Tonight, I once again thought to myself, Why did I wait so long to start doing this?
The “this” happens to be: Attending the Tuesday Night Jam at ColdTowne. Why did I go to my very first TNJ only six weeks ago? It’s been happening longer than six weeks, after all. What took me so long?
I thought that thought—what took so f’ing long, mate??—-when I first started improvising in the summer of 2011. Almost instantly—-two or three classes in—-improv’s verdant majesty presented itself to me. I saw improv for what it continues to be: infinite. Marveling at this new beautiful truth was quickly followed, as it should be with any healthy American male, with self-loathing:
Why didn’t you discover this a decade ago, you cowardly layabout??? Why did you waste your 20s on a lesser artistic pursuit? Improv is everything, you fool—-you MYOPIC FOOL. You blew your primo decade trying to craft dumb puns in three-minute chunks, when meanwhile, across town, people were inventing theater in the moment?
For shame! For shame!
That’s guilt you don’t generally have when you’re 21. Or when you’re 27. Even 30 maybe. But these days, as I’m pushing hard against 35 years on the planet, every time I do something new I think to myself:
Why did I wait so long to do this? It’s awesome.
So what does one do when one realizes that one has missed out on a variety of fantastic experiences?
What does one do with the sobering, smack-you-awake reality that one has not been fulfilling the promise of #YOLO?
One blogs about it, apparently.
But another thing one can do: Gain momentum. Let the pleasure of one item being checked off The List spill over into other items, other boundaries pushed, other experiences experienced. Pay it forward to yo’ damn self!
Like for example: I want to ride a bike. And here’s why.
The other night, I was downtown. I was walking from my car to rehearsal for Theatresports. I was on Guadalupe Ave., a slow and wide road parallel to the Capitol building. A guy whizzed by on a bike. And trust me, whizzed is le mot juste. Because this fucker was hauling ass. He was biking his legs off, going fast down the wide street, sliding past us dumb pedestrians and car-drivers. It was like a scene out of Breaking Away.
And I found myself, just for a second, rooting for him to go faster. I might’ve even pumped my fist in the air as if cheering on a marathon runner from the sidelines. I wanted this guy to take off, E.T.-style, and silhouette himself against the giant moon.
I ached for the freedom that guy had in that moment, going really fast through the twilight powered by his own strong legs. Fucking freedom, homey!
So I finally asked my friend’ friend—-a guy who loves crafting bikes for his friends—-to build me one. He’s done the measurements, he’s asked me questions, and soon enough I’ll have a bike. Who knows if I’ll ever speed between cars in downtown Austin? But I’ll be on a bike, and I’ll probably have a moment—-probably just two or three pedals in—-when I think to myself:
Why didn’t you do this a decade ago?