.

So I don’t have a bucket list.

Maybe if I really knew I had only six months to live, I’d make the list. After I was done... you know...having 5 1/2 months of sex.