When my family first moved to Oregon, and America by extension, my mother wanted a wall in her Garden. Not just any wall, a giant fancy wall for retaining water made out of manor stones. They were quite trendy at the time, and she didn't realize that Americans aren't social creatures who sit in the gardens and have cake with their neighbors. She was rather upset when she found that out... Anyway, these bricks weighed about 25 kilos each, and we lay them in straight and curves lines, and then in lines on top of those lines, and so on and so forth, until the wall was finished. Then we filled in the area behind the wall with super nutritious soil for our new garden.
This latest project finished, what to do? Well, sure as heck not play on the wall. My mother had to keep the garden in pristine condition so that she could entertain. Forgive me while I curse unsociable, unneighborly Americans here for a moment. Alright, now that that's out of my system, eventually she realized that no matter how nice she kept the garden, no matter how rustic the chairs and good smelling the cakes, the neighbors only ever left their houses to do yard work or pick up their kids. Never to socialize with other neighbors. She gave up, heartbroken. But the good news was, that meant that we, the kids, could play on the wall.
It wasn't a difficult balancing act. Manor stones are rather large and flat on the tops, and there was no problem keeping good balance. But sometimes, there would be a gust of wind, or being so young, we might just lose our balance. Then, it was kind of scary. On one side, there was the nice, soft, imported moss from Ireland. (You have no idea what a nightmare it was to keep that stuff alive... Especially with the stupid clovers...) On the other side was about an eight foot fall to the pavement below. Usually when we fell, we were good enough with shifting our weight to land on the moss, and we'd get yelled at a little, but it would be OK.
One day, I was running along the wall, and playing with my kid brother, who we've called James. I turned, and slipped, and fell. This time though, there was no shifting my weight so I'd fall on the moss. I broke my arm and rent lots of clothes and skin. (manor stone retaining walls are not good for falling down. I might drive by later and take a picture of the front so you can see what I'm talking about.) Anyway, my little brother screamed, I was much too shocked for that. My father came running out, and took me to the emergency room. (Don't get me started on how much better Oregon Health Sciences University is than the stupid Utah Valley Regional Medical Centre. Growl.) I was pretty sure I would never run on that stupid wall again. After all, look at what had happened to me. A month or so after I got the cast off, I was running on the wall again. I had clearly not learned my lesson.
Sometimes, I feel like that's what I spend time doing. Running on the wall. It's not like I have to run on the wall, and it's not like I really get anything out of it. And look, there's that 8 foot fall down a manor stone wall just waiting for me. So why do it? I feel... defective. Like, rationally, I should have learned my lesson by now. Running along the wall gets you hurt. But for some reason, I keep running along the wall.
Eventually, I grew out of running along the real wall. Maybe some day, I'll grow out of my new wall too? How many times do I have to break my arm before I'll learn?