Sunday, June 5, 2011


There has always been that joke, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" Of course, whether or not the chicken died, flew, or just wanted to get to the other side has never quite been determined. Why are animals always crossing the road? Don't they see their counterparts in pieces, scattered morbidly across dotted yellow lines? Shouldn't there be some instinctive sense of survival? Wouldn't you think that one brutalized, furry baby would be enough to never make you want to cross the street again?
But then I think about people. Humans are, supposedly, the most evolved members of the kingdom, Animalia. We are earth's representation of all things intelligent and revolutionary; yet, we too are always getting run over.
I wonder what makes risk-taking such a tempting practice. Nine times out of ten, I can predict the sorted outcome of my actions. I know the tears, the disappointment, the pain, the regret that could come with each of my decisions. I know what a smart girl would do, what a good girl should do; yet, sometimes, I find myself running out in front of cars.
There is a sort of screwed-up romanticism about doing stupid things. Being stupid is rarely recognized for what it is. We call it "living in the moment", "going out on a limb", and even, "being young." But in reality, we know better. We all know what happens when you lie to your parents and when you trust someone who makes you uneasy. We all know the difference between love and lust and the difference between right and wrong. Sometimes, though, the chance that our stupidity could result in happiness outweighs the negative consequences.
We cross the road because there's always that hope that it will end in the love story of a lifetime. We cross the road because we want to tell our daughters stories that make them proud. We cross the road because who wants to be the girl that never leaves her the safety of her front porch? We cross the road because it looks magical on the other side. We cross the road because we're ignorant enough to believe that nothing can hurt us. We cross the road because we want to. We cross the road because we know we shouldn't.
Maybe getting run over, falling into the traps, winding up hurt, tire-skidded, laden with regret and shame, is a punishment. But I don't think so. I think we cross the road because we think we have a shot at being the lucky girl; you know, the one whose heart never touches the ground. I think that risk-taking is a beautiful, complicated art; maybe we're not supposed to, but what is 'supposed to be' isn't what ever really happens. So maybe we are stupid, naive, pathetic excuses for women; I'd rather have scars than baby skin.
The bottom line is: there is no bottom line, no logic, no reason, no effort, no calculation that goes into making our decisions. We're all just trying to write the best biography that we can and in the mean time, running out of our daddy's arms and into traffic. There isn't much time in life to worry about being the best; most of the time you're just trying to avoid becoming roadkill.

1 comment:

  1. I feel a little bit like an eavesdropper, listening in on a teen-aged girl's conversation almost-with-herself. I love so many things about this: the commonality of finding ourselves "running out in front of cars;" Taking the risk "because we think we have a shot at being the lucky girl;" We're all just "trying to write the best biography that we can." But most of all, I like this: that "risk taking is a beautiful, complicated art." I've been thinking about that, off and on today. We like to make stories about people who take great risks and have good results. I don't think you hear quite as many when the opposite is true. Maybe it is because we all want to believe that we have a shot at being the lucky one. Big hugs!