|The nine women skydivers over sixty prior to jump|
Well, I had done my part and didn't really need to worry or wonder whether or not they would follow up. In fact, I had forgotten about it until one day I got a telephone message from Dean Kahn, the editor, to see if I would be willing to be interviewed about it. This led to a very interesting couple of hours, as I met the journalist who was assigned the interview. She loves to talk, and after more than a half hour in her presence, I had still not said one word, but I knew all about her! She ended up taking lots of notes and did eventually get quite a bit of the information about me down on paper. I was not optimistic about whether or not she would represent the event accurately. The article will probably only be available until the next Prime Time articles come out, but last Monday it appeared in the local paper. You can read it here.
So now I'm "famous." In class the next day, a few women had brought their copy of the paper so that I could autograph it. And then on Wednesday, another instructor stopped the class before it started so she could point out the article, which she had taped to the door, in case anybody had missed it. Okay, I thought, that's the end of it, I shouldn't be accosted by many more people about it, but everywhere I went there were people who recognized me and said, "nice article." I was really quite surprised by all the notoriety.
And then on Friday, one of the women I know from the class approached me with a copy of Jill Bolte Taylor's book, My Stroke of Insight, to ask if I'd read it. I had indeed and enjoyed it very much, but she asked me if I would be willing to contact Harvard University to have them take my brain (after my death, of course) for study! She said it would be fascinating to find out if my risk-taking activities and resilience show up in my gray matter as being different from others. I was quite surprised, but maybe she's right. I'll give it some thought, since I can still use my gray matter the way I prefer: as a living, breathing human.
One of my skydiving Facebook friends had found the article and posted it even before I did, and that led to yet another round of notoriety. If you use Facebook, you know that any article can be shared with your friends, and this one was shared a total of 11 different times, causing hundreds of well-wishers to comment and "like" the article. It was quite overwhelming. I was glad when the flurry of activity on Facebook began to wind down.
It made me think about people who really ARE famous, and what it must be like to have no place to hide from the curiosity of others. Not to mention those articles that purport to tell all about somebody that has no basis in fact at all. I was surprised that the woman who interviewed me used quote marks around paraphrased and downright incorrect remarks I had supposedly made. I was taught that you only use quotes around actual utterances by a person, but that is not what she did. Only one time did she say something that came from her own brain and not mine: at the end of the third paragraph, the article says, "Skydiving became my drug." I never said that and was rather taken aback when I read it.
It's not a big deal, but it sure makes me wonder about direct quotes that are attributed to people, about whether or not they actually said it or whether it came from the mind of the journalist. If I were to ask the woman why she wrote it, she would probably say that it is because I said it during the interview. But I know I didn't. Just one person's word against another's in a conversation. Lesson learned.
It was an interesting week, that's for sure. On Monday I went to Seattle to visit my long-ago stepdaughter, and we connected in a way that surprised me by its intensity after a quarter of a century apart. My love for her has not diminished, but those difficult years were brought to the fore, and that night I had unsettled dreams about times I thought I had forgotten. It makes me realize how much I have stored in that gray matter that can still be accessed many years later. The brain is a remarkable organ, isn't it? Maybe I should donate my brain to science, although I'm not sure what can actually be gleaned from physical remains. Loving kindness will not be anywhere in evidence, I'm sure.
And that makes me even more convinced that the spirit, the soul of a person, is completely unique to that person and can only be experienced heart to heart. It's all very curious, thinking about what makes us who we are, the individual creature who sits in bed and taps away at the keys, wondering about the wide universe she inhabits. As I bring myself back down to earth, I realize that another Sunday morning post is just about finished.
I am also aware of the invisible threads that connect me to you, my readers, people I will never see in person, but whose presence is palpable in this room with me, right now. I am sending you loving kindness, can you feel it? Until next Sunday, be well and try not to be too famous.